Wednesday, November 25, 2009

DEC Cheesemaking Regulation Proposal taking Public Comments

The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is proposing changes to the existing state dairy regulations. Unfortunately these changes only increase the requirements needed for a certified dairy. The law is aimed at large dairies but there are no exemptions for small home dairies. DEC is currently taking public comments until December 3rd at 5pm.

Currently in Alaska it is illegal to sell milk or milk products unless you operate a certified Grade A Dairy. The only exception is that for now they are allowing farmers to sell cow or goat shares, similar to a Community Shared Agriculture concept. Technically consumers are purchasing a share of your animal and therefore allowed to take their milk home from your property. Otherwise it is illegal for milk or cheese to leave my property.

I think that the state should be making it easier for the small farm to operate a dairy. We need more small dairies across the state providing local milk and artisan cheeses. The only way this is going to happen if you the consumer demand the state change it's current laws. Here is what you can do to help:

1. Email or call Jay Fuller with the State Veterinary office. Give a short comment in favor of exemption for home dairies from the proposed regulation 18AAC32. There has been some suggestion that if they had enough public interest, something might be done about it.

The proposed regulation is 18AAC32.

I have tried to post the link, and even copied just as is, it is not working. I'm not sure why the percentages are there, on the address window there is a space where each percent is at so you could try leaving spaces if it doesn't work otherwise. To find this page originally I had just googled DEC cheesemaking regulation proposals and it was easy to find.


Bruce King said...

What problem are they trying to solve here? Has there been a rash of cheese-related poisonings or something?

Sounds like you'll need an 8 room facility to manufacture any quantity of cheese. That's bigger than my house. wow.

If that goes into law you'll have to get a lot bigger to make it pencil out.

Anonymous said...

What changes would help out and still assure a safe product? The regulations are intended to assure that the processing facility is sanitary. I am willing to write DEC in favor of the smaller operators, but I would like to hear specifically what you want. (This message is written as anonymous because the other categories seem to want a URL, and I do not have a blog.) --Mark Andrews, Fairbanks, Alaska