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.

  • Tyler Colford

    Pasteurizing allows the farmers to over milk the cows, sometimes resulting in bleeding of the utters but that’s an easy fix just bleach and boil the milk which doesn’t just kill the bad bacteria but also kills of good bacteria. Just allow people to eat and drink what they want. On netflix there’s a documentary that is about commercial farming vs. localized farming. The commercial farms are crowded dirty and inhumane. They keep the chicken huts dark to keep the chickens sleep more and not move around as much, by the time the chickens are ready they are unable to take more then a few steps because they are so fat and their legs can’t support their body’s. Yet the regulations are pushing out local farmers. Without credible reasons to support their regulations they just push them through. The FDA wants people sick because most of the people who make the regulations come from and return to the pharmaceutical business. They need sick people to make money, instead of just making the money in pharmaceuticals. That make money off you from food that makes you sick (baby formula that has so much sugar that it has increased diabetes greatly) vaccines that make you sick, and medicine that gives you more complications. Just let the real free market work instead of this crony capitalism.

  • Ted

    “We oppose any laws regarding the production, distribution or consumption of food”
    Talk about your broad sweeping statements. Would this mean all food related laws, regulations and ordinances would be repealed for the entirety of our vast food system or is this intended only to exempt the lunatic fringe from behaving responsibly? Would we then be relying upon tort law to keep our families safe and sound from food-borne illness?
    If one didn’t know better, one might suspect the Pauls are liability attorneys instead of doctors. Certainly they are not knowledgeable about how 300 million Americans get fed 3 times a day, 365 days a year. Will they also be mandating the distribution of tinfoil hats to protect us from conspiratorial cosmic rays? Have they been wearing their own tinfoil hats faithfully or have they occasionally gone bare-headed long enough to be reprogrammed?

  • To repeat myself, (she says, pointedly), the libertarian mindset and food safety don’t mix.

  • JD

    Actually, libertarianism and food safety are easily compatible; nobody has the right to expose someone else to a risk of injury without that person’s consent. They can only consent if they are informed of the risk. Put a warning on it acknowledging the risks, and let people buy it if they want to.
    Ted, can you believe our civilization survived to produce the current generation without the FDA keeping us “safe” all that time?

  • Ted

    Sure JD, a life expectancy of 35 years is long enough to reproduce the species. Has there been anything positive about adding 40 years to that since the founding of the USA? Anything positive at all?

  • Jackie Schmidts

    Putting warning labels on foods that are potentially dangerous such as raw milk doesn’t work for kids whose parents are unwilling to recognize the dangers.
    Ron Paul needs to retire gracefully. This is an issue that he is on the wrong side of the fence. People become very sick from contaminated raw milk. And other raw foods. Some know better, some don’t.
    The overall macro point here is that there is no need to drink raw milk. Pasteurization and ultra-pasteurization all but guarantees a very safe product for mass consumption.
    And contrary to what that whakadoodle Tyler above says, farms that send their milk to plants that pasteurize it are not the dirty, run down farms. In fact it is just the opposition, the more organic, back to nature type farms are the dirtiest and don’t make use of any recent technology that helps keep their products fresher and safe.

  • JD that’s not food safety, that’s a legal escape clause.

  • Jackie, there is no correlation between organic milk and milk that is raw.
    Raw milk may not be organic. Organic milk certification has requirements that aren’t necessarily followed by raw milk producers.
    There are any number of organic milk producers that pasteurize their milk. And there is pasteurized milk from very rundown, crowded, CAFOs, where the cows are shot full of antibiotics.
    We need to stop commingling all these concepts and terms.

  • Dog Doctor

    If you want to see where this will lead just read Sinclair’s book “The Jungle”. We tried not regulating the food industry at the turn of the last century which gave Mr. Sinclair, the rich source material. Do we need to repeat it?

  • Chuck

    Tyler needs to stop believing everything he reads or sees on the internet. He’s definitely sitting way out there on the lunatic fringe. As a food scientist capable of making well-thought out comments, Ron Paul is a politician.
    JD, history shows that each generation has a longer life expectancy than the previous generation and more people are living longer lives. Can you believe that happened without the work done by food scientists, epidemiologists, the FDA and the USDA?

  • Dan the Grocery Man

    Actually most organic milk producers have their milk ultra-pasteurized to kill the heavy load of dung and dirt contamination. And they tend to package in smaller packages (quarts and 1/2 gallon instead of gallons) to speed up turnover in the home. That is the only way they can achieve an acceptable shelf life on organic milk in the store and in the home refrigerator.
    Thank goodness there is an abundant supply of excellent quality pasteurized Grade A milk from the most technologically progressive modern milk producers anywhere in the world. Without them kids would have to pour Coke over their breakfast cereal every morning.

  • Dan, you are incorrect about the reasons why most organic milk producers use ultra-pasteurization.
    Organic milk does not have the demand that conventional milk does, because it’s more expensive. Of course–the cows are raised on grass for at least four months of the year, not grain all the time, and are raised in pastures during growing season, not crammed into confined areas all their lives.
    The cows can’t be fed GMO corn products, either, or be given antibiotics or hormones.
    Because of the higher cost, organic milk doesn’t leave the shelves as quickly. Ultra-pasteurization increases the shelf life of the product.

  • Jorge

    So, in short, the majority of the commenters here agree that if somebody wants to buy raw milk and another person wants to sell raw milk, that this transaction between 2 perfectly willing individuals should be prohibited by our government.