AUGUSTA, Maine — The Maine Senate approved a bill on Wednesday that would allow farmers to sell small quantities of raw milk directly to consumers without getting a license as long as the milk is clearly labeled.

The Senate on Wednesday morning passed “An Act To Help Small Farmers in Selling Raw Milk and Homemade Food Products,” LD 1282, without a roll-call vote, opting to accept the majority ought-to-pass recommendation from the Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, according to the Legislative Information Office. The bill now goes to the House of Representatives for a vote.

The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Tom Saviello, R-Wilton, could not be reached for comment on Wednesday.

If enacted, the bill would exempt farmers who produce less than 20 gallons of raw milk from licensing and inspection requirements. It would also allow them to sell that milk directly to consumers, as long as it is clearly labeled and sold from that person’s farm or a farmers market within the state.

The law would also apply to farmers who process less than 20 gallons of raw milk into cheese, yogurt, cream, butter and kefir.

The farm stand and the food label would need to include information about the farm and a statement that the farm and food product are exempt from state licensing and inspection provisions.

Whit Richardson

Whit Richardson is Business Editor at the Bangor Daily News. He blogs about Maine business, entrepreneurs and the economy.