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States where Raw Milk is Legal

States where Raw Milk is Legal
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Introduction

Popular, controversial, and at times difficult to understand, the state-by-state legality of selling raw milk in the United States is a complex tapestry woven by a combination of consumer demand, health concerns, and regulatory oversight. Due to these factors, the laws regulating raw milk sales for human consumption vary widely across the nation, prompting an intriguing analysis of the restrictions and permissions state by state.

Key findings are as follows:

  • Of all 50 states, only eight — California, Maine, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Utah, and Washington — allow unrestricted retail sale of raw milk. This is the least regulatory regime, making raw milk readily accessible in these states.
  • An additional thirteen states permit retail sale of raw milk with some level of state regulations. Five of these states — Utah and Oregon, for example — require that the selling retail outlet own the source farm, adding an extra level of oversight.
  • On-farm purchasing forms the backbone of raw milk sales in 29 states. Of these, twelve states allow direct farm sales without requiring a license. The rest, including Missouri, South Dakota, Vermont, and Wyoming, require a license yet also allow delivery directly from the farm to the consumer—a boon for raw milk aficionados who prefer home delivery.
  • Herd share or cow share programs, which involve consumers purchasing a share in an animal's upkeep and thus a share in its milk production, are an alternative method. Though nine states have deemed these programs illegal, the remaining allow for them, presenting an intriguing acquisition method for raw milk.
  • Despite the prevalence of the raw milk community, there are still states where raw milk sales are completely prohibited. These include Alabama, Maryland, Ohio, Virginia, Louisiana, Iowa, and numerous others.

By State

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Frequently Asked Questions

Methodology