ACTION ALERT: Support food freedom now!
A year-long undercover sting investigation of an Amish farmer that included federal officials entering private consumers’ residences. A California food co-op raided by officials with guns drawn and at the ready. A Georgia man forced to destroy over 100 gallons of high-quality farm fresh milk.
What do all of these have in common?
–They all involved small-scale farmers selling directly to consumers.
–There was never any allegation that the food had caused even one person to get sick or was contaminated in any way.
–They’re all part of FDA’s campaign to prevent consumers from getting raw milk, regardless of what consumers want.
While Cargill and other agribusiness giants get away with just a slap on the wrist when they sicken hundreds and even thousands of people, the FDA is spending your tax dollars to harass small farmers selling raw milk even when there hasn’t been a single illness.
The FDA claims authority in these cases under a pair of regulations–CFR 1240.61 and 131.110– that make it illegal to transport raw milk for human consumption across state lines.
HR 1830 would help put a stop to this. This bill, sponsored by Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX) and co-sponsored by Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-ME), would legalize the interstate sale of raw milk. States would still be free to impose whatever regulations they think appropriate, but the FDA would no longer be able to harass raw milk farmers based solely on the fact that they have customers in other states.
Please help us get this important bill passed!
1. Use the online petition system to send a fax to your Congressman, asking him or her to co-sponsor HR 1830. Go to www.farmtoconsumer.org/hr1830 and just fill in your information to send a fax with a click of the button.
2. Forward this email to all of your friends and ask them to fax their Congressman
3. Follow up your fax with a phone call to your Congressman. Phone numbers can be found at www.house.gov
For more information on HR 1830 and FDA’s campaign against consumer choice, go to www.farmtoconsumer.org/112Cong-HR1830.htm
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations require milk in final package form for human consumption to be pasteurized, and prohibit the delivery into interstate commerce of unpasteurized (or “raw”) milk for human consumption. The consumption of raw milk is legal in all 50 states, while the sale of raw milk for human consumption is legal in 28 states.
Consumers are increasingly seeking out raw milk as a natural, unprocessed food. Consumers in states where raw milk cannot legally be sold (although it can legally be consumed) are seeking sources of raw milk from neighboring states. For example, consumers in Georgia buy raw milk from farmers in South Carolina, while consumers in New Jersey and Virginia seek out Pennsylvania raw milk farmers.
FDA’S ACTIONS TO DATE
FDA has threatened enforcement and taken action against both farmers and buyer’s co-ops across the country for allegedly violating CFR 1240.61 and 131.110(a). Below are a few recent examples. There was no allegation that the raw milk had caused any illnesses in any of these cases.
**FDA spent a year in an undercover sting operation on an Amish farmer, Dan Allgyer of Rainbow Acres in Pennsylvania. Agency employees lied about their identity and joined local buying clubs. They picked up raw milk from private residences – again, concealing their identities – and sent the milk to be tested. Despite nearly a dozen tests, not one sample showed any contamination. Despite the fact that this clean milk had not made anyone sick, the agency ultimately raided Dan’s farm in May 2011.
**FDA officials, together with officials from five other local, state, and federal agencies raided the Rawesome Food Club, a private buying club in Venice, California on June 30, 2010. Police accompanying the various agency officials entered the store with guns drawn. The officials confiscated 17 coolers of food including raw milk and raw milk products, even though the warrant stated that they could only take samples. This year, the government raided Rawesome a second time on August 3 with FDA officials again participating in the raid. Government agents seized almost the entire food inventory at the store, dumping out all the raw milk on the premises without any court order to do so. The store manager, a farmer supplying the store, and an administrator for the farmer who did nothing more than take orders and disseminate information for the farmer, were each charged with multiple felonies alleging violations of state food and dairy laws.
**An FDA agent participated in the dumping of over one hundred gallons of impounded raw milk belonging to members of a Georgia food buying club, which had been legally purchased from a licensed South Carolina dairy in October 2009. The primary agency in that action was the Georgia Department of Agriculture, but the FDA official present at that time told the buying club’s agent that even an individual consumer cannot legally cross state lines to buy raw milk and bring it home under 1240.61 and 131.110.
In all of these cases, there was no allegation that the raw milk had caused any illnesses or was contaminated in any way.
In an effort to protect both farmers and consumers, the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund has sued the FDA on behalf of itself and eight individuals, asking the Court to declare that FDA’s ban on the interstate sale of raw milk is invalid and violates the plaintiffs’ constitutional rights. The individual plaintiffs include consumers who cross state lines to buy raw milk, the owner of a buying club or “virtual farmers’ market” who crosses state lines to buy milk to distribute to the club members, and a raw milk farmer.
The FDA has long opposed “freedom of food choice,” but its response to the FTCLDF complaint represents FDA’s strongest public statement yet on the freedom to obtain and consume the foods of one’s choice. Here are some of FDA’s views expressed in its response on ‘freedom of food choice’ in general and on the right to obtain and consume raw milk in particular:
–“There is no absolute right to consume or feed children any particular food.”
–“There is no ‘deeply rooted’ historical tradition of unfettered access to foods of all kinds.”
–“Plaintiffs’ assertion of a ‘fundamental right to their own bodily and physical health, which includes what foods they do and do not choose to consume for themselves and their families’ is similarly unavailing because plaintiffs do not have a fundamental right to obtain any food they wish.”
–“It is within [the federal government’s] authority . . . to institute an intrastate ban [on unpasteurized milk] as well.”
–“There is no fundamental right to freedom of contract.”
For more information on the lawsuit against FDA to assert our food freedom, go to www.farmtoconsumer.org/litigation-FDA-status.htm