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Agricultural Marketing Service Taking Comments on Recommendations for Sheep Milk Production & Processing

USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service is proposing amendments to its recommended manufacturing milk requirements by adding provisions for sheep milk and water buffalo milk, adding follow-up procedures for used when plant commingled milk in storage tanks exceeds the maximum allowable bacterial estimate, and providing a definition for heat-treated cream. AMS is taking public comments on these recommendations, which are posted on the web at http://www.ams.usda.gov/dairy/prb/05-580.htm.

Comments should be submitted by June 20, 2005 by mail to: Reginald Pasteur, Marketing Specialist, Standardization Branch, Dairy Programs, STOP 0230 (Room 2746 South Building), Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW., Washington, DC 20250-0230; by fax: (202) 720-2643; by e-mail to Reginald.Pasteur@usda.gov or via the electronic process available at the Federal eRulemaking portal at http://www.regulations.gov. Comments should reference the Docket No. DA-03-07 and the Federal Register, vol. 70 at pp. 20730 (April 21, 2005).

AMS develops the Recommended Requirements and urges, but does not require, the states to adopt and enforce them as state regulations for manufacturing grade milk, with the AMS goal of promoting uniformity in state dairy laws and regulations. These model requirements may be of particular interest to sustainable farmers producing sheep milk for cheese, a growing niche market in the U.S. The model requirements cover production and processing aspects including milking facilities and housing, milking procedures, cooling and storage, requirements for milk houses and milk rooms, utensils and equipment.

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