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​Dairy product examples include fluid milk, cheese, ice cream, butter, cottage cheese, yogurt, and sour cream.

Dairy license 

A dairy license is required for the following activities:

  • Producing milk on a Grade A dairy farm
  • Marketing milk for producers as a milk marketing agent or handler
  • Transporting milk in a milk tanker or transferring milk to a transfer or receiving station
  • Processing milk to manufacture any fluid milk or dairy products, including the wholesale manufacture of frozen dairy desserts (as defined in 21CFR Part 135)

Dairy operator license 

A dairy operator license is required for the following operators:

  • Individuals who collect raw milk samples to be used for regulatory purposes
  • Individuals responsible for the pasteurization of milk or dairy products

What kind of dairy operators have an exception from licensing?

  • A person owning no more than three dairy cows (no more than two producing) that have calved at least once or
  • A person owning no more than nine sheep that have lactated at least once or
  • A person owning no more than nine goats that have lactated at least once
The fluid milk from these animals may be sold for human or other consumption only if the milk is sold directly to the consumer at the premises where produced.

What activities are prohibited?

  • Sales of unlicensed milk or milk products where a license is required

Retail sale of unpasteurized milk from cows (unless meeting the limits of the exception above) is prohibited.

A person may not sell, or distribute for sale, the following products:

  • Unpasteurized milk or fluid milk from cows
  • Dairy products from unpasteurized milk or fluid milk from cows, unless sold to a
    • Distributor
    • Producer-distributor
    • Dairy products plant licensee
    • Non-processing cooperative

This does not apply to the sale or distribution of cheese by a licensed facility otherwise exempt from pasteurization requirements or to sales or distributions by a person described under ORS 621.012.

Please see the advertising raw milk directive for more information on 621.012(1). 

Distributor or producer-distributor may only sell milk that is pasteurized, or from disease-free goats or sheep.

A distributor, producer-distributor, or dairy products plant licensee shall not sell, offer, or expose for sale any dairy product, or fluid milk, for human consumption unless the milk used in the dairy product, or fluid milk, has been pasteurized or is goat or sheep's milk that was produced by a disease-free herd.

Positive brucellosis testing 

  • When not more than one reactor animal appears after the goat or sheep herd is tested for brucellosis, the milk, dairy products, or fluid milk may still be sold
    • If the animal is slaughtered
    • No additional reactor animals appear when the herd is retested
  • When one or more reactor animals appear after the herd is retested, no milk, dairy products, or fluid milk from the herd may be sold until the herd regains a brucellosis-free status

Pasteurized Milk Ordinance (PMO)

The PMO is developed by the National Conference of Interstate Milk Shippers (NCIMS) and covers construction, milk quality, and operation standards for all dairy operations including: 

  • Farms 
  • Transportation 
  • Processing 
  • Pasteurization 
The PMO includes standards for time, temperature, and equipment specifications.

Compliance with the PMO is required for plants or farms to produce and ship Grade A milk. Grade A milk or milk products that are shipped interstate must be from production facilities listed on the Interstate Milk Shippers (IMS) list. This list includes dairy operations that are approved for interstate milk shipment.


FDA Milk Guidance Documents and Regulatory Information

FDA milk guidance and regulations

Frozen Dairy Desserts Regulation

Code of Federal Regulations Title 21

Interstate Milk Shipper's List

Interstate Milk Shipper's List


Next step

Get a license application​​


Main Office
Food Safety
635 Capitol St NE
Salem, OR 97301
Phone: 503-986-4720