New law enacted to change milk date requirement for sales in Pa.

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — A new law is coming to Pennsylvania to help the retail sale of milk with a new “open code” format.

Pa. Senator Elder Vogel (R – Beaver, Butler, and Lawrence) introduced the measure into the Pa. Senate to form Senate Bill 434, which was signed into law Wednesday as Act 62 of 2021.

The new law fixes a problem that affects retail sales. Currently, Pa. requires milk to be labeled for sale within 17 days of pasteurization, also known as “fixed code.” These regulations exist in only two other states, and it puts Pa.-produced milk at a disadvantage in stores.

Act 62 allows milk processors to apply for Dept. of Agriculture approval to exceed the 17-day limitation to go towards an “open code” format. This sets testing requirements and standards, including dairy laboratory criteria, bacterial testing of samples, and continued periodic testing, which must be met for milk processors to be approved.

“Act 62 levels the playing field and will enable Pennsylvania dairy farmers to be more competitive with those of other states,” Sen. Vogel said. “The 17-day requirement is not realistic when it comes to milk’s actual shelf life.”

Vogel also serves as Chairman of the Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee.

“In addition, most consumers rank freshness, as determined by the date code indicated, as the most important attribute when purchasing milk. The current sell-by-date system is not reflective of the actual quality of Pennsylvania milk, so this new system is truly a step forward,” Sen. Vogel said.

The bill will go into effect in 30 days.

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