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Milk and Dairy Products Frequently Asked Questions

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No. Raw cows', goats' or sheeps' milk cannot be purchased for human consumption in the state of Colorado.  The sale of raw milk in Colorado is illegal.

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Consumers who want to manufacture ice cream from a pre-made, pasteurized mix must obtain the blend from an approved source.  Manufacturers who choose to use a pasteurized mix cannot add any ingredients other than colorings, flavorings or items such as fruits or nuts to their concoctions.  The inclusion of additional ingredients such as pasteurized creams, powders and sugars, etc., is strictly prohibited.

 

If, however, consumers would like to manufacture ice cream from raw milk, they must first fulfill the Manufactured Milk and Milk Products Regulations. For further information, inspection requirements and licensing details concerning these rules, please contact the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s Division of Environmental Health and Sustainability at 303-692-3633.

 

In addition, consumers who wish to open ice cream operations that will be part of a retail food establishment, where the product will be eaten on the premises or served over the counter to customers, must notify their local health department. However, if the business will be only a manufacturing operation and not part of a retail food establishment, consumers must instead contact the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s Division of Environmental Health and Sustainability at 303-692-3633 to alert the appropriate staff to plans for production.

 

Finally, all ice cream freezers must be of an approved commercial type.

 

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Lactose intolerance is caused by a deficiency of the enzyme lactase that digests the sugar (lactose) in milk. As a result of this deficiency, a person with lactose intolerance may experience bloating, cramps, flatulence and diarrhea. This condition is more prevalent among African Americans, Asian Americans, and South Americans, and can be identified by performing a lactose intolerance test. Individuals who are lactose intolerant can use milk and milk products treated with lactase enzymes (i.e., Lactaid), or obtain enzyme tablets that can be taken orally prior to milk consumption.

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The best way for consumers to ensure that their milk is as fresh as possible is to refrigerate it promptly after purchase and after each use. Since milk is a perishable product, storage at cooler temperatures will allow the product to remain fresh for a longer period of time. Retail stores are required to keep their dairy cases at 45° or lower to help promote the products’ safety and shelf life. Consumers who follow similar handling, storage and temperature guidelines can expect their milk to last 14-21 days from the date that it was packaged. This date is indicated on milk containers by a "sell by" or "use by" date. However, all code dating is voluntary, so a few milk processors use the date the milk was first produced rather than when it was packaged, a practice that could affect the milk’s freshness if not consumed promptly or stored properly.

 

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Consumers can find information regarding veterinary drug usage in food-producing animals at http://www.fda.gov/cvm/.

 

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The regulations that apply to a manufacture grade dairy farm can be located in the Colorado Manufactured Milk and Dairy Products Regulations, and in particular, in the requirements under item 1r.

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Consumers can obtain educational materials or nutritional information on milk and dairy products through the Western Dairy Council at 1-800-274-6455 or by sending an email to info@dairycouncil.com.

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Milk and milk products in Colorado are monitored by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s Division of Environmental Health and Sustainability. As per Colorado’s milk regulations, which are based on the Grade A Pasteurized Milk Ordinance model from the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service / Food and Drug Administration, inspections are regularly performed and products are regularly sampled at all dairy farms, dairy plants and milk plants around Colorado. Every state in the United States uses the Pasteurized Milk Ordinance as a basis for its milk regulations to ensure the continued safety, standardization and wholesomeness of the country’s milk supply. In addition, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s Division of Environmental Health and Sustainability also checks milk and dairy plant pasteurizers and pasteurization procedures. Since thorough pasteurization is critical for the safety of milk, milk products and dairy products, these services are crucial to maintaining the integrity of Colorado’s consumables.

 

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All products to be marketed in Colorado are required to be from approved sources, though no permit is necessary to sell the products in this state. If the products to be sold are manufactured by a Colorado-based operation, that organization must possess a State manufacturer’s license. Additionally, all products that the manufacturer wishes to market are required to be from sources that have been inspected by the staff of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s Division of Environmental Health and Sustainability.

 

If an out-of-state manufacturer would like to market its dairy products in Colorado, that company needs to send a letter to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s Division of Environmental Health and Sustainability which includes specific information about the plant where the products will be manufactured, the kinds of products that will be marketed, and the locations of any Colorado warehouses where the products will be stored. The plant where the products will be manufactured is required to be IMS (Interstate Milk Shipper) listed for Grade A products, and the letter is required to be sent to:

 

Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment
Division of Environmental Health and Sustainability
Attention: Milk Program Manager
4300 Cherry Creek Drive South
Denver, Colorado 80246-1530

 

Those having any questions related to the requirements to market dairy products in Colorado should contact 303-692-3633 for further assistance.

 

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The requirements that apply to cheese production from cows’, goats’ or sheep’s milk can be found in the Pasteurized Milk Ordinance, and in particular, in the requirements under items 1p through 22p. These regulations are the same as the Colorado Grade A Pasteurized Fluid Milk and Milk Product Regulations, which cover fluid milk and milk products formulated from cows’, sheep’s or goats’ milk. Among these articles are 1%, 2%, skim and whole milk; cottage cheese; half and half; sour cream; whipping cream; and yogurt. These regulations also apply to frozen desserts, hard and soft cheeses made from pasteurized milk and properly-aged cheeses made from raw milk. All Grade A milk and milk products sold in Colorado are required to be packaged and produced in a Grade A milk plant approved by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s Division of Environmental Health and Sustainability. Additionally, the raw milk supply for Grade A milk plants must be from dairy farms approved by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s Division of Environmental Health and Sustainability, and if the raw milk is required to be transported to the plant for processing, an approved milk tanker must be used.

 

Some of the requirements that apply to Grade A milk plants include proper cleaning facilities, containers, hand washing facilities, lighting, pipelines, refrigeration, storage tanks, ventilation, waste disposal and water supply. The pasteurization process requires the use of an approved pasteurizer, equipped with an indicating and recording thermometer. Batch pasteurizers also must have an air space thermometer and a properly-designed outlet valve with stops.

 

In addition, cheese processors in Colorado must comply with requirements for aging rooms, approved cheese molds and vats, dry storage, labeling and packaging equipment. The practice of aging for certain types of cheeses also must be approved by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s Division of Environmental Health and Sustainability.

 

For general information on cheese production from goats’ milk, refer to the Goat Memo document, which is provided to all goat associations.

 

For further information regarding the requirements that apply to cheese production from cows’, goats’ or sheep’s milk, please contact this office at 303-692-3633.

 

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The requirements that apply to Grade A milk plants can be found in the Pasteurized Milk Ordinance, and in particular, in the requirements under items 1p through 22p. These regulations are the same as the Colorado Grade A Pasteurized Fluid Milk and Milk Product Regulations, which cover fluid milk and milk products formulated from cows’, sheep’s or goats’ milk. Among these articles are 1%, 2%, skim and whole milk; cottage cheese; half and half; sour cream; whipping cream; and yogurt. All Grade A milk and milk products sold in Colorado are required to be packaged and produced in a Grade A milk plant approved by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s Division of Environmental Health and Sustainability. Additionally, the raw milk supply for Grade A milk plants must be from dairy farms approved by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s Division of Environmental Health and Sustainability, and if the raw milk is required to be transported to the plant for processing, an approved milk tanker must be used.

 

Some of the requirements that apply to Grade A milk plants include proper cleaning facilities, containers, hand washing facilities, lighting, pipelines, refrigeration, storage tanks, ventilation, waste disposal and water supply. The pasteurization process requires the use of an approved pasteurizer, equipped with an indicating and recording thermometer. Batch pasteurizers also must have an air space thermometer and a properly-designed outlet valve with stops.

 

For further information regarding the requirements that apply to Grade A milk plants, please contact this office at 303-692-3633.

 

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The requirements that apply to Grade A milk plants can be found in the Pasteurized Milk Ordinance, and in particular, in the requirements under items 1p through 22p. These regulations are the same as the Colorado Grade A Pasteurized Fluid Milk and Milk Product Regulations, which cover fluid milk and milk products formulated from cows’, sheep’s or goats’ milk. Among these articles are 1%, 2%, skim and whole milk; cottage cheese; half and half; sour cream; whipping cream; and yogurt. All Grade A milk and milk products sold in Colorado are required to be packaged and produced in a Grade A milk plant approved by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s Division of Environmental Health and Sustainability. Additionally, the raw milk supply for Grade A milk plants must be from dairy farms approved by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s Division of Environmental Health and Sustainability, and if the raw milk is required to be transported to the plant for processing, an approved milk tanker must be used.

 

Some of the requirements that apply to Grade A milk plants include proper cleaning facilities, containers, hand washing facilities, lighting, pipelines, refrigeration, storage tanks, ventilation, waste disposal and water supply. The pasteurization process requires the use of an approved pasteurizer, equipped with an indicating and recording thermometer. Batch pasteurizers also must have an air space thermometer and a properly-designed outlet valve with stops.

 

For further information regarding the requirements that apply to Grade A milk plants, please contact this office at 303-692-3633.

 

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The department requires the following types of licenses:

 

  • Dairy Plant License (non-Grade A milk manufacturing)
  • Grade A Dairy Farm License
  • Grade A Milk Plant License
  • Milk Haulers License
  • Milk Receiving Station License
  • Milk Sampler and/or Tester License

 

To apply for any of the above licenses, please call the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment's Division of Environmental Health and Sustainability at 303-692-3633.

  


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