In the minds of attorneys for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, it's illegal to ship raw milk products for human consumption across state lines. In fact, FDA prohibits such milk in interstate commerce.
But last week, attorneys for the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund challenged the federal ban as unconstitutional and outside FDA's statutory authority. FCLDF filed suit against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and FDS.
The federal court challenge centers around a late 2008 citizen petition by Mark McAfee, owner of the Organic Pastures Dairy Company of Fresno, Calif. McAfee had petitioned FDA to allow interstate shipments. FDA did not respond, although it was legally required to do so. In California, Arizona and Nevada, it is legal to sell and distribute unpasteurized dairy products for human consumption.
The challenge also involves raw milk producers from Iowa, Illinois, the Carolinas and Washington State which were impacted by the interstate ban. In several of the cases, consumers crossed state lines to obtain the unpasteurized dairy product.
The raw milk producers, themselves, were charged with violating the federal ban. "We believe we are breaking new ground in this case," contendsFCLDF General Counsel Gary Cox.
"FDA made some pretty incredible arguments in their motion to dismiss," adds Fund President Pete Kennedy. "Our research shows that this nation has a long history of consuming raw dairy products. FDA's prohibition against taking raw dairy for human consumption across state lines runs counter to that national history."
Contrary to FDA's claims, FCLDF argues that everybody has the right to travel across state lines with raw dairy products in their possession, that everybody has the right to consume the foods of their choice, that parents have the right to feed their children the foods of their choice, and that everybody has the right to be responsible for their own health.
For more details about the lawsuit, visit www.farmtoconsumer.org/litigation-FDA.htm .