August 1, 2011
by Karen De Coster
August 1, 2011
On the raw milk front, Dairyherd.com has some interesting survey results on comparative raw milk regulations on a state-by-state basis. To summarize, thirty states allow consumers to transact with raw milk producers while twenty states prohibit that act of freedom. And don’t forget that federal laws prevent the sale of any raw milk, from anywhere, over state lines. The fed’s response to the good white stuff moving over state lines is sending in armed soldiers in full battle gear to destroy the enemy.
Thirteen mini-regimes in the US of A allow the sale of raw milk on the farm where where it was produced, while four of those thirteen only allow “incidental occurrences,” which, of course, cannot be defined. But arbitrary laws with a host of potential interpretations is how the feds are able to use arbitrary rule interpretations to seize product and regulate small producers out of business. The article defines incidental occurrences as “occasional sales, not as a regular course of business; no advertising.” Surely, the feds can interpret “occasional” and “regular” and “advertising” in a whole host of capricious ways.
Four of those thirteen states only allow raw goat milk while Kentucky and Rhode Island – now get this – require a prescription from a physician! Of course, you can interpret that to mean raw milk must be medicinal (ask Moms who cure their child’s allergies with raw milk), but then again, there’s no such thing as a Big Milk Pharma that exists as a corporate arm of the state to keep its products available for good health. Lastly, eleven states allow raw milk to be sold in retail stores outside of the farm.
Several of the states that allow the sale of raw milk for human consumption have various twists and turns in their laws that make it very difficult to get the milk from the farm to the consumer, which essentially limits, or in some cases prevents, the sale of the product. However, milk entrepreneurs whose businesses are stifled by fascist decrees have been creative enough to come up with the idea of herd shares that allow folks, in some far-flung way, to buy a “piece” of a herd and get their milk. Any time that people can conjure up visionary ways to skirt the laws of the totalitarian regime, freedom has taken a small step forward.
Meanwhile, the FDA is going after Tucker Adkins Dairy of South Carolina like gangbusters. All of three (maybe eight?) people allegedly got sick from the dairy’s raw milk. So three people are confirmed sick – diarrhea – and the FDA has thrown a ton of resources at the issue to propagandize against raw milk and tout the “safety” of the industrial milk product. The FDA even put out this newswire that was nothing more than an expensive, pure propaganda piece. Author and defender of food choice, Dave Gumpert, explains on his blog why the FDA felt compelled to launch its agitprop offensive.
Why would the FDA feel compelled to get the word out far and wide about a relatively small, locally confined outbreak of food-borne illness that for all practical purposes ended a month earlier? There are two reasons, which have received much attention here.
The FDA has a case pending against Amish farmer Dan Allgyer in federal district court, filed in April, in which it is seeking a permanent injunction against him serving a private food club that brings raw milk from Pennsylvania to Maryland. That case has been very controversial, and inspired a boisterious demonstration in Washington two months ago, featuring a cow outside the Capitol.
The FDA is also the target of the lawsuit filed by the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund, which challenges the legality of the FDA’s ban on interstate sales of raw milk. The FDA has been unsuccessful thus far in its efforts to have the case thrown out, and perhaps frustrated in the process.
The FDA is, in desperation, trying to influence consumers against raw milk. Even so, sales of raw milk keep increasing and new consumers come into the market every day. At my grocery store – Detroit Eastern Market - where forty thousand people gather each week to buy, sell, and inform, I have noted that the raw milk protestors (people who want food freedom with their own body) are in high visibility this year, and sales of herd shares are being advertised all over the market. With large, colorful signs! It seems that the more the government carries on its safety parade through its futile campaign of disinformation, the more people seem to brush off the spin as nothing more than second-rate hype and ignorable noise.