An Overview Of The Grade "A" Milk Dairy Program

Products Regulated

Grade "A" milk and milk products such as fluid/bottled milk; cottage cheese; yogurt; milk products including whey and dry milk.

Federal Regulatory Authority

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

FDA develops, along with the 50 States and Puerto Rico, a model document called the Pasteurized Milk Ordinance (PMO). In Michigan, the Grade "A" Law of 2001 adopts the PMO as law. All Grade "A" products must come from dairy farms and dairy plants that meet the requirements of the PMO in order to be shipped interstate.  FDA publishes a quarterly Interstate Milk Shipper's List of qualified sources of Grade "A" raw milk and processed milk products to ship interstate. FDA maintains a web site called the Interstate Milk Shippers List (IMS List), where sources of Grade "A" raw milk and processed milk products qualified to ship inerstate can be found.

FDA provides oversight to develop and maintain a uniform interpretation of the PMO nationwide. They "Check Rate" all groups of dairy farms and dairy plants approximately every five years to evaluate compliance with the PMO.

Grade "A" Pasteurized Milk Ordinance of 2017 

State Regulatory Authority

Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development (MDARD), Food and Dairy Division

Michigan adopts the PMO as law and implements the requirements. Michigan also has a Manufacturing Milk dairy law that covers other products such as frozen desserts (ice cream) or butter, which are not Grade "A" products.

MDARD provides oversight to develop and maintain a uniform interpretation of the PMO, statewide. These Ratings or Surveys are conducted on all groups of Grade "A" dairy farms and dairy plants at least once every two years. A farm group or plant must score at least 90% to qualify to be listed in the quarterly Interstate Milk Shipper's List as an approved source of Grade "A" milk and milk products. FDA certifies the State Rating Officers every three years to conduct these ratings.

The state also provides local inspectors who inspect each Grade "A" dairy farm at least once every six months and dairy plants at least once every three months. These inspections are used to evaluate compliance with and enforce compliance of the PMO sanitation requirements.

The state inspectors also collect samples of raw and processed dairy products at each Grade "A" dairy plant. These samples are analyzed for many parameters including bacteria counts, somatic cell counts, drug residues, temperature, butterfat levels, water content, and phosphatase in the processed (pasteurized) products.

The commercial dairy industry, under the supervision of MDARD, collects and analyzes samples of milk from each dairy farm monthly for temperature, bacteria counts, somatic cell counts, and drug residues. Likewise, the dairy industry samples each tanker truckload of milk, daily, for inhibitors.

Local Regulatory Authority

None is provided for in state law

Applicable Laws and Regulations

Grade "A" Milk Law of 2001, 2001 PA 266, MCL 288.471 to 288.540

An Overview of the Manufacturing Milk Dairy Programs