Falls Church, Virginia (August 20, 2010) – In a complex federal district court ruling, Judge Mark W. Bennett refused to grant a motion by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to dismiss a lawsuit filed against the agency by the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund (FTCLDF) and eight other named plaintiffs. The lawsuit argues that federal regulations (21 CFR 1240.61 and 21 CFR 131.10) prohibiting raw milk for human consumption in interstate commerce are unconstitutional as applied to FTCLDF’s members and the other plaintiffs named in the suit.
In his August 18 decision, Judge Bennett denied part of FDA’s motion to dismiss while reserving judgment on the remainder. As part of his ruling, the judge ordered proceedings in the case to be stayed sixty days to allow plaintiffs time to decide whether to file a ‘citizen petition’ with FDA. The petition would ask FDA to clarify its interpretation of the authorizing statutes and regulations giving the agency power to ban raw milk for human consumption in interstate commerce. If plaintiffs choose to file the citizen petition, the court would continue to delay the suit until the administrative proceedings were completed or until FDA failed to take action within the time the law requires. If plaintiffs declined to pursue the citizen petition, Bennett indicated the court would reconsider FDA’s motion to dismiss.