[permaculture] Fwd: FDA Steps up Enforcement Against Raw Milk

david david at sustainablehabitats.org
Tue Apr 27 00:25:45 EDT 2010

We all know the benefits of raw milk. Why is it that the FDA is treating 
small farmers as criminals? Please join us in fighting for consumers 
rights and to put a stop to actions like this. Join the Farm to Consumer 
Legal Defense Fund, get the facts and take action in supporting fellow 
small farmers.
David Kahn
323 454 EGGS (3447)

* In This Issue *
The Interstate Ban <#LETTER.BLOCK7>
FDA's Strategy <#LETTER.BLOCK10>
Raw Milk & Your Freedom of Food Choice <#LETTER.BLOCK12>
Take Action <#LETTER.BLOCK13>
Mr. Sheehan's Contact Information <#LETTER.BLOCK14>

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*Dear Friend,*
                                             April 26, 2010

*On April 20, two FDA agents, two federal marshals and one state trooper 
descended on the Kinzer, Pennsylvania farm (Rainbow Acres) of Dan 
Allgyer to execute an administrative search warrant against Allgyer's 
premises.  The group set foot on the farm at 5 a.m. to conduct the 
inspection even though the warrant called for the inspection to take 
place "at reasonable times during reasonable business hours."  The 
warrant allowed the FDA agents to inspect "all portions of Rainbow Acres 
facility (except for the private residence located therein) and all 
things therein, including all equipment, finished and unfinished 
materials, containers and labeling therein."  The warrant also called 
for the "use of reasonable force" to gain entry to any area the agents 
were authorized to search.

Later that day after the agents reported their findings to officials at 
FDA's Philadelphia district office, Philadelphia District Director Kirk 
Sooter sent Allgyer a warning letter stating that FDA had determined 
that "you are causing to be delivered into interstate commerce, selling 
or otherwise distributing raw milk in final package form for human 
consumption, such distribution is a violation of the Public Health 
Service (PHS) Act, Title 42 United States Code, Section 264(a), and the 
implementing regulation codified in Title 21, Code of Federal 
Regulations (CFR), Section 1240.61(a)."

*The regulation [21 CFR 1240.61(a)] issued by FDA in response to a 1988 
court order provides, in part, that "no person shall cause to be 
delivered into interstate commerce or shall sell, otherwise distribute, 
or hold for sale or other distribution after shipment in interstate 
commerce any milk or milk product in final package form for direct human 
consumption unless the product has been pasteurized."

The statute [42 USC 264(a)] authorizing FDA to issue the regulation 
prohibiting raw milk for human consumption in interstate commerce 
provides, in part, "The Surgeon General, with the approval of the 
Secretary, is authorized to make and enforce such regulations as in his 
judgment are necessary to prevent the introduction, transmission, or 
spread of communicable diseases...from one state or possession into any 
other state or possession."  In FDA's view all raw milk is a 
communicable disease and is "adulterated"; so, a product that is legal 
to sell under the laws of two neighboring states is a "communicable 
disease" and illegal when it crosses from one neighboring state into 
another.  The federal ban on raw milk is a prohibition on a product that 
is legal to sell or distribute in at least twenty-nine (29) states and 
legal to consume in all fifty (50).

*In spite of the booming demand for raw milk, FDA's position has not 
changed.  The agency is at the center of the opposition to raw milk and 
wants a complete ban on the product's sale and distribution.  In the 
Chicago area, the FDA has targeted for enforcement (one at a time) 
twenty (20) different buying clubs the agency suspects of having 
obtained raw milk from out-of-state sources.  FDA has a similar strategy 
for the states, with the plan being to pressure one state at a time to 
ban raw milk sales.
If the food safety legislation currently before Congress passes, FDA 
will have increased leverage over the states so this threat will be 
greater; the agency does not have the manpower to conduct the 
inspections mandated by the food safety bill(s) and will in effect be 
putting state agriculture and health department employees on the federal 
payroll to carry out its workload.
In taking action against farms, like Rainbow Acres, whom FDA suspects of 
transporting raw milk across state lines, the agency is attempting to 
deny the people's right to obtain the food of their choice from the 
source of their choice.
FDA allows Vioxx, Avandia, melamine, aspartame, and genetically modified 
foods on the market but is now trying to take off the market a food that 
has benefited human health for thousands of years.  Interestingly, there 
is nothing in the U.S. Constitution nor in any Supreme Court decision 
that specifically mentions freedom of food choice.  Freedom of food 
choice is 'the rights issue' of the twenty-first century; ultimately, 
consumers will be the ones to win the fight.

Raw milk is at the heart of the battle for food freedom.  The key to 
securing the right to obtain raw milk from the source of choice is to 
overturn the federal ban; without the ban, FDA will not be able to put 
the pressure on states that it currently does to make raw milk sales and 
distribution illegal.
Efforts are being made to overturn the ban.  In February of this year, 
the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund filed a lawsuit in federal 
district court seeking a court ruling that the federal ban is 
unconstitutional as applied to its members and other individual plaintiffs.
Congressman Ron Paul last year introduced HR 778, a bill that would 
effectively overturn 21 CFR 1240.61.
Readers can do their part to help by contacting FDA and asking that the 
agency not harass farmers like Dan Allgyer whom the agency suspects of 
transporting raw milk across state lines.  John F. Sheehan, the Director 
of FDA's Division of Plant and Dairy Food, is the official most 
responsible for carrying out FDA's agenda of completely banning the sale 
and distribution of raw milk.  Sheehan has stated:  "Raw milk should not 
be consumed by anyone, at any time, for any reason."

*Call, fax and/or write Mr. Sheehan at the contact information provided 
below, telling him to leave Dan Allgyer alone.  Here are some points to 
      1.  FDA should respect the right of consumers to obtain the food 
of their choice.
      2.  FDA has no business trying to deny consumers the right to 
drink raw milk since consumption of raw milk is legal in all fifty states.
      3.  Consumers are perfectly capable of making food choices for 
themselves and their families and don't want FDA dictating what foods 
they should and should not consume.
      4.  If FDA has no choice but to "enforce the law" then the agency 
should advocate for overturning that law.
A sample letter to Mr. Sheehan can be found at
*Click Here for Sample Letter* 

NOTE:  FDA has never taken action against any individual obtaining raw 
milk for their own consumption from another State; but it is possible 
that FDA could interpret the ban to include prohibiting even consumers 
from crossing state lines to get raw milk.  FTCLDF strongly disagrees 
with this interpretation and takes the position that people have the 
right to cross state lines to obtain the foods of their choice.

John F. Sheehan, Director
Div. of Plant and Dairy Food
Office of Food Safety
Bldg. CPK-1, Rm. 3D-055
5100 Paint Branch
College Park, MD  20740
Main phone for Office of Food Safety
(If the receptionist refuses to put you through to Mr. Sheehan, 
respectfully leave a message.)
Fax 1-301-436-1700
eMail: john.sheehan at fda.hhs.gov <mailto:john.sheehan at fda.hhs.gov>

Pete Kennedy, Esq. - President
Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund

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