The Springfield-Greene County Health Department is contracted by the Missouri State Milk Board to provide inspection services for Grade A dairy operations in 12 counties in the southwest Missouri area. Those counties include Newton, Jasper, Barry, Lawrence, Barton, Dade, McDonald, Stone, Cedar, Polk, Greene, and Vernon. Required services include:
- Facilitating the collection process of individual Grade A dairy farm milk samples and pasteurized fluid milk products for laboratory analysis
- Inspecting and regulating Grade A bulk milk haulers
- Inspecting and regulating Grade A dairy farms
- Inspecting Grade A bulk milk farm trucks
- Investigating complaints concerning Grade A dairy farms and dairy products
- Reviewing blueprints of Grade A dairy barns to determine compliance with state and federal regulations
Raw milk is milk from cows, sheep, or goats that has not been pasteurized to kill harmful bacteria. This raw, unpasteurized milk can carry dangerous bacteria that can cause serious infections, illness, hospitalization, and even death and can be especially dangerous to pregnant women, children, senior adults, and people with weakened immune systems
Even healthy animals may carry germs that can contaminate milk. Disease-causing organisms in milk can only be killed through pasteurization. Pasteurization is the process of heating the milk to a high temperature for a period of time in order to kill disease-causing bacteria contained in milk. Research shows there is no meaningful difference in the nutritional value or the health benefits of pasteurized versus unpasteurized milk. Drinking pasteurized milk has never been found to be the cause of any disease, allergy, developmental, or behavioral problem. All of the nutritional benefits of drinking milk are available from pasteurized milk without the risk of disease that comes with drinking raw milk.
Protect yourself and your family and check labels to ensure that the dairy products you consumer are pasteurized products.
Many scientific health organizations recommend only the consumption of pasteurized milk including:
Missouri State Statue 196.935
No person shall sell, offer for sale, expose for sale, transport, or deliver any graded fluid milk or graded fluid milk products in this state unless the milk or milk products are graded and produced, transported, processed, manufactured, distributed, labeled, and sold under state milk inspection and the same has also been produced or pasteurized as required by a regulation authorized by section 196.939 and under proper permits issued there under. Only pasteurized graded fluid milk and fluid milk products as defined in subdivision (3) or section 196.931 shall be sold to the final consumer, or to restaurants, soda fountains, grocery stores, or similar establishments; except an individual may purchase and have delivered to him for his own use raw milk or cream from a farm.
Regulated Raw Milk
In Missouri, consumers may purchase regulated Grade A retail raw milk or non-regulated raw milk. Grade A retail raw milk requires the producer to obtain a permit from the state milk board. The permit requires producers to:
- Undergo inspection of their facility at least once every six months
- Meet construction standards
- Monitor the health of the herd
- Test milk on a routine basis
Due to these rigid standards, the producer holding a Grade A retail raw milk permit is allowed to sell directly to the end consumer at distribution points, such as farmers markets. The 1999 Food Code does not allow any raw milk to be sold in a food establishment, such as a grocery or health food store.
Non-Regulated Raw Milk
Non-regulated raw milk means the farmer produces the milk on the farm and is allowed to sell the milk directly to the end consumer from the farm or deliver it to the customer at home. There are no standards or inspections performed on non-regulated raw milk. The Health Department will only inspect and investigate producers during a suspected food borne illness outbreak associated with drinking non-regulated raw milk or when the non-regulated producer sells the product outside the boundaries of what is allowed by law.