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Organic Consumers Association

Two Federal 'Raw Milk Freedom' Bills Introduced

Editor's Note: Please join the national day of action May 6, 2014 and ask your congressperson to co-sponsor HR 4307 and HR 4308.



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

WASHINGTON, DC—(March 27, 2014)
—Congressman Massie (R–KY), Chellie Pingree (D–ME) and a bipartisan coalition of 18 other lawmakers introduced legislation on March 26 to improve consumer food choices and to protect local farmers from federal interference. The two bills— the “Milk Freedom Act of 2014” and the “Interstate Milk Freedom Act of 2014”—are the first in a series of “food freedom” bills that Rep. Massie plans to introduce this year.

“As a producer of grass-fed beef, I am familiar with the difficulties small farmers face when marketing fresh food directly to consumers. Our bills would make it easier for families to buy wholesome milk directly from farmers by reversing the criminalization of dairy farmers who offer raw milk,” said Rep. Massie. “The federal government should not punish farmers for providing customers the foods they want, and States should be free to set their own laws regulating food safety.”

“Many consumers want to buy fresh, unpasteurized milk and regulations shouldn’t get between them and the farmer who wants to sell it,” said Rep. Pingree. “Given how many food scares there have been involving large-scale producers, it just doesn’t make sense to spend money cracking down on small, local farmers who are producing natural, raw milk and cheese. The enforcement of raw milk regulations has been overzealous and needs to be reined in.”

“As consumer, advocate, and mother, I have spent over a decade navigating a complex legal and regulatory maze to access raw milk and other fresh, local foods,” said Sarah Donovan of the Farm-to-Consumer Foundation. “These bills are an important step toward removing federal barriers between farmers and families.”

“Raw milk is the only food banned in interstate commerce,” said Pete Kennedy, President of the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund. “Congratulations to Representative Massie for starting the process of repealing a regulation that thousands of otherwise law abiding citizens violate every week in this country.”

Raw milk is fresh milk that has not been pasteurized, and may contain beneficial nutrients that have not been eliminated by the pasteurization process. Although Congress has never passed a law banning raw milk, the Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has used its regulatory authority to prosecute farmers for distributing raw milk.

The “Milk Freedom Act of 2014” [HR 4307] would provide relief to local farmers, small producers, and others who have been harassed, fined, and in some cases even prosecuted for the “crime” of distributing unpasteurized milk. This bill would prohibit the federal government from interfering with the interstate traffic of raw milk products.

Likewise, the “Interstate Milk Freedom Act of 2014” [HR 4308] would prevent the federal government from interfering with trade of unpasteurized, natural milk or milk products between states where distribution or sale of such products is already legal.

No provision of either bill would preempt or otherwise interfere with any State law. Both bills have been referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.

Massie concluded, “Today, many people are paying more attention to the foods they eat, what it contains, and how it is processed. Raw milk, which has been with us for thousands of years, is making a come back among these discerning consumers. Personal choices as basic as ‘what we feed our families’ should not be limited by the federal government.”

Original co-sponsors of the “Milk Freedom Act of 2014” include Justin Amash (R-MI), Paul Broun (R-GA), Louie Gohmert (R-TX), Walter Jones (R-NC), Tom McClintock (R-CA), Chellie Pingree (D-ME), Jared Polis (D-CO), Scott Rigell (R-VA), Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), and Steve Stockman (R-TX).

Original co-sponsors of the “Interstate Milk Freedom Act of 2014” include Paul Broun (R-GA), Walter Jones (R-NC), Louie Gohmert (R-TX), H. Morgan Griffith (R-VA), Andy Harris (R-MD), Raul Labrador (R-ID), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), Tom McClintock (R-CA), Mick Mulvaney (R-SC), Scott Perry (R-PA), Chellie Pingree (D-Maine), Ted Poe (R-TX), Jared Polis (D-CO), Scott Rigell (R-VA), Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), Steve Stockman (R-TX), and Marlin Stutzman (R-IN).

The Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund defends the rights and broadens the freedoms of family farms and artisan food producers while protecting consumer access to raw milk and nutrient-dense foods. Those concerned can support the FTCLDF, a U.S. based 501(c)(4) nonprofit, by joining or donating online at www.farmtoconsumer.org or by calling 703-208-FARM (3276).

Media Contact: Pete Kennedy 703-208-3276, info@farmtoconsumer.org

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