| Division of Milk Control and Dairy Services
The Division of Milk Control and Dairy Services is responsible for all aspects of the State’s dairy industry. The Division has a dual role to protect the health and welfare of the people of New York State and to help promote the agricultural economic development of the dairy industry through various economic controls and programs.
Fluid Milk Sanitation Program
The Division employs some 40 Dairy Products Specialists who annually conduct approximately 10,000 inspections for compliance with sanitation, bacteriological, chemical, standards of identity, and economic fraud. In addition, the Specialists sample nearly 14,000 dairy products for laboratory analysis.
About 7,000 dairy farms are inspected by more than 120 certified milk inspectors (CMI’s). These inspectors have been certified by the Department to perform dairy farm inspections, which include the sanitary conditions of the farm, the health of the cows, and the health of individuals working on the farm. These farms are inspected at least twice a year but may be inspected more frequently if irregularities are found.
Labeling of Dairy Products
Advances in food technology and labeling changes in regulations have resulted in the development of a variety of reduced fat dairy products. Properly identifying these and all products, via product labels, gives consumers confidence to try new and healthy alternatives to traditional dairy products. Field staff review labels as part of their normal inspection responsibilities to ensure that consumers are provided with clear, accurate, and factual information on product content.
Milk Processing Equipment Requirements and Approvals
The Division inspects and approves new and modified milk processing equipment to be installed by the industry to ensure conformity to specifications. The Division trains its own staff and dairy industry personnel on various technical aspects of dairy equipment as well as the proper cleaning, construction and installation of such equipment. By regulation, any person who installs equipment on a dairy farm or in a milk plant must register with the Department.
Requirements to Install Dairy Equipment
Milking Equipment Installer Guideline
DMC 1573 - Dairy Equip Installer Registration
DMC 1543 - Supplemental Application for Installation of Direct Loading System on a Dairy Farm
DMC 1537 - Supplemental Application for Installation of an Automatic Milking Installation (AMI) on a Dairy Farm
DMC 1517 - Application to Install Pipeline or Milk Control System on a Farm
DMC 1512 - Application to Install or Modify HTST Pasteurizer | Instructions
DMC 1505 - Application to Install or Modify Dairy Processing Equipment | Instructions
A Guideline for Evaluating Construction
Equip Tests-HHST (FDD at Hold Tube)-Milk
Equip Tests-HHST (FDD Downstream)-Cream
Interstate Milk Shippers Program
This is a Federal/State cooperative program designed to facilitate interstate movement of milk. Participating shippers under the National Conference on Interstate Milk Shipments (NCIMS) must maintain their plants and dairy farms in substantial compliance with the Food and Drug Administration Pasteurized Milk Ordinance. These shippers must be rated once every two years, and receive a rating of 90 or above to maintain eligibility.
Each year, the Division's rating officers accompany FDA's Regional Milk Specialist in conducting check-ratings. Check-ratings are performed by the FDA to verify that the ratings given by Department Rating Officers have been maintained by the individual plants and farms since the time of rating. If the state rating and evaluation program is not operated in substantial compliance, New York State plants would be prohibited from freely moving milk and milk products in interstate commerce. The Division oversees and maintains compliance with all aspects of the Interstate Milk Shippers Program in order to ensure reciprocity among receiving states. A large component of this program involves training and coordinating with FDA personnel and rating officers from other states.
Milk Testing Laboratory Inspections, Evaluations and Licensing
In addition to the farm and plant level operation of the NCIMS program, the Division certifies laboratories that test milk, dairy products, and water. The Division’s Laboratory Evaluation Officers conduct complete on-site evaluations once every two years. All laboratories are inspected every six months to ensure the accuracy of sample testing.
Split samples are delivered to participating New York State laboratories, in addition to the States of Maryland, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Ohio, and Vermont, and are analyzed for various quality tests. The results are statistically analyzed to determine participating laboratories’ ability to correctly test the samples.
The Division continues to work closely with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the National Conference on Interstate Milk Shipments to assure an effective animal drug residue control program for the milk supply. Much of the national program was patterned after the Department’s program, which has been in place in New York for many years.
Training, Seminars and Consumer Education
Seven Processing Plant Superintendents' Seminars
and five training schools for Certified Industry Milk Inspectors are held annually with approximately 200 in attendance at each event. Seminars are also held for Milk Laboratory Technicians. The Division also plays an important role in the operation of the dairy products exhibits at the New York State Fair.
Licensing and Auditing and Financial Oversight
New milk dealer license applications and license renewals are reviewed and evaluated in terms of financial responsibility, character, and ability or performance of the applicant in conducting the proposed business and providing service to the public. Dairy markets and milk dealer performance are monitored to determine adequacy of service by dealers and the vitality of market competition. Changes in the organization and structure of the dairy industry and in the business operations of licensees require continuing review and updating of licensing procedures.
Milk plant operators, producer cooperatives, milk distributors, haulers and brokers are licensed as milk dealers according to the functions they perform. Stores, operators of vending machines (as a result of 2002 legislation), and farmers are generally exempted from licensing as long as they meet specific conditions that are detailed in the Agriculture and Markets Law. The Division also reviews and updates the official regulations promulgated under Article 21.
Milk Producers Security Program
Licensed milk dealers who purchase milk directly from New York dairy farmers or cooperatives are required to file security to ensure that farmers are paid. A milk dealer can choose to pay into the Milk Producers Security Fund or provide full alternate security. Alternate security can be a bond or letter of credit covering 40 days of milk purchases. Dealers who pay into the security fund, unless exempted, must supplement such payments with a surety bond or letter of credit covering a minimum of twelve days purchases. Dealers who are financially weak may be required to provide security for more than the minimum amount. Exemption from the mandatory minimum security required is granted to dealers who make only small purchases of milk from producers or have better than average financial condition. The amount of surety bond or letter of credit that a dealer is required to provide is based on the volume of milk purchases and a review of the financial information provided. Additional information is obtained through the licensing process, audits and required reports permits regular monitoring of a dealer's purchases, timeliness of payments to producers, and financial condition.
Another program responsibility of the Division is to ensure compliance with the Cooperative Financial Disclosure Law. This law requires each dairy cooperative to furnish its members and prospective members with all pertinent financial and corporate information about the organization in a timely manner. Dairy farmer members of such cooperatives are thus assured of timely and complete information on the finances and operating policies of their marketing organizations.
Milk Price Gouging Law, Retail Milk Price Survey & Oversight
The Division conducts a monthly retail milk price in cities across the state and oversees enforcement of the milk price gouging law 396-rr of the NYS General Business Law. This law protects consumers from excessively high retail milk prices. The Division calculates a "threshold" price each month as a benchmark for evaluating retail prices.
Retail stores that price above the threshold price may be subject to legal action based upon referral by our Department to the Attorney General if they cannot establish that the prices they charge are justified by actual costs. The threshold price is a price that is 200 percent of the farm price for Class I milk. Monitoring retailers compliance with the law has been primarily carried out through milk price survey data of supermarkets.
Milk Marketing Order
Nearly all milk produced by New York farmers is regulated under a Federal or State Milk Marketing Order. Market orders are voluntary programs that are initiated and approved by dairy farmers. Orders are enforced by State and Federal governments after farmers approve their establishment through voting in a producer referendum. Milk Marketing Orders enhance the orderly marketing of milk through terms and conditions that provide for minimum pricing, audits of receipts, disposition and payments for milk by handlers, and dissemination of market information. A system of classified milk pricing and market-wide pooling is used for cost uniformity among handlers and to yield an equitable return to all producers for the milk marketing areas. Market orders are periodically reviewed to ensure that they remain appropriate under changing economic environments.
The Division oversees the operation of the Western New York State Milk Marketing Order covering all or parts of 15 counties. The major population centers of Buffalo, Niagara Falls, and Rochester, NY are included in the State marketing area. The rest of the State is covered by the Federal Order that regulates the Northeast Milk Market Area.
The Western New York State Milk Marketing Office receives monthly reports of receipts and utilization of milk by regulated dairy plants, computes monthly class and blend prices for milk, verifies the accuracy of dairy plant monthly reports and payments through field audit, and compiles monthly statistics for the market.
Due to the importance and complexity of the regulations, there is ongoing analysis and evaluation of the terms and provisions of the order as they affect or relate to changing conditions in the marketing of milk and dairy products.
The Division is responsible for administration of the New York State Dairy Promotion Order (NYSDPO) issued by the Commissioner and approved by the State's milk producers. The Order was established to promote the consumption of New York milk and dairy products. A ten member dairy farmer advisory board appointed by the Commissioner oversees and recommends to the Commissioner the appropriate expenditure of assessments collected from New York dairy farmers. The advisory board provides policy guidance for the Commissioner and assists in administering the Order. Milk producers pay 15 cents per hundredweight of milk produced for dairy promotion. The New York State Dairy Promotion Order (our office) retains 10 cents and the remaining 5 cents is used for national program activities (paid to National Dairy Promotion and Research Board at 10255 West Higgins Road, Suite 900, Rosemont, II. 60118-5616). Monthly assessments collected by the NYSDPO are used for contractual milk promotion activities, administrative costs, and research.
Further information on the State Promotion Order is found in NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets Law Article 21 AA and I NYCRR PART 40 information on the National Promotion Program is found on USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service website.
Market Research, Economic Analysis, Dairy Statistics and Information
The Division compiles and publishes statistics on all aspects of the New York dairy industry, including the number of milk plants and dealers, receipts and utilization of milk, milk sales, production of manufactured dairy products, prices and returns for milk and descriptive information relative to the organization and structure of the industry. The information is compiled from various reports such as bulk tank unit, payment, plant and route sale reports. Approximately 6,200 reports are processed each year. Statistics and information are widely used by government, academia and the dairy industry for projections, research, policy-making, and planning. They also provide a basis for staff to analyze trends and developments in the New York dairy industry and to estimate future levels of milk supplies, sales and prices. Statistics are also furnished to the USDA for national dairy information programs.
A dairy statistics database is maintained by the Division and shared with government, university and industry dairy economists around the state and region, and other parts of the country. This work enhances the ability of the Department to respond promptly to information requests and to analyze the economic implications of dairy policy issues and proposals. Special projects are undertaken for the industry if time and availability of staff permit. The Division collects data on fluid milk sales, manufactured dairy products, receipts at New York plants and payments to New York farmers. Statistics are also provided to farmers, milk dealers, consumers, and interested parties. Dairy market developments are constantly monitored to respond to market disruptions.
Milk Marketing Advisory Council
The Milk Marketing Advisory Council (MMAC) brings producers, processors, retailers and consumers together to provide insight and advice to the Commissioner in planning programs and policies pertaining to the challenging issues facing the entire realm of the New York dairy industry. Article 21 Section 254-a of the Agriculture and Markets Law, which details the establishment and responsibilities of the Council.