To the regulator mind, raw milk fans must come across as something between religious heretics and neo-primitive visigoths. The continued growth of interest in raw milk among the great unwashed must be an ongoing source of puzzlement to those for whom healing comes from doctors and drugs, and who recognize no difference in food quality between organic and GMO. Seems David E. Gumpert has touched a nerve with his recent post on FDA Dairy Czar John Sheehan’s performance review. Here’s an excerpt from David’s followup post:
“I thought I was having some fun with my previous post about John Sheehan and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration being nervous about the explosion of interest in raw milk. Little did I realize that I was terribly understating the situation. The people at the FDA are positively paranoid.
There’s no need to make up fictitious conversations to determine that. It’s all in the black and white officialese of a federal court document. That’s something that presumably many government-paid pencil pushers review and analyze before submission.
Technically, the document is a U.S. Justice Department request for a permanent injunction in a civil suit seeking to bar Mark McAfee, owner of Organic Pastures Dairy Co., from selling raw milk outside California. The government’s case against OPDC is well known and has been reported extensively on this blog, from the investigation tactics to the criminal case that wound up earlier this year. (Thanks to Bill Marler, the food poisoning lawyer, for the tip-off on the document.)
This current request covers much of the same ground—about how OPDC sold raw milk as pet food and how FDA sleuths worked day and night to break the case by ordering milk over the telephone. Sherlock Holmes would have been proud….”
“….Finally, Cassens includes a kind of P.S. to her statement—a challenge to anyone thinking of attending the courthouse demonstration December 21 in Viroqua, WI, in support of raw milk buyers club owner Max Kane. It quotes Mark McAfee’s pledge (again from this blog) to “bring ten half gallons of CA raw milk with me and drink it with the demonstrators on the steps of the Wisconsin court house steps. They will not take my raw milk from me…” That comment, Cassens says, constitutes “his plan to transport raw milk in interstate commerce and to drink the raw milk with other raw milk advocates.”
Now, wouldn’t that make a great legal case: does a farmer from one state have the right to consume his own farm’s raw milk in another state? Worthy of Supreme Court consideration, I’d say.
And what about the “other raw milk advocates”? Would they be violating the prohibition on interstate sale of raw milk by consuming California milk in Wisconsin? As a political science buff, I’d definitely be willing to get myself arrested to test the constitutionality of that one. And I think lots of others would, too. Do the sops at the FDA really want to push it? I would think not, but then, I have been too often guilty of overestimating both the FDA’s political acuity and its respect for individual rights….”