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KY Republican Puts Together Left-Right Coalition to Allow Interstate Raw Milk Sales

A left-right libertarian coalition led by U.S. Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) is sponsoring two bills in Congress to permit the interstate sales of raw milk. Massie says the bills are but the first in a series of “food freedom” measures he plans to introduce. One would overturn the interstate ban on raw milk, while the other would permit interstate shipment of raw milk only if two states already permitted intrastate sale.

The Milk Freedom Act of 2014 (HR 4307) would provide relief to local farmers, small producers and others who “have been harassed, fined, and in some cases even prosecuted” for the “crime” of distributing unpasteurized milk, Massie says. It would prohibit the federal government from interfering with the interstate traffic of raw milk products.

The Interstate Milk Freedom Act (HR 4308) would prevent the federal government from interfering with the trade of unpasteurized natural milk or milk products between the states where distribution or sale of such products is already legal.

Massie says no provision of either bill would preempt or otherwise interfere with any state law regarding raw milk.

The bipartisan sponsors clearly have a libertarian bent. In addition to Massie, U.S. Reps. Chellie Pingree (D-ME), Jared Polis (D-CO), Tom McClintock (D-CA), Scott Rigell (R-VA), Walter Jones (R-NC), Paul Broun (R-GA), Steve Stockman (R-TX), Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), Louie Gohmert (R-TX) and Justin Amash (R-MI) are co-sponsors of the Milk Freedom Act.

Massie’s co-sponsors for the Interstate Milk Freedom Act include U.S. Reps. Pingree, Polis, Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), McClintock, Rigell, Jones, Broun, Andy Harris (R-MD), Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), Morgan Griffith (R-VA), Ted Poe (R-TX), Marlin Stutzman (R-IN), Mick Mulvaney (R-SC), Stockman, Rohrabacher, Gohmert, Scott Perry (R-PA) and Raul Labrador, (R-ID).

“Today, many people are paying more attention to the food they eat, what it contains, and how it is processed,” Massie says. “Raw milk, which has been with us for thousands of years, is making a comeback among these discerning consumers. Personal choices as basic as ‘what we feed our families’ should not be limited by the federal government.”

Massie, who lives in a timber-framed house he built himself, complete with a solar system that has him living “off the grid,” produces grass-fed beef.

Meanwhile, in the late-starting Louisiana Legislature, which got under way March 10, a bill has been introduced to allow on-the-farm sales of raw milk.

House Bill 247 was assigned to the House Committee on Agriculture, Forestry, Aquaculture and Rural Development, where it is waiting to be heard.

Louisiana currently bans the sale of all raw milk and raw milk products. Current law is based on the U.S. Public Health Service Milk Ordinance and Code. HB 247 would permit on-the-farm sale of both goat and whole cow milk.

On-the-farm raw milk sales would come with the requirement that signs and labels be used to warn consumers that the milk has not been pasteurized and that any liability falls on the consumer. Some minimal sanitary standards are also included in the bill.

Louisiana lawmakers are not scheduled to adjourn in Baton Rogue until June 2.

© Food Safety News
  • lja_11

    Sadly, you don’t get it at all.

    • That’s true, I don’t get raw milk.

      • Robert Patterson

        Then don’t drink it. Opt instead for the pasteurized, homogenized, Frankenfood that is Skim Milk. What this bill is about is allowing the people that do “get” raw milk to buy it without threats of fines or jail time. So unless you believe your personal prejudices and preferences gives you the right to tell other people what they can or can’t put in to their own body, you should support this bill whether you “get” raw milk or not.

  • John Moody

    Nice straw man attack. Massie and others don’t want the government doing all those other things. They want to see businesses and customers work together to address these issues, and gasp, that is exactly what is happening. RAWMI, the LFA and the like are all working on safety, training, and other tools to help ensure the safety of real food. Sorry to burst your big government bubble…

    The rest of your paragraph shows the same kind of poor logic, thinking, and bad economics endemic in those who don’t understand and dislike the idea of people doing things that they personally don’t agree with.

    and of course, insurance companies and the rest of us are not already footing the trillion dollar bill of pandemic disease caused by USDA ag policy making cola and cheetos cheaper than carrots… no, not at all…

    The cost of the very small number of raw milk illnesses isn’t even a fractional percentage of the decimating cost of degenerative disease industrial food has unleashed on the nation, and that the USDA and others protect and prop up… if you are worried about costs, you really really may want to focus on those that matter…

    • Mae Blue

      Yes, you are right. The tragedy is the junk. And Mrs. Obama does not have a clue, as she is trying to introduce her fancy kind of junk, juice, agave and allowing for diet soda as an alternative to sugared soda. There is so much work to be done!!

    • There aren’t enough raw milk foodborne illness outbreaks, so you all want to dramatically increase the number?

      Considering what a tiny consumer base raw milk has, it has an inordinately disproportional number of foodborne illness outbreaks.

      So, increasing the access to raw milk–my god, actually allowing it to be shipped long distances–is only going to significantly increase the outbreaks.

      But ironically wave your Cheetos in the air and talk about “straw man attacks”–just be aware that more raw milk consumption means more illness outbreaks, and someday you all may wish you had just left well enough alone.

    • Michael Bulger

      Statistics tell us that the “very small number of raw milk illnesses” will increase with the expanded sales of raw milk. The same scientific method that tells us Cheetos are unhealthy shows us that raw milk really is high risk food.

  • Mae Blue

    You might do better to decry the mass-pollution of our food supply by processed junk food, which is causing more destruction to human lives around the word than any natural disaster. Raw milk? I don’t know, have to check it out but the real issue is what I just stated.

    • And completely unrelated to the topic of this article.

      • Mae Blue

        Well, maybe, but it never hurts to take a bite out of the junk-food corporations that have been slowly but surely destroying the heath of populations everywhere. Giving up junk food, has changed my life, but is so hard because there is so much of it out there and it is so addictive to many people. So I like to throw it in.

  • Rebecca

    you really don’t know anything about raw milk do.

  • Raymond James

    I would never and have never drank raw milk I see no reason not to pasteurize it. As a kid after we milked the cows we took some milk to the house where it was pasteurized prior to use. The only milk or cream I recall that was not pasteurized prior to use was some cream used in cooking after it was allowed to sour. I still pasteurize the milk I drink . I do not purchase a lot of commercial milk preferring to pasteurize whole Jersey milk at home.

    I could however almost agree to allow raw milk sales , even off farm, if there were warning labels and the raw milk supporters would quit talking about magical properties. I talk to a lot of people about this who have never milked cows/ goats or kept live stock who keep going on about how if the cow is raised such and such a way that there is only positive things and no risk.

    I will say there is less risk now with our understanding of dieses and how to prevent them,.our increased understanding of sanitation then when Abraham Lincolns mother died of a milk borne disease. This from a organic, family raised cow. A cow whose milk she drank for months if not years.

    Many of these proponents do not know or at least cannot explain the difference between homogenization and pasteurization. I see a general lack of scientific knowledge among the raw milk drinkers I have talked to and little animal husbandry experience.

    No state should allow off farm sales of raw milk until they increase science instruction in the schools and put a warning label on it.

    • Mae Blue

      on the other hand, Paleo diets reject dairy outright.

      • Hattie

        I think that is no bodies business if I drink raw milk.I love raw milk

  • opies99

    Ms. Powers. We’ve been raw milk farmers for over 20 years, selling to hundreds of customers directly off our farm. We have yet to receive a single complaint about an illness caused by our raw milk. Yes, it could happen, there is risk in all foods consumed but the risk of raw milk related illnesses is very low. So low that in my home state of Illinois our public health department does not even consider it a “reportable illness”. So low that the CDC themselves state that from “1998 through 2011, 148 outbreaks due to the consumption of raw milk or raw milk products were reported to the CDC, which resulted in 2,384 illnesses, 284 hospitalizations, and 2 deaths” This means Ms. Powers that over a 13 year span there was just an average of 3.66 raw milk related illnesses per state per year. When compared to the number of people who have died in car accidents,(and yet we are still allowed to drive them !) from consumption of tainted CAFO meat or produce shipped from thousands of miles away you will see the risk is very low and certainly at those low rates would never cause the kind of heath care, insurance, school related expenses you speak of.

    In fact thousands of raw milk drinkers across the US swear their health has greatly IMPROVED but of course researchers in the US are not studying that. Raw milk is indeed a hot topic not because of any increased illness rates but solely due to the fact that Big Dairy is steadily losing money in their pasteurized milk sales, they see raw milk sales as a huge monetary threat and they want it stopped. The risk is low.

    The last thing most raw milk farmers and consumers want is our government spending any money regulating us or “footing the bill for investigations”. Generally we want the government OFF OUR FARMS. Let Americans decide for themselves what they should and should not drink and our government needs to return to those tasks assigned them by our Constitution NOT tasks assigned to them by Big Buck Companies promising money for re-election funds. Please take the time to check all your “facts”

    Donna OShaughnessy South Pork Ranch Chatsworth, Illinois

    • The incidents are low because the consumption is so limited. Increase consumption, and the incidents will increase accordingly. The problem with raw milk and raw milk products is the incidence of foodborne illness with the products is disproportionately higher than for the pasteurized counter-part.

      This is why both the CDC and the FDA, as well as doctors, do not recommend consuming raw milk or raw milk products.

      There is no scientific basis for your assertion that people are _better_ drinking raw milk. You’re just saying what you think, and calling it fact.

      Want government off your farms? Yeah that happened a hundred or so years ago, and children died by the tens of thousands.

      Nowadays, most people want to know what caused an illness outbreak so that more people don’t get sick. According to your philosophy about government staying “OFF YOUR FARMS”, if people sicken and die, that’s an acceptable risk.

      Well, it isn’t to me.

      I find raw milk producers who don’t warn people of the risks of raw milk to be grossly irresponsible.

      • opies99

        The number of people consuming raw milk continues to increase every year Ms Powers. The CDC frequently reports itself that 3% of the total population has consumed raw milk in the last 7 days. With a population in the US of 313 million (2012) that would equate to 939,000 Americans.
        Exact numbers are not known because many individuals fear they may be persecuted by their own government for their choices, and THAT is what this issue is about…Freedom of choice.

        http://farmageddonmovie.com/ is a excellent video for you to see if you interested in learning more. Here in Illinois the over 50 raw milk farmers I communicate with tell me their raw milk sales continue to increase year to year. And yet reports of raw milk related illnesses related to milk produced by and Illinois raw milk farmers is zero in the last 13 years.(1998-2011) Yes, there is a possibility someone could get sick and die just as I might die today driving my car to the post office. That AND drinking raw milk are risks I choose to assume which is the real crux of this discussion. Why do you want your government telling YOU and your family ,which risks you should personally assume each day?

        To clarify, I did not say it was “fact” that individuals have improved health from drinking raw milk. I said ” In fact thousands of raw milk drinkers swear their health has improved…” because the fact is…they do believe this. As evidenced by multiple surveys done state by state as documented again via the Westin A Price organization and The Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund.

        My challenge to you is this..to pull away from the same old resources , CDC, FDA, and expand your research some.
        Finally I agree with your last statement. On our own farm we do not sell raw milk to anyone without instructing them on the pros and cons as they have been reported, giving them a tour of the farm, teaching them clean hand technique while obtaining our milk from our stainless steel tank and giving them written handouts listing sources who both promote and condemn raw milk. The informed consumer is indeed the best consumer.

      • Edwin Woodruff Tait

        I’m not sure I’m a fan of lifting the ban on interstate commerce in raw milk, but I am definitely in favor of lifting regulations on small-scale sale of raw milk on a farm to people the farmer meets personally. Accountability in that context is person-to-person rather than imposed through government regulation. By all means regulate large-scale transactions where that kind of accountability isn’t present.