Milk And Dairy Food Safety: Branch History

California Dairying is the largest agricultural commodity in a state where agriculture is the number one industry. Dairying directly or indirectly affects 15 percent of the people in California. From the dairy barn milker to the truck driver, to the grocery store clear, to the large dairy processing companies. Some of the early actions with respect to consumer protection were:

  • 1878 – California's first dairy law was passed. This was an act to prevent the sale of oleomargarine under the name and pretense it was butter.
  • 1895 – The Legislature created the State Dairy Bureau as the enforcement agency for dairy laws. There were laws passed this year to prevent fraud & deception in the manufacture and sale of butter and cheese.
  • 1900 – Local Governments sought to inspect milk that was produced, processed, and consumed locally.
  • 1905 – The Sanitary Dairy Law was passed, prohibiting the sale of milk produced by unhealthy animals or under unsanitary conditions.
  • 1915 – The Pure Milk Act was passed. Under this comprehensive law, margarine and pasteurization were defined, and repasteurization was prohibited. Probably the most inportant portion of the Pure Milk Act was the provision for uniform grading of milk in the State. Market Milk was graded as certified, guaranteed Grade A or Grade B.
  • 1919 – The Department of Agriculture was organized and the duties of the State Dairy Bureau were assigned to the Division of Animal Industry.
  • More Details  

Contact us for more information:
California Department of Food and Agriculture
Animal Health and Food Safety Services, Milk and Dairy Food Safety Branch
1220 N Street
Sacramento, California 95814
Telephone: (916) 900-5008
Fax: (916) 900-5337
or send an email to: