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California Department of Food and Agriculture

Milk Products Plant Licenses


Milk Products Plant Licenses are issued by CDFA for various types of businesses that handle or manufacture milk and milk products. As required by the Food and Agricultural Code, a person shall not engage in any of the following businesses unless he has obtained a license from the secretary for each separate milk products plant or place of business:

  • Dealing in, receiving, manufacturing, freezing, or processing milk, or any product of milk.
  • Manufacturing, freezing, or processing imitation ice cream or imitation ice milk. (§35011, et seq., FAC)

All milk products plants must be inspected and approved by CDFA. Contact the nearest Regional Office of the Milk and Dairy Food Safety Branch to obtain an application and schedule an appointment with an inspector. ALL APPLICATIONS MUST HAVE AN INSPECTOR'S SIGNATURE BEFORE A LICENSE WILL BE ISSUED.

If your plant is located in the following counties, please contact the county Health Department/ Approved Milk Inspection Service: Fresno County Los Angeles County Sonoma County San Bernardino County Tulare/Kings County.

  • Milk Products Plant License ($100 fee; license expires on December 31 of each year; renewal fee is $100 plus $1 for each additional 10,000 pounds or fraction of 10,000 pounds over and above the first 100,000 pounds of milk fat that was purchased or received during the preceding year, ending December 31) (§35221(a)(6)):

    A milk products plant license is required for any business dealing in, receiving, manufacturing, freezing, or processing milk ice cream, ice milk, sherbet, or any similar frozen product, of manufacturing, freezing, or processing imitation ice cream, imitation ice milk, or any similar frozen product, or of processing any other dairy product for which a license is required... §35221(a), FAC)
  • Semifrozen (Soft–Serve) Milk Products Plant License* ($225 fee; license expires on December 31 of each year; fee is prorated for businesses started after March 31; penalties apply when not renewed within statutory deadline):

    A soft–serve license is required for anyone selling soft–serve ice cream, non dairy frozen dessert or frozen yogurt. These manufactured products must be served directly in a semifrozen state, without packaging of any type, for consumption on the premises in or from rooms where food is served to the public (§33704(a), FAC).
  • Limited Packaging Milk Products Plant Permit* (initial $300 fee, annual renewal fee $150; penalties apply when not renewed within statutory deadline):

    A Limited Packaging Permit may only be issued to a licensed semifrozen (soft–serve) milk products plant for on-premises manufacture and packaging of hard–frozen dairy products or dairy product novelties after an inspection and approval. Manufacture and packaging of hard frozen dairy product novelties shall be done when the establishment is closed to the public, the hard frozen products may not be sold for resale, Reconstitution of dry mix or condensed mix is prohibited, and each individually packaged hard frozen novelty shall be labeled with the name of the product and the name and address of the manufacturer (§3704(b), FAC).

    A Limited Packaging Permit may only be issued to a licensed semifrozen (soft–serve) plant. The fee for a limited packaging permit is in addition to the fee required by the semifrozen (soft–serve) license fee.
  • Diabetic/Dietetic License ($100 annual fee, in addition to milk products plant license fee; penalties apply when not renewed within statutory deadline):

    A person shall not engage in the business of manufacturing any diabetic or dietetic frozen milk product or mix unless, in addition to a milk products license, such person has obtained and holds a diabetic or dietetic frozen milk products license from the director (§35041, FAC).

    Each application for a license to engage in the business of manufacturing any diabetic or dietetic frozen milk product or mix shall be accompanied by a statement which describes the method and manner by which the product is made (§35042, FAC).
  • Frozen Milk Products Plant License ($100 annual fee and an additional inspection fee; renewal fee of $100 plus $1 for each additional 10,000 gallons or fraction of 10,000 gallons over and above 20,000 gallons that were manufactured during the preceding year, ending December 31; penalties apply when not renewed within statutory deadline (§35221(a)(1), FAC):

    Must score a minimum of 80 percent on the official scorecard for milk products plants (§33701, FAC) and comply with the requirements for new construction, repairs and sanitation of milk products plants (§33731 - 33780, FAC). At a minimum, a separate room dedicated to the manufacturing and packaging of frozen milk products, including popsicles. The facility may manufacture any quantity of product packaged for sale on or off the premises. The manufacturing area is often called a "clean room."
  • Limited Manufacturing Permit* ($225 annual fee, penalties apply when not renewed within statutory deadline):

    A hotel, a hotel, restaurant or boardinghouse may manufacture hard frozen or semifrozen dairy products for consumption on the premises. These products shall not be sold for resale, and the facility shall not manufacture more than 2,500 gallons of hard frozen or semifrozen dairy products during any year (§35016(b) and 35016(c), FAC).
  • Oleomargarine License ($100 annual fee, penalties apply when not renewed within statutory deadline):

    An oleomargarine license is required for any business that manufactures, freezes, or processes oleomargarine, margarine, colored margarine, renovated butter, or a substitute for butter (§35101, FAC).
  • Vitamin/Mineral Permits (no fee; contact the Milk and Dairy Food Safety Branch Headquarters at (916) 900–5008 for information):

    A statement of method and manner of adding vitamins and minerals shall be filed with and approved by the director, and , when offered for sale, such vitamin and mineral milk shall not be of a standard which is below the legal requirements of market milk (§35751, FAC).
    • * Soft-serve, Limited Packaging and Limited Manufacturing (in Sonoma) plants located in the following counties are under jurisdiction of the local Health Department/ Approved Milk Inspection Service: Fresno County, Los Angeles County, Sonoma County, San Bernardino County, Tulare/Kings County
  • Products Resembling Milk Products ($100 fee; license expires on December 31 of each year (§38933, 38935, FAC):

    It is unlawful to engage in the manufacture of products resembling milk products, unless a license for the then current calendar year for each separate plant or place used for such business is issued by the director pursuant to this article (§38931, FAC).
    • PRPM Product Registration ($25 application fee; expires on December 31 two years following issuance; $10 renewal fee; penalties apply when not renewed within statutory deadline; subject to revocation/suspension for violation of FAC or CCR):

      Any person engaged in the manufacture of products resembling milk products, shall register the product(s) with the department (§38941, FAC). Each product must have its own application, including different flavors of the same product. A label for the product must accompany each PRMP product application and application fee. Any revisions made to a label on file with an existing registration will be treated as a new registration.