Pursuant to N.J.S.A. 4:12A-67, it is unlawful for any person to:
- Receive, take, store, buy, sell, dispose, use or otherwise possess any milk case without the consent of the owner;
- Refuse to return any milk case to the owner upon demand;
- Deface, erase, obliterate, cover-up or otherwise remove or conceal any name, registration trademark or other business identification of an owner of a milk case, for the purpose of destroying or removing from the milk case evidence of its ownership.
“Owner” is defined as “the person whose name, registered trademark or other business identification is clearly printed, embossed, inscribed or otherwise marked on a milk case.”
Pursuant to N.J.S.A. 4:12A-65 and 66; in order to be protected by the Act, milk cases must be registered with the Department and “wholesale milk and milk product purchasers who, in the normal course of milk distribution procedures, hold milk cases for pickup by the owners or their representatives are exempt from the provisions of this act”. Please be advised that this exemption is not applicable if the owner has revoked permission for the wholesaler to receive, take or otherwise possess their cases.
Although the Department is authorized to issue penalties for violations of the Milk Case Recovery Act, such violations cannot be issued absent proof of a violation. Therefore, prior to contacting the Department for assistance in recovering unlawfully retained milk cases, the owner of said cases should:
- Ensure that the milk cases are registered with the Department pursuant to N.J.S.A. 4:12A-65.
- Contact the person, company or firm and demand the return of their milk cases. It is recommended that this demand be in writing, sent via certified mail, return receipt requested and contain, at a minimum, the number of milk cases to be returned, a description of the milk cases in question and the date, time, and location where the milk cases are to be returned.
- If you are authorizing someone to make the aforementioned demand on your behalf, the authorization should be in writing and should include the number of milk cases you are authorizing your representative to accept on your behalf. A copy of this authorization should be included with the demand notice.
- If you choose to revoke permission for a wholesaler to receive, take or otherwise possess your milk cases in the normal course of business, the revocation should be in writing and sent via certified mail, return receipt requested.
If the person, company or firm fails to return the milk cases upon your demand, you should then contact the Department at 609-292-5646 to request assistance. Your request for assistance should include copies of all documentation in support of your claim.
If, upon investigation, the Department determines that there is a violation of the Milk Case Recovery Act, penalties will be assessed in accordance with N.J.A.C. 2:56-2.2 (c).