Even though their two raw milk bills have gone nowhere, a bipartisan “food freedom caucus” in Congress has decided to expand its federal agenda. In a campaign helped by Virginia farmer and author Joel Salatin, the group has added House Resolution (HR) 3187, the Processing Revival and Interstate Meat Exemption (PRIME) Act, to allow states to permit the intrastate distribution of custom-slaughtered beef, pork, or lamb to individual consumers and restaurants and retail outlets directly serving the public. Since about 1967, most customers can only legally obtain USDA-inspected meat from facilities under the watch of the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS). Saladin, who wrote the Preamble for a PRIME Act Alert from the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund, said the proposed law “emancipates meat from the stranglehold of paranoid consumer advocacy groups, tyrannical bureaucrats, and corporate protectionism.” He says big business, fearful, ignorant consumers, and government agencies will all align against this freedom, but he predicted the bill might gain traction because it is “simply turning the clock back” to 1967. One possible advantage for the PRIME Act is that the bill, introduced during the last week of July, was referred to the House Agriculture Committee. Two recently introduced raw milk bills were referred to the Health Subcommittee of the powerful House Commerce and Energy Committee, and those measures have failed to gain either traction or a hearing. Both would have prevented the federal government from interfering with raw milk (milk without pasteurization) being sold to the public. Like the two raw milk bills, the PRIME Act is sponsored by Kentucky Republican Thomas Massie and Maine Democrat Chellie Pingree. They’ve been joined by a bipartisan mix, which includes U.S. Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO). Last Friday, Polis and Massie invited media representatives to join them at a Denver restaurant, where raw milk and steaks not inspected by USDA were on the menu.
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