This week, Representatives Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) and Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) introduced the Interstate Milk Freedom Act (H.R. 5410), a bill that prohibits federal interference with the interstate traffic of unpasteurized milk and milk products that are packaged for direct human consumption.
It’s legal to drink raw milk in 50 states. But only 28 states allow raw milk to be sold legally.
Congress has never passed a ban on raw milk. Yet the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has used its regulatory authority to raid farms and prosecute farmers for distributing raw milk.
Reps. Massie and Pingree want to stop these raids. In a press release announcing the bipartisan bill, Massie said:
“Federal agencies, such as the FDA, that are part of the executive branch do not and should not have the power to shut down trade between peaceful farmers and willing consumers. It is Congress’s job to legislate. Our Interstate Milk Freedom Act would make it easier for families to buy milk of their choice by reversing the criminalization of specific dairy farmers.”
Rep. Pingree said:
“So many people across the country want to make sure their food is fresh and local—including fruits, vegetables, and even their milk. Raw milk is currently the only food banned for interstate commerce—an onerous regulation that hurts small farmers for selling milk straight from their cows to the consumer.”
Other members of Congress who support the bill weighed in, including Rep. Daniel Webster (R-Fla.), who said that the FDA has “no Congressional directive or safety regulation that justifies interfering in a decision between a consumer and dairy farmer.”
And Rep. Lloyd Smucker (R-Pa.), who said this:
“Small family farms have been consuming and distributing raw milk safely for hundreds of years. This bill rightly gets the federal government out of the way and decriminalizes farmers and producers who choose to sell or take unpasteurized milk and other dairy products to willing customers throughout the nation.”
The Interstate Milk Freedom Act simply says that if two states have legalized the sale of unpasteurized milk, then no federal department, agency or court may take any action to prohibit or restrict the interstate traffic of milk between those two states.
The bill would prohibit the federal government from interfering with the interstate traffic of raw milk products between states where distribution or sale of such products is already legal.
Original cosponsors of H.R. 5410 include Representatives Chellie Pingree (D-Maine), Lloyd Smucker (R-Pa.), Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.), Ted Budd (R-N.C.), Daniel Webster (R-Fla.), Alex Mooney (R-W.V.), Glenn Grothman (R-Wis.), Tom McClintock (R-Calif.), Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), Justin Amash (I-Mcih.), Morgan Griffith (R-Va.), Chip Roy (R-Texas), and Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.).
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