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