Why It’s Illegal in Pennsylvania to Use Milk Crates for Anything Besides Milk

Have you ever wondered where those stern warnings about “unauthorized use of milk cases” being illegal come from? Pennsylvania Law Act No. 37 warns that unauthorized use of milk cases is illegal and punishable by a fine of $300 or imprisonment of up to 90 days. Theft of milk crates is an issue taken very seriously by the dairy industry. The International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) estimates that dairy companies lose 20 million milk crates a year to theft. At about $4 per crate, that’s an $80 million loss per year. That represents just a fraction of a percent of gross national fluid milk sales — in excess of $20 billion — but dairy profit margins aren’t huge, and $80 million is $80 million. So, if you have a milk crate marked with a company’s name, it belongs to them. As we all hopefully remember from kindergarten, we’re not supposed to take things that don’t belong to us.