The order of a federal judge has finally shut down Rainbow Acres Farm, the raw milk dairy located near Washington D.C. in Pennsylvania’s Amish County.

It ends a nasty confrontation between Dan and Rachel Allgyer, Amish dairy farmers with operations based in Pennsylvania where commercial sales of raw milk are legal, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which caught Rainbow making deliveries inside Maryland and the District of Columbia.

A spokesman for FDA praised the judge’s action, pointing to past warnings ignored by Rainbow Acres to cease interstate sales of raw milk.  

FDA’s investigation began in 2009 when one of its Baltimore-based agents joined a club, via the Internet, that promised delivery of Rainbow Acres raw milk to a Maryland home.

While some states allow raw milk sales, federal law prohibits it from interstate commerce.   FDA’s controversial investigation of Rainbow Acres included an undercover string operation and a pre-dawn raid.

Since the controversy began, the Amish dairy farmer picked up many supporters in a campaign with national implications. The most prominent was Texas Congressman Ron Paul, the raw milk drinker who happens to be a candidate for the Republican Party nomination for President.

Before FDA’s case against Allgyers played out, Paul proposed a bill to make interstate sales of raw milk legal. Paul never said he was getting raw milk from the Amish dairy, but during the course of the dispute it came out that a Washington D.C.-based Grassfed On the Hill Buying Club was being supplied by Rainbow Acres.

Deliveries to about 500 club members meant crossing the state and district lines that make up the Washington D.C. metropolitan area.  

The buying group’s statement confirmed that Rainbow Acres is closing down in reaction to the order by federal Judge Lawrence F. Stengel of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, based in Philadelphia.

“Dan and Rachel Allgyer have determined that they will discontinue service to our group and close down the farm,” the buyer’s club said in a statement.  “Dan has served many of us for more than six years and he is very saddened to have to make this decision but the stress and strain that his family has been under for the past few years due to the case and no the decision leaves them with no choice.”

The twin violations of mislabeling the milk and use of interstate commerce to make sales were enough for Judge Stengel to sign the permanent injunction against the Lancaster-based dairy.  

Stengel, a former Lancaster Catholic High School teacher who was appointed  to the federal court in 2004 by President George W. Bush, warned the Allgyers that if they resumed operations, the next time the court would impose fines equalling the FDA’s investigative costs.

After that, Rainbow Acres told customers it was out of business. Its supporters continue to point out its raw milk was never found to be contaminated. The same multistate area, however, is currently experiencing a Campylobacter outbreak associated with another Pennsylvania raw milk dairy farm.

  • Mary

    It is so sad that our government is spending our tax dollars to investigate small farmers who are sticking their livelihood on the line to get unpasteurized milk into the hands of customers who are willfully seeking it. Gov’t get out of my kitchen and don’t interfere with me purchasing food. I can eat McDonalds everyday if I want, but if I want healthy milk from a grass-fed cow that isn’t diseased like confinement animals, it’s wrong. Can we say asanine, corruption!

  • Kevin

    Our gov’t is out of control. People should be able to drink raw milk if they choose and sell it across state lines. The FDA is a tool of the Factory Farm Dairies who don’t want competition from small farms selling nutritious raw milk from happy healthy grass fed cows. This just like everything else is all about the money!

  • This is DISGUSTING. Zero harm being done by Amish farmers and intelligent consumers of Real Food. The interstate commerce “excuse” used by our government was NEVER intended to inhibit such normal human behavior like this. Every American citizen should be embarrassed by the actions of our hired government officials…who clearly are working against the common man, and as shills for corporate mechanism with overtly evil intent.
    Sad day for America – the rest of the world is looking down at us, wondering “What the heck are they doing? Attacking farmers while subsidizing Monsanto?”

  • Alex

    Amazing! The government has the time and manpower to conduct an undercover operation and raid on this small farmer who’s just trying to make a living, but they turn a blind eye on these damn factory farmers and slaughterhouses that are the major source of E. Coli and other pathogens! Their excuse is that they don’t have the manpower to check these slaughterhouses and factory farms, but they sure as hell can check these small farmers! Bunch of lying hypocrites who just get paid by the lobbyists who are in bed with these factory farmers and slaughterhouses.

  • Andrey

    I was looking for raw milk near Washington D.C after reading this article and watching the videos of animal cruelty:
    Not drinking the store milk anymore! Want to support local farmers. Tired of this… We have to do something!

  • Ricky

    I’snt it a shame when these intellegent big boys that know everything and don’t produce anything go after someone thats doing what he has done all of his life and then use Tax payers money to intimidate them out of business. Why can’t the farmer produce the milk and those that want it come to Pennsylvania and get it. Then he is not transporting it out of state and the FDA can go find something else to do. Another agency that needs something for its employees to do.
    Shame on you too Judge.