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“Raw milk Moms” are targets of NJ enforcement action against food clubs

“Raw milk Moms” in New Jersey were targeted last month with “cease and desist” orders from the state’s Public Health and Food Protection Program. The targeted individuals and the broader raw milk community are resisting the enforcement action.

New Jersey gave at least eight families five days to stop selling and distributing raw milk in the state. Raw milk advocate David Gumpert, writing on his popular Complete Patient blog on Dec. 29, quoted three Raw milk Moms” who are resisting the orders.

One said they were “false accusations” and another said her family isn’t doing anything illegal, and a third said she was “choosing to ignore” New Jersey’s order.

Since the enforcement action, Gumpert also reported that New Jersey foo clubs have taken down organizational information on public websites. State officials likely used that information to target the Moms.

Raw milk makes its way into New Jersey from Pennsylvania. “Food clubs” set up “drop sites” in private homes to distribute the product. Several of those “drop sites” did shut down after the enforcement actions began.

New Jersey is one of seven states to prohibit the sale of raw milk in any form. Delaware, Hawaii, Iowa, Louisiana, Nevada, and Rhode Island are the others. But New Jersey’s shares its entire western border with Pennslyvania, where raw milk sales are wide open.

The cross-border raw milk trafficking gained a boost from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2011 when the agency said transporting the product across state lines was permissible if it was for “personal consumption.”

The orders to the “Raw milk Moms” followed New Jersey’s “cease and desist” order for Udder Milk for “illegal sales of unpasteurized, raw milk” following confirmation in November that a woman who drank it was infected with antibiotic-resistant brucellosis.
“It is illegal in New Jersey to sell or distribute raw milk or products made from raw milk, such as yogurt, soft cheese, and ice cream,” State Epidemiologist Dr. Tina Tan said when taking action against Udder Milk.

Federal law prohibits the commercial sale of non-pasteurised dairy products across state lines. Most states ban the sale of unpasteurized, raw milk and products made from it because of the associated danger of contamination with bacteria, viruses, and parasites. New Jersey’s health department is working with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to find out where Udder Milk is getting the raw milk it is selling.

The Udder Milk website shows delivery locations in several states, including Connecticut, New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island. The company has been selling raw milk since 2005.

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