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)