Congressman Ron Paul, R-TX, and his son, Sen. Rand Paul, R-KY, are giving the country’s raw milk advocates multiple reasons for some hope.
First Rep. Paul, who continues to campaign for the Republican nomination for President, has succeeded in putting the legalization of raw milk into the Texas Republican Party platform.
And, second, Sen. Paul has introduced an amendment to the 2012 Farm Bill to allow direct sale of raw milk and raw milk products across state lines. Sen. Paul is coming off his success in amending the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) budget to require the agency to consider foreign studies of drugs and supplements.
In his remarks to Texas Republicans, Rep. Paul combined New York City’s proposed ban on sugary drinks larger than 16 ounces and raw milk, saying: “In a free society, you will always be able to buy a big drink with a lot of sugar in it. You might even be able to drink raw milk.”
Paul’s keynote speech brought down the house, bringing Texans to their feet for a long loud ovation, winning a place for “access to raw milk” in the state GOP platform. It increases the likelihood of raw milk winning a place in the GOP’s national platform during the Republican National Convention in Tampa Bay, Aug. 27-30.
Here’s the platform language favored by the Texas GOP:
“Unprocessed Foods ― We support the availability of natural, unprocessed foods, including, but not limited to, the right to access raw milk.
“Food Choice ― We support the right of individuals to make their own dietary decisions. We oppose any laws regarding the production, distribution or consumption of food. Government should not restrict non-genetically engineered seeds.”
Sen. Paul sponsors amendment No. 2180 to the 2012 Farm Bill. The Senate is close to taking up the hefty measure, and the amendment to permit the interstate sales of raw milk has encountered opposition from dairy interests who pasteurize their products.
The National Milk Producers Federation and the International Dairy Foods Association jointly wrote Agricultural Committee leaders June 8 to express their opposition to the Rand amendment.
In part the letter said:
“The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) and the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) respectfully urge that you oppose an amendment to legalize the interstate sale of unpasteurized or “raw” milk and milk products based on the significant public health risks associated with consumption of raw milk.
“Senator Paul’s amendment (No. 2180) would allow the direct sale of raw milk and raw milk products, foods for which consumption has been opposed by every major health organization in the United States, including the American Medical Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics.
“Pasteurization is one of the greatest public health tools. To compromise or reduce its use through this legislation is not just bad politics – it’s a huge, inhumane step backwards, and one that will cause sickness and death.
“The link between raw milk and foodborne illness has been well‐documented in the scientific literature, with evidence spanning nearly 100 years. Raw milk is a key vehicle in the transmission of human pathogens, including E. coli O157:H7, Campylobacter, Listeria monocytogenes, and Salmonella.”
The current farm bill, adopted in 2008, expires on Sept. 30. Whether Congress acts before or after the expiration date may depend on whether an impasse with Southern states can be resolved sooner rather than later.© Food Safety News