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By Liz Reitzig
Advocates for direct farm-to-consumer food rights, the Real Food Consumer Coalition (RFCC), have filed a petition with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This petition, when accepted by the FDA, would eliminate an important layer of FDA regulatory enforcement against raw milk farmers—the agency’s ban on interstate transportation or sale of raw milk. Farmers would be exempt from enforcement of this regulation if they provide warning labels and a recipe for pasteurization on raw milk products.
The warning labels are similar to labels currently required in many states. The recipe for pasteurization is included so that individual consumers can make their own choices about how to best handle the milk.
This petition asks the FDA to accept such labeling for raw milk products, as an alternative to its draconian prosecution of Amish farmers and others who for centuries have produced and consumed raw milk products.
Emord and Associates, a Washington DC law firm with extensive experience in food regulation, filed the citizen’s petition with the FDA on April 26, 2017. The FDA legally has 180 days to respond.
Attorney Jonathan Emord states “At root, the FDA’s regulations aim exclusively at milk, and not a whole host of other foods, like raw sushi, sashimi, meat, fruit, and vegetable products, demanding that milk alone be pasteurized to be sold interstate. That discriminatory burden is unjustified when disclosure of full information about self-pasteurization can be put on the label to aid consumers of raw milk. This petition asks the FDA to accept such labeling for raw milk products, as an alternative to its draconian prosecution of Amish farmers and others who for centuries have produced and consumed raw milk products.”
While we await the answer to the petition, attorneys for any farmers cited (now or during this waiting time) for non-compliance with CFR1240.61 can file a motion of stay for their clients pending the response to this petition.
During the 180-day period, advocates for consumer choice will work with Congressional representatives to push for a legislative and more permanent repeal of the regulation in conjunction with the request in the petition.
Recently, I was on the Liberty Report with Dr. Ron Paul to discuss raw milk and how regulations like this affect hard working Americans.
The organization is raising funds for continued education and advocacy on this issue.