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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: February 12, 2021 04:49 PM
From: Senator Elder A. Vogel, Jr. and Sen. Judith L. Schwank, Sen. Judy Ward
To: All Senate members
Subject: Milk Labeling Update
In August of 2020, the Dairy Futures Commission published its recommendations to help bolster Pennsylvania’s dairy industry.  The first recommendation made in this report was to extend the current regulatory date labeling, or coding, requirement for fluid milk. 
In the near future, we will be reintroducing legislation similar to SB 1330 from last Session, which will update “sell by” and “best by” date labeling for pasteurized milk.
According to a 2019 study conducted by the Saint Joseph’s School of Food Marketing, consumers rank freshness, as determined by the date code indicated, as the most important attribute when purchasing milk.  Currently, Pennsylvania regulation requires milk to be labeled for sale within 17 days of pasteurization.  Only two other states have similar “fixed code” dates for milk regulations, thus putting Pennsylvania-produced milk at a competitive disadvantage in the retail sale of milk.  
The current 17-day requirement also makes it impossible for processors to bid to provide milk to those who want to sell through national food suppliers and wholesalers.  These suppliers require a longer "sell by" date interval in their request for proposal (RFP), thus preventing a contract from being fulfilled with Pennsylvania-produced milk. 
Our legislation will allow milk processors to apply for Department of Agriculture approval to exceed the currently regulatory 17-day limitation by moving to a science-based “open code” format.  The legislation will establish testing requirements and standards, including dairy laboratory criteria, bacterial testing of samples and continued periodic testing, which must be met for milk processors to receive Department approval.   
Pennsylvania’s dairy industry is vitally important to the Commonwealth and it is important that we level the playing field to allow the industry to better compete. 

Introduced as SB434