Andrew M. Cuomo, Governor | Richard A. Ball, Commissioner
Joe Morrissey, 518-457-0752,
Dave Bullard, 315-487-7711 x 1377,

August 25, 2014

State Inspectors Working Day and Night to Ensure That Milk from the “Rainbow Milk Bar” at the Great New York State Fair Is Safe for Consumers

On August 25, 2014 – also known as “Dairy Day” at the Great New York State Fair – State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball highlighted the great work done by the Department of Agriculture and Markets’ Division of Milk Control to make sure that the Rainbow Milk Bar remains a safe and enjoyable tradition for fairgoers. 

“There’s a lot more that goes into the Rainbow Milk Bar than meets the eye for the average fairgoer,” said Commissioner Ball.  “Our inspectors are the first ones there and the last ones to leave every day.  They make sure that the milk is not only delicious, but safe for fairgoers to enjoy and ensure that the huge operation that is the Rainbow Milk Bar is running smoothly.”

The Rainbow Milk Bar, located in the Dairy Products Building at the Great New York State Fair, serves on average 30,000 fairgoers per day throughout the 12-day Fair.  At 25 cents for a cup of whole milk or chocolate milk, it’s still one of the best deals at the Fair.  On an average day, the Rainbow Milk Bar will serve 1,500 gallons of chocolate milk and 400 gallons of whole milk.  Milk is delivered to the Rainbow Milk Bar one to two times per day, depending on demand. 

For the team of inspectors (two per shift) in the Division of Milk Control, the average day begins at 5:30 a.m. and lasts until 3 p.m. when the second shift arrives.  The day for the second shift of inspectors ends around 12 a.m.  The typical day for an inspector at the Rainbow Milk Bar begins with an inspection of tanks and pipes for cleanliness.  Tanks are cleaned and sanitized by inspectors, at least once daily and also every time the tanks are emptied.  On average, it takes two hours to get the tanks ready. 

The Rainbow Milk Bar is also very unique because under normal circumstances, milk in a milk truck is delivered in a raw fashion to a processing plant.  Milk coming to the Rainbow Milk Bar has already been pasteurized and is kept cold at a temperature between 35 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit throughout the process.  Cleaning of the tanks is performed in both an automated and manual fashion. 

“The Rainbow Milk Bar is a labor of love for our inspectors,” said Casey McCue, Director of the Division of Milk Control.  “Many of our inspectors got their start there and still speak fondly of it in their retirement.  Others can’t wait to come back year after year.  The State Fair, especially on Dairy Day, gives fairgoers a great opportunity to learn more about dairy – which is by far the state’s largest agricultural industry.  Our work at the Rainbow Milk Bar is something that this Division is enormously proud of.”

The Great New York State Fair offers fairgoers a number of opportunities to learn more about the state’s dairy industry, not just on Dairy Day but throughout the 12 days.  The recently-expanded Dairy Cow Birthing Center, located on the west end of the Fairgrounds, plays host to three calf births daily.  Fairgoers can also visit the Dairy Cattle Barn, learn more about dairy farming from a dairy farmer in-person, and also take a tour of the barn from a farmer while they’re there.  The Dairy Products building, home of the Rainbow Milk Bar, is also home to the world famous butter sculpture, the new YO2GO yogurt bar made with milk processed at the Cornell Dairy Plant, along with a variety of New York ice creams, custards and cheeses.

New York State’s dairy industry generates more than $2.8 billion in farmgate sales, constituting nearly half of the state’s total agricultural receipts.  The state is the third leading producer of milk in the nation, with 610,000 dairy cows producing more than 13.5 billion pounds of milk annually.

2014 Press Releases