State Rep. Dan Flynn has asked Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton if an apparent crackdown on raw milk couriers by the Texas Department of State Health Services and city health departments is legal. Rep. Flynn, R-Van, has for the past decade been one of raw milk’s biggest advocates in the Texas Legislature. Raw milk may be sold only on the farm in Texas. Flynn has not moved his raw milk agenda, but he has worked his way up to chair the powerful House Committee – Pensions. tankeawmilk_406x250National and state raw milk advocates are crying foul about recent enforcement actions that they say point to a crackdown based on agency bias, not law. The national group, Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund, says in 2013 a Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) manager responded in writing about raw milk couriers and said they were good to go. “It is not a violation of state regulations for a dairy customer to purchase raw milk from a farmer at the farm for themselves and for others as you indicate you are doing for your COOP (sic) … It also is not a violation of state regulations for you to deliver that milk to other COOP members or to have them pick it up for you,” the manager wrote. The email went on to say the only individual precluded from making the delivery is the farmer making the sale. Now there are reports that policy may have changed. The Texas-based Farm & Ranch Freedom Alliance says a courier and her children were detained by Austin Health Department and Texas DSHS personnel on May 26, with support by two city policemen, while making a delivery to a private residence. The health officials said the residents could not take delivery of the raw milk. Flynn says in addition to the Austin incident, there was another in Houston, where “local health departments seemingly acting pursuant to direction from DSHS officials, intervened in the delivery of raw milk to customers who had already legally purchased the product. Both times, the health departments brought along the police, even though the customers were buying a legal food product. Raw milk is only allowed to be sold on the farm, and the customers had hired an independent agent to act as their courier and deliver their food for health, safety and reasons of convenience.” “Not one illness has been reported, no pathogens have been found in this farmer’s milk, and there is absolutely no health basis for this action,” the state representative said. “This is harassment of the farmer, the couriers, and the customers. Use of state funds for travel or the expenditure of salaried hours for purposes of harassing citizens conducting legal activities is, I believe, either misuse of office and/or improper expenditure of state funds. State agencies cannot legislate what they don’t like in the law.” While Flynn is seeking an opinion from the Attorney General, the Farm & Ranch Freedom Alliance is asking its members to write city council members and state legislators. “The Texas Legislature needs to put a stop to this,” the Freedom Alliance said in a news release. The group says raw milk deliveries by farmers “would simplify the whole situation” and sales should be permitted at farmers markets. Editor’s note: State Rep. Dan Flynn is not related to Food Safety News Editor Dan Flynn. (To sign up for a free subscription to Food Safety News, click here.)