Why Are Farmers Dragging Behind Consumers in Push for “Legal” Interstate Raw Milk?

Joel Salatin

In the national struggle to legalize marijuana in more states, surprise opposition has come from a group you’d think would welcome the shift: illegal pot growers. Alas, many of these growers worry that legalizing pot will encourage more growers, leading to more supply and…..lower prices for them.

Many pot farmers actually opposed legalization in their states.

I suspect that is part of what we are seeing in the deafening farmer silence that has accompanied the filing of a citizen petition with the FDA to legalize interstate raw milk sales. While consumers have contributed more than $30,000 to a crowdfunding campaign to support the petition, dairy farmers who produce milk that is sent around the country in potential violation of the existing prohibition of interstate raw milk sales have been notably absent from the campaign.

I first posted last spring about the filing by a prominent Washington, DC, law firm of a citizen petition with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration proposing the legalization of interstate raw milk sales. As part of the ending of the prohibition on interstate sales, all raw milk sold across state lines would carry a warning label informing consumers about the home pasteurization option. The blog posting stimulated considerable debate about the merits of the proposed warning label.

Liz Reitzig, the founder of the Real Food Consumer Coalition, reminds us in a new Facebook video (her third in a series; look under “Videos” on the Facebook page) about the history of raw milk, that the citizen petition is due to be decided on by the FDA before the end of next month, based on the official six-month window the agency has to rule on such filings. (Of course, the FDA could announce a delay in its decision.)

One explicit indication of farmer unhappiness with the citizen petition has come from Joel Salatin, the Virginia celebrity farmer known for his support of raw milk and other food rights issues (though he doesn’t offer raw milk to customers of his highly popular direct-to-consumer farm operation). In an article published late last spring for a Virginia food rights organization, he said he thought the RFCC-inspired citizen petition suggested raw milk is inherently unsafe, and he thought it sanctioned home pasteurization of raw milk as the best approach for consumers.

He argued that “this completely yields all the ground raw milk advocates have tried to gain by showing that raw milk is inherently SAFE if it’s produced well. To cave in on such a foundational point is a travesty. I can think of lots of other ways to prevent food borne illness, like not confining the cows in a factory, letting them graze on pasture instead of grains and artificial feedstuffs, keeping their immune systems high rather than using antibiotics. This list could go on, but you get the picture.”

Salatin concluded: “Because the petitioners really want choice but play clever-speak word-games to arrive there, the whole campaign is fraught with non-sequitors and themes that must make the ‘pasteurize only’ crowd feel like they’ve won the battle. This label utterly and completely condemns raw milk consumption and puts advocates on a low road dancing with the FDA instead of the high road, dancing with liberty.”

I’ve been unable to extract opinions about the citizen petition from a number of dairy farmers who actually serve consumers coming from neighboring states or in private food clubs with raw milk across state lines. Many of these are Amish and Mennonite farmers, who generally try hard to avoid government involvement of any kind. When they get into legal trouble, their inclination is to seek advice from so-called “sovereign man” legal advisers rather than real lawyers.

In the matter of the citizen petition, several such farmers have indicated privately they’d rather lie low than actively support lobbying and other efforts to help move it through either the FDA or through the process of gaining legislative approval. Like many pot growers, the raw milk producers seem more inclined to stick with a financial model they know well and have learned to work with than to encourage a new, and possibly less profitable, approach.

While the FDA hasn’t given any hint of its position, it almost certainly would also rather not upend the status quo on raw milk. In that respect, I think Salatin’s argument that the citizen petition gives in to processed milk arguments is naive. The anti-raw-milk crowd cares not a whit about even engaging in an intellectual or policy argument. They simply want raw milk to disappear from the scene, period, end of sentence. In a real world sense, they want to keep control of the dairy marketplace as best they can. Like anti-pot interests, the anti-raw-milk types will continue to work against legal availability until forced by the politicians to do otherwise. Bottom line: If consumers want wider access to raw milk, they’re going to have to fight for it, even if it means fighting their own farmers.

30 comments to Why Are Farmers Dragging Behind Consumers in Push for “Legal” Interstate Raw Milk?

  • Ora Moose Ora Moose

    David,

    It’s much easier and feasible to grow your own pot than to have a cow or two, just saying. They both require dirt and water but I prefer raw milk regardless.

  • Ken Conrad Ken Conrad

    David, You state, “The anti-raw-milk crowd cares not a whit about even engaging in an intellectual or policy argument”… Indeed, but when push comes to shove is it not the intellectual argument that they use to justify their policy? I tend to agree with Salatin. ? It seems to me, based on Mark’s experience with the FDA that they will likely ignore the petition and delay their response.

  • D. Smith D. Smith

    If raw milk containers have to carry a “how to perform home pasteurization” label, then pasteurized milk should have to carry a sticker which states that raw milk is much healthier for the human body than their dead, sterilized milk and that people should seek out raw milk farmers since pasteurized milk cannot be turned back into a “real, living food”.

    What’s good for the goose is good for the gander. Equality rules!

  • JHeckman

    Once raw milk becomes available from local farms in all 50 states, the interstate ban becomes almost meaningless. 7 states (New Jersey included) need to change.

    • Vera

      Dr. Heckman, regarding those 7 states, recent bills in each of these failed, in each case because of the food safety lobbyists. The food safety arguments they make must be addressed, not ignored or dismissed.

      For example, is raw milk for direct consumption produced differently from raw milk for pasteurization? In some states, it isn’t, because conventional dairy farmers sell it to the public and farmers with this dairying background who only know those methods go into the raw milk business.

      Example: One farmer who boasted of 20 years dairying experience caused an outbreak after she started selling raw milk. In discussion about the outbreak, she didn’t know what a coliform was. She should not have been selling raw milk.

      Let’s look at published pathogen data for milk intended for pasteurization:

      – Van Kessel et al. (2004) – tested milk samples from 861 farm bulk tanks in 21 states – E.coli was found in 95% (unstated what percent had the pathogenic form) of bulk tank samples.

      – Jayarao et al. (2001) – tested milk samples from 131 farm bulk tanks in South Dakota and Minnesota – 26.7% of bulk tank samples contained pathogens.

      – Rohrbach et al. (1992) – tested milk samples from 292 farm bulk tanks in Tennessee and Virginia – 25% of bulk tank samples contained pathogens.

      Older studies, yes, but this is still accepted as gospel.

      So, instead of pasteurization instructions, when everyone knows that the milk is going to be consumed raw anyway, how about proposing a program of training, testing, inspection, and bacteria testing standards? Legislation to legalize might get passed sooner, if approaches like this to address the food safety issue were taken.

      BTW, similarly the Minnesota study (Robinson et al. 2013) which is quoted by policy wonks continent-wide as being evidence that raw milk should not be legalized, can be addressed with the argument that this state has no testing standards for raw milk. Conclusions from MN cannot be generalized to other states such as CA, WA, and NY which have licensing and testing standards.

      • JHeckman

        Carefully produced fresh unprocessed milk is a different product from raw bulk tank commodity milk.

        I coauthored two books of interest:
        Baars, T., P. Beals, T. Beals, R. Brown, M. Cattell, J. Heckman, A. Nelson, G. Snyder, S. Wilson, T. Wightman. Producing Fresh Milk, Goat Edition. 2017. Farm-to-Consumer Foundation. Cincinnati, Ohio.
        Baars, T., P. Beals, T. Beals, R. Brown, M. Cattell, J. Heckman, A. Nelson, G. Snyder, S. Wilson, T. Wightman. Producing Fresh Milk, Cow Edition. 2015. Farm-to-Consumer Foundation. Cincinnati, Ohio.
        Available from: https://www.springhouse-press.com/

        • Vera

          Yes, Dr. Heckman, but not everyone follows best practices. And remember that in some states such as OK and WI, raw milk is only legally available via “incidental sales” from conventional farm bulk tanks. The law considers all raw milk to be the same product.

          I agree with your statement that “Carefully produced fresh unprocessed milk is a different product from raw bulk tank commodity milk”. But I go one step further: This should be codified as a national requirement for raw milk production, similar to national standards for raw milk production in the U.K., France, and Germany. Not this misleading warning label advising pasteurization – I believe that this is the wrong way to go about it.

    • John Dutcher

      Really Dr. Hechman? There are only seven states left that have not addressed raw milk in one form or another?? This is, imho, very good news!! and what you say Dr. Heckman interstate ban will be mute is soo very true then :>)

  • Ken Conrad Ken Conrad

    “Why Are Farmers Dragging Behind Consumers in Push for “Legal” Interstate Raw Milk?”

    David, I don’t believe that “lower prices” is the primary motivation if at all a factor…

    The “home pasteurization option” in the citizen petition is indeed an admission that raw milk is essentially unsafe and therefore represents one of the key reasons why, “dairy farmers who produce milk that is sent around the country in potential violation of the existing prohibition of interstate raw milk sales have been notably absent from the campaign”.

    If “health officials” deem an individual to have become sick from consuming raw milk or a raw milk product and in turn that individual seeks compensation with the help from the Bill Marker’s of the world, then it is understandable why farmers are not participating. As a farmer, and considering the current pro regulatory and excessive, pro litigation environment, I would be somewhat leery of participating with the above citizen petition and extremely leery of selling raw milk to a consumer who believes in the back of their mind that raw milk is inherently unsafe… in other words, endorses pasteurization.

    When the shit hits the fan it’s the farmer that inevitably has the most to loose, not the consumer.

  • Jack Moore

    Having a warning label in “government-ese” is a small price to pay for improving access to raw milk. Here’s why:

    1. Raw milk advocates already know about the benefits of unpasteurized milk.

    2. Surely, conventional dairies would try to export its pathogenic product by putting a red barn and green grass on the container. The warning label might thus be a worthwhile reminder to only drink raw milk from dairies known personally to the consumer. I only drink raw milk, if I knew the farmer or st least was given the raw milk by someone who does.

    3. Donald Trump has taught us about the value of throwing red meat to the base. The label is just red meat to the food safety fanatics. A small price to pay for better access!

    • Vera

      Jack, I suggest taking a look across the Atlantic to how European nations are permitting national distribution of raw milk – via implementing national production standards.

      Is this too much to ask, that U.S. consumers support a similar program (of training in “best practices,” bacterial testing standards, government inspections, and written on-farm food safety plans) which will decrease the number of outbreaks which still are happening on a regular basis?

      For more information on the U.K. system, as an example, see https://www.food.gov.uk/business-industry/farmingfood/dairy-guidance/rawmilkcream .

  • Debbie Stockton

    Thank you David, for posting the link to Joel’s article, that I encourage your readers to read in full.

    In addition to the points David quoted, Joel says, “The label gives NO quarter to safely consume raw milk. With such an aggressive and one-sided mandate, I would not be surprised if parents who fail to pasteurize would find themselves facing child endangerment charges, like parents who give their children cigarettes or let them walk alone through the park. Among most raw milk circles, defending
    the raw milk option on its own merits is sacrosanct; to give all this up and admit that it’s inherently unsafe does not ensure choice.

    Furthermore, this approach changes the debate from the merits of raw milk versus the merits of pasteurized milk to the merits of home pasteurization versus industrial pasteurization. Indeed, toward the end the multi-page petition argues this point, stating that home pasteurization is more effective because it’s closer to the point of consumption. That may be true, but do raw milk advocates really want the food choice debate to ultimately rest on home versus industrial pasteurization?

    Because the petitioners really want choice but play clever-speak word-games to arrive there, the whole campaign is fraught with non-sequitors and themes that must make the “pasteurize only” crowd feel like they’ve won the battle. This label utterly and completely condemns raw milk consumption and puts advocates on a low road dancing with the FDA instead of the high road, dancing with liberty. That’s the way I see it”.

    Thank you, Joel, well said.

    There is a practical regulatory danger as well, because this petition asks for the regulation of raw milk, via the “agreement” to post warning labels saying how dangerous it is. This puts it in the FDA “system” more than the current ban, and regulations increase, they, generally, do not decrease. Trump’s EOs calling for regulatory decrease might or might not have any real life effect, but putting raw milk in the FDA system does.

    There is a radical difference between removing a regulation, or statute, and modifying one. One takes it out of the system, the other does not.

    More and more people know the benefits of fresh milk. This is becoming an irresistible force that will not be overcome. We do not need a Faustian bargain to satisfy the allure of “easier access.”

    • David Gumpert David Gumpert

      Debbie, not sure you have read the citizen petition. It seeks an end to the existing federal ban on the interstate sale and shipment of raw milk. It proposes instead that farmers shipping/selling raw milk interstate carry a label advising buyers that raw milk can cause illness, and that if you want to reduce your risk, you should pasteurize the milk at home. The actual decision on what to do is up to the consumer. You should read the text of the label before making false and misleading statements (“This puts it in the FDA ‘system’ more than the current ban, and regulations increase…”) How in heck do “regulations increase” when a total ban is lifted and a label with no legal requirements is substituted?

      • Debbie Stockton

        David, thank you for your reply and for making my point. You said, “How in heck do “regulations increase” when a total ban is lifted and a label with no legal requirements is substituted?” The operative word is SUBSTITUTED. Fresh milk then is not only in the system, it is regulated under parameters that AGREE with the FDA that fresh milk is intrinsically harmful. This lie undermines everything fresh milk advocates have worked for. Right now, there is a ban. The fix is to remove the ban.

        Fresh milk is intrinsically healthful. If it were intrinsically harmful, mammals would not exist. And, of course, dairy consuming cultures would have died out long, long ago.

        This is why the “scientific debate” is not a scientific debate. If the premise is unsound the debate is unsound. This “debate” promotes a political football about how much political power can be wrested. The state’s war on fresh milk is not and never has been about safety, regardless of its attempts to control the language of the “debate”. Milk is an enormous economic engine. And political determination of what people eat is, ultimately, about money as well.

        Yes, I read the petition (note the references to Trump’s Executive Orders).

        My mother grew up drinking fresh milk. Her family did not live on a farm, they lived in a small town on a quiet street where the family cow grazed in the grassy lane behind the houses. My Grandfather sold fresh milk to the neighbors for 9 cents a quart. At one point he and Grandmother agonized over, and finally decided on, an increase to 10 cents a quart because it was significant household income during the Depression years. In that non-farm setting, fresh milk nourished the family and community and generated revenue for the household. And, by extension, revenue for the rest of the community. The money my grandfather earned from milk he spent into the community. Thank you, Cow.

        • Gordon S Watson

          excellent points, Debbie Stockton. Nowhere is your theme better demonstrated than in Canada ; raw milk for human consumption is outlawed here, to suit a long-term political agenda … NOT because of real risks of harm to the public health.

          As I’ve laid-out before on this forum ; the Fabian Society peddled its “Progressive Economic Plan” in the late 1920s. It was installed by Franklin D Roseveldt as the National Recovery Act, later ruled Un-constitutional by the Supreme Court of the US of A. The PEP was the Fabian Society’s UN-appolgetic attempt to impose social-ism, towards a one-world government. In it, the main engines of the economy are to be run by a central govt. bureaucracy, rather than free enterprise. As wicked as they are, the Fabians are not stupid ; they know that ‘milk production is an enormous economic engine’. to this day their symbol is a wolf in sheeps’ clothing. Some so-called “conspiracy theories” have a lot of hard evidence to substantiate them

          so the problem of the Christian, is : how to = be in the world but not of it. Whole fresh pure REAL MILK is so important that I’m willing to compromise with the Tyrant (administration) in order to get it to my people. So white children can have the perfect teeth and strong bones which are our birthright.

  • Vera

    ” The anti-raw-milk crowd cares not a whit about even engaging in an intellectual or policy argument. ”

    You are mistaken here. They are perfectly clear on stating their position – take a look at the CDC’s pages on raw milk, including the latest article published this year by Costard-et-al.: “Outbreak-related disease burden associated with consumption of unpasteurized cow’s milk and cheese, United States, 2009–2014” – go here to read it – https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/23/6/15-1603_article .

    But what they do not see is us engaging them in debate about these issues. Instead, raw milk advocates tend to argue that the outbreaks don’t exist. We argue that raw milk can’t cause outbreaks because “the good bacteria will kill off all the bad.” We argue that the outbreaks are nothing but persecution by malicious government agents who are inventing lies. We argue that other foods are a greater risk.

    But what we don’t do is engage the food safety science community in dialogue about how outbreaks can be prevented and explaining how to do this.

    Instead, we’re talking at cross-purposes. Plus we don’t engage them in the places where they communicate, such as the food safety conferences, government offices, and academic journals where they dialogue on the issue of raw milk.

    That’s maybe it seems to us that they don’t listen. But they do, an example one anti-raw milk government official, an Executive Director of Health Protection who was asked: “Under what conditions will you support raw milk legalization?” His response was that there to be bacterial standards, mandatory training in food safety, and on-farm food safety plans. Plus proof that legalization would not lead to increased outbreak rates, because the published scientific consensus (e.g. Mungai-et-al., 2015) is that legalization does, based on the fact that states with legal raw milk have higher outbreak rates than those which don’t have it. And all these conditions are very doable. Dialogue was constructive. Just one example, if we go ahead and try.

    • David Gumpert David Gumpert

      Vera, not sure where you’ve been the last ten years, but you’ve clearly not spent much time at this blog. If you had, you’d know that there have been a number of efforts to engage the food safety science community. A few have worked out very well, including a debate at Harvard Law School in which I participated (with more than 50,000 views, where I acknowledge that raw milk is riskier for pathogens than pasteurized milk), and another at a food safety conference where Joseph Heckman of Rutgers University participated. Here are the links:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iLRdihFi6gw
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sin8xrMRHXE

      But you’d know that these two debates are very much the exception–that by and large, the food safety community avoids debate and serious discussion with raw milk advocates, including the many who admit that raw milk has caused serious outbreaks of illness. You’d also know that the FDA’s dairy chief has studiously avoided even being in the same room with raw milk advocates:
      http://www.davidgumpert.com/chicken-fdas-john-sheehan-pisses-off-his-food-protection-pals-with-disappearing-act-from-raw-milk-symposium

      You’d know I’ve recognized a few of the food safety scientists who have developed a more open-minded attitude on this issue (exceptions to my admittedly flip statement, meant to apply to the largest segment of the anti-raw-milk community):
      http://www.davidgumpert.com/answer-to-this-q-is-litmus-test-about-progress-on-raw-milk-acceptance-md-campaign-upcoming-talks

      I could go on and on about all the different ways we’ve explored this issue (such as putting to rest the claim about good bacteria neutralizing the pathogens, and exposing serious flaws in the food safety research you see presented at hearings you’ve attended), but I don’t have time now. You might take a look at my book, “The Raw Milk Revolution”, and do some searches on this blog under various search terms, beginning with John Sheehan and the FDA and also including the CDC–the sources of much of the anti-raw-milk testimony you’ve heard at state hearings.

  • Joseph Heckman

    David,
    Thank you for posting the links to the Raw Milk Debates that have been taken place in recent years.
    Going further back, about a decade, ago I hosted a Raw Milk Seminar Series at Rutgers University which I think had much to do with getting these debates started. Here is a link to that news release: Rutgers University Seminar Series on Raw Milk https://njaes.rutgers.edu/news/release.asp?n=569
    Read about it now while it still appears on the NJAES website. I happen to know that the NJAES website is being redesigned and that this link may soon disappear.

  • Joseph Heckman

    Posting the text here for the historical record:
    NEWS RELEASE
    Rutgers University Seminar Series on Raw Milk
    The Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station is sponsoring a seminar series to help people understand the issues and provide science-based information about raw milk.

    March 25, 2008

    New Brunswick, N.J.- The Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station is sponsoring a seminar series to help people understand the issues and provide science-based information about raw milk.

    The Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment station recently formed a “Raw Milk Working Group” to conduct research and extension programs concerning raw milk. The group identified informed consumer choice as critical to dealing with the raw milk issue. The seminar series is designed to bring the latest science and objective discussion to the public.

    The third seminar of the series, “Raw Milk, A Microbiology Primer,” is scheduled for April 3. The speaker is Dr. Mark Gebhart, MD., Wright State University. Gebhart has worked extensively in acute care medicine as a clinician, teacher, and researcher. He has taken a keen interest in nutrition and has extensively studied small scale organic farming, relationships of modern agricultural practices and human health and the impact of microbiology on human health and disease. He has take n a special interest in raw milk obtained from organic grass fed cows and believes many of the gastrointestinal disorders affecting millions of Americans could be cured by consumption of this product. He will speak in the Alampi Room in the Marine Science Building at 1:00 pm.

    The fourth seminar of the series, “A Risk Assessor Takes a Look at Raw Milk,” is scheduled for April 7. The speaker is Dr. Donald W. Schaffner, extension specialist and professor of food science at Rutgers. Schaffner has educated thousands of food industry professionals through numerous short courses and workshops in the United States and more than a dozen countries around the world. He has served on expert committees for the United States National Academy of Sciences, the World Health Organization and Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, and has chaired two expert workshops on microbial risk for World Health Organization/ Food and Agriculture Organization. He is currently serving a five year term as editor for the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology. In April 2007, he was also appointed to serve a second term on the National Advisory Committee on Microbial Criteria for Foods (NACMCF).

    The first seminar, “Raw Milk, Mother Nature’s Inconvenient Truth,” held on February 6, 2008, featured Mark McAfee, an organic dairy farmer. The second seminar, “Raw Milk Wars, Government’s Attempt to Dictate What Foods We Can Consume,” held February 20, featured David G. Cox, an attorney.

    The Rutgers raw milk extension program is also conducting a search and review of the scientific literature pertaining to both raw and pasteurized milk. This information is being collected for educational purposes and is being organized for placement on an internal Rutgers Cooperative Extension web site for ease of sharing information among scientists.
    Contact: Michele Hujber
    Office of Communications
    848-932-7000

  • Vera

    Good information, yes, but not current. That was in 2008. This is what we are up against, from 2017:

    “Unpasteurized milk, consumed by only 3.2% of the population, and cheese, consumed by only 1.6% of the population, caused 96% of illnesses caused by contaminated dairy products. Unpasteurized dairy products thus cause 840 (95% CrI 611–1,158) times more illnesses and 45 (95% CrI 34–59) times more hospitalizations than pasteurized products” – http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/23/6/15-1603_article

    This is where the science is going – toward mathematical modelling based on assumptions that go unchallenged. If we let them stand without writing rebuttals, then the implication is that we agree with them.

  • JHeckman

    Not so log ago:
    The International Association of Food Protection Raw Milk Debate was on August 3, 2016 Once again here is the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sin8xrMRHXE

  • David,

    Thanks for your thoughtful analysis of the petition and some of the apparent dissent on it.

    This hand-wringing over the proposed warning labels fails to consider the fact that many of us are currently feeding our children “pet milk” with more dire warning labels on them then even the proposed label in the petition.

    While I admire Joel’s charisma and his obvious ability to inspire people through his writing, I know that Joel has chosen not to engage politically on the raw milk issue and so I tend to agree with your assessment that his reaction to the petition is naive. It is interesting that he accuses me of “dancing” with the FDA when I consistently have organized people to oppose the FDA’s interstate ban on raw milk. I think he must have me confused with someone else….

    The petition, rather than offer an additional regulation as Joel, and others seem to be mistaken on, actually removes the power of enforcement from the FDA for those farmers who carry the label on their product. In fact, it is protecting these farmers from the sorts of enforcement that cripples farms, often leading them to shut their doors and leaving farmers dealing with the consequences of trauma.

    For farmers who choose not to use the label, nothing changes. They are still susceptible to the enforcement so many are seeing now.

    While I agree with Joel on certain principles, we cannot ignore the fact that it is under the current regulations that farmers have been aggressively raided, shut down and continually get cease and desist letters. This is not going to stop. These issues are continuing against our small farmers unabated. The “dance with the FDA” that Joel alludes to is what is happening now when farmers are picked off, individually. They are isolated and shut down thus reducing our ability to engage directly with the producer of our choice for the foods of our choice. It simply is not working on any level for any of us who are committed to furthering food freedom. The petition aims to change that. In fact, the petition, just by being filed, gives farmers a respite if they are pursued even if the FDA has not ruled on the petition.

    David, as you point out repeatedly, both in your blog and in the comments section, the FDA and those who fight to eliminate food choice, are not interested in dialogue. They are not interested in freedom or food choice. They are simply here to impose their world view on the rest of us, by force, according to the regulations.

    As per Joseph Heckman’s point that raw milk is only illegal in 7 more states…..just because several states have changed their laws or regulations to make it appear they are more friendly towards raw milk producers, does not mean that raw milk is more available within that state. This is somewhat misleading as well because cities in some states have better access across state lines that are close to metropolitan areas. Also, the last time I checked, there were no dairies in Washington DC which would mean that all DC residents are not able to access raw milk. So, even in the best case scenario of all states having legal and available access to raw milk, without removing the enforcement on the interstate ban, DC residents would not have the choice.

    The recipe for pasteurization is included on the label for good reasons–and these reasons are not a compromise on principle but rather a reinforcement of principle. There are many individuals who wish to source milk from local farms–either within state or from another state–who do not want to drink the milk raw. If dairy farmers are free to engage directly with consumers without the threat of raids, fines, or losing the farm, this would open up a direct market for many more dairies and would increase the number of consumers who get to access the foods of their choice from the producers of their choice.

    I know from years of experience that many mothers want access to clean milk from local farms but they do not want it raw and do not want to give it to their children raw. I respect these mothers and their decisions for their families. But, as long as the FDA has full enforcement capability against small dairies, they have too much control over the mothers who are making the decisions on what–and how–to feed their families.

    We all have different world views. The wording in this petition was carefully considered to allow the greatest freedom of food choice for Americans without compromising on the basic principles of liberty. I look forward to the day that we can all choose the foods of our choice from the producer of our choice without the FDA’s interference and without the criticism from within our community–whether we choose raw milk or pasteurized.

    Thank you David.

    • David Gumpert David Gumpert

      Very well stated, Liz. Thank you. Like you, I have difficulty understanding how and when the status of raw milk became some kind of knock-em-down battle for ideological supremacy vs pasteurized milk. I have always seen it as a matter of choice and availability. It’s of little use to try battling government bureaucrats about matters of principle when they are focused on ignoring you and pursuing their own agenda.

  • William March

    The raw milk law in Pennsylvania allows for the sale of raw milk at the location of the farm ,or at retail locations if mechanical bottling is used .The farm must have a permit and tests and regulations must be adhered to .Persons from any state in the USA can buy raw milk legally in PA.,and take it back to their home state without being stopped by FDA police .The restriction on sale of raw milk accross state lines only applies to producers or retailers not civilians .The reason the farmers do not want to get involved with changing the Federal law is due to the fact that most could not pass the state raw milk health laws .Several farmers in this area have given up their permits because they had trouble passing ,although they still sell raw milk accross state lines .RAW MILK is shipped out of Lancaster Pa.six days a week to all points including NY CITY ,WASHINGTON DC,BROOKLYN ,LI NY ,FLORDIA ,and most of the USA.Most of the milk shipped is uninspected and untested. Do you really want a country with no health laws ?.If inspection and health laws were not in place how much ‘meat’ would you want to eat or feed your chrildren .The same groups that want all GMO products labled, want free reign for milk.As far as pastuerized milk being a ‘dead ‘product put a glass on the kitchen table for a few days and see it comes alive .Dangerous bacteria can be killed without destroying beneficial bacteria .When sterilization equipment is tested in all industries good bacteria is used ,because they know that good bacteria is harder to kill than harmful bacteria , if the good bacteria is destroyed they know the bad bacteria is dead.This applies to pasteurization also.We should all be thankful for the wonderful ample and safe supply of all food in this country. ThankYou

  • D. Smith D. Smith

    @ William March: You, William, are a dolt. If you put a glass of pasteurized milk on the table it will stink in 3 days or less. IT IS A DEAD FOOD WHEN IT COMES TO NUTRITION – it is not a dead food because it lacks bacterium. Raw milk, in a glass on the table, will, in 3 days, be clabbered milk, still useable for various different things. Raw milk continues to be edible/useable, pasteurized milk becomes putrid. Of course the putrid milk will have “bacteria”.

  • Ken Conrad Ken Conrad

    “Dangerous bacteria can be killed without destroying beneficial bacteria.”

    That would be a neat trick William… perhaps you can provide reference to the research that clearly and “unambiguously” demonstrates what you have said keeping in mind that the “devil is in the details”.

    There is in indeed research being done in an effort to be more selective, but they haven’t anywhere near reached that point if indeed they ever will! There is also a crucial problem with all the other heat sensitive ingredients in milk that make it a living and nutritious food. Valuable enzymes necessary for digestion and culturing dairy products such as lipases, protease and alkaline phosphatase are altered and/or destroyed, vitamins such as A, C, B6 and B12 are diminished, and fragile milk proteins are altered. And again there is the obvious problem of diminished competitive exclusion with respect to pasteurized milk…
    Note: “Alkaline phosphatase is a heat sensitive enzyme in milk that is used as indicator of pasteurization. If milk is properly pasteurized, alkaline phosphatase is inactivated.”
    https://foodsafety.foodscience.cornell.edu/sites/foodsafety.foodscience.cornell.edu/files/shared/documents/CU-DFScience-Notes-Milk-Alk-Phosphatase-11-07.pdf

    Raw milk’s self-preserving qualities in the absence of refrigeration is life giving, pasteurized milk on the other hand lacks those self preserving qualities and is in essence a dead product that is subject to contamination and decay…in the absence of refrigeration.

    Based on “inspection and health laws” that are currently in place there are a good many foods including pasteurized milk and some meats that I wouldn’t eat and feed to my children or pets…

    • Gordon S Watson

      not forgetting my favourite, Vitamin K2. For which REAL MILK, is THE outstanding source, for effective-ness and price. On the http://www.realmilk.com website is the story of how, what Weston A Price had termed “the X factor”, was proven to be Vitamin K2. The substance which controls the body laying-down minerals where they’re supposed to be = in teeth and bones, rather than in arteries.

      I predict that when the latest research about the role of Vitamin K2 becomes received wisdom, opposition to raw milk for human consumption, will end. … It’s the “silver bullet” … That! important

  • Gordon S Watson

    no, calling William March a “dolt” is premature. I haven’t yet decided if he’s a troll, or just a fool who’s waded-in to this forum, in ignorance of what he doesn’t know about milk. Buckminster Fuller taught us = “human beings can learn at any age”. So it is thinkable that Mr March may come around and grasp what the Campaign for REAL MILK is about, once he gets more and better information. Your point about what happens with a glass of commercial par-boiled ‘homo milk’ on the kitchen counter, being Lesson One. ‘Course that requires Mr March to be willing to UN-learn the mis-information of which he’s so sure, first of all.

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