Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Feds Versus Small Farmers In The Mainstream Media

No one has gotten sick. It's debatable whether laws have been broken. And yet the FDA has spent a year and a half's worth of time and taxpayers' money on an undercover operation to catch and prosecute Dan Allgyer, a small dairy farmer who has been providing fresh milk to co-owners of his herd of cows. US marshalls, federal agents, and state troopers were dispatched to his farm in a 5AM raid. There, they discovered "numerous portable coolers in the defendant's driveway that appeared to be milk," according to an injunction filed by the FDA.

They could have just asked him what he was doing, and he would have told them.

In the last few days, I've seen balanced pieces in both the SF Chronicle and the Boston Globe about this latest chapter in the FDA's war on raw milk and small farmers.

Unpasteurized milk is legal to buy and consume in all 50 states. It is legal to sell in some states, and illegal in others.

Is it the place of the federal government to ban the interstate sale and/or transportation of unpasteurized milk? Let's consider some goods that the feds regulate less strictly than raw milk: ground beef, raw fish and shellfish, alcohol, tobacco. Oh, and guns.

Even if such prohibitions exist, how much time, energy, and money should the feds put into enforcement? Are there more pressing issues today? Like the economy and jobs, war in Afghanistan, energy policy, hunger and poverty in the US and elsewhere, instability in Iraq and Iran, revolutions in the Arab world, Israeli borders…

Representative Ron Paul (R, Texas) has introduced a bill to legalize interstate commerce in raw milk. He believes that trade in raw milk should not be restricted by the federal government, and that "[i]f there are legitimate concerns about the safety of unpasteurized milk, those concerns should be addressed at the state and local level."

I tend to agree.

(submitted as part of Kelly's Real Food Wednesday)


Self Sagacity said...

Interesting! My sister would love to read this post. She is into all this. :-)
Come & Play: Thursday Two Questions

Alex Lewin said...

Please, by all means, send it to your sister!!

Mary said...

Excellent post. I stumbled onto your blog earlier today and I am really enjoying your writing. As a fairly recent convert to raw milk, I can no longer imagine NOT picking up our raw milk each weekend! For the record, I couldn't be a bigger supporter of Ron Paul. The fact that he supports my right to eat and drink whatever I choose is just one more thing in his favor.

Alex Lewin said...

Thanks, Barefeet. Yes, food freedom is definitely shaping up to be a big issue. If you get a chance to see the film "Farmageddon", I highly recommend it.

Pavil, The Uber Noob said...

We should be clear that in English speaking countries, there are 2 types of raw milk.
1. Milk that must be pasteurized because it is otherwise lethal
2. Milk that is safe and beneficial for humans

The two milks come from completely different dairy operations. Welcome to the industrial age, Comrade. The moral of the story is that we cannot mass produce 'real' food, only knockoffs.


Alex Lewin said...

Pavil, yes, quite agreed. There is raw milk that is intended for pasteurization or even more severe processing, which can be produced a bit carelessly and often on a huge scale; and there is raw milk suitable for drinking.