Food Freedom Rights to be Discussed on Federal Level

On March 26, a coalition of 20 bipartisan lawmakers introduced two pieces of legislation that would end federal crackdown on the distribution of raw milk.

House Representative Thomas Massie (R-KY) introduced both the “Milk Freedom Act of 2014” (HB 4307) and the “Interstate Milk Freedom Act of 2014” (HB 4308), with support from Representative Chellie Pingree (D-ME) and several other co-sponsors. The “Milk Freedom Act of 2014” would authorize the interstate sales of raw milk for human consumption and “…provide relief to local farmers, small producers, and others who have been harassed, fined and in some cases even prosecuted for the ‘crime’ of distributing unpasteurized milk” (Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund). The “Interstate Milk Freedom Act of 2014” would prohibit the federal government from interfering with the interstate traffic of unpasteurized milk and milk products packaged for human consumption.

“Many consumers want to buy fresh, unpasteurized milk and regulations shouldn’t get between them and the farmer who wants to sell it,” said Rep. Pingree. “Given how many food scares there have been involving large-scale producers, it just doesn’t make sense to spend money cracking down on small, local farmers who are producing natural, raw milk and cheese.”

“Our bills would make it easier for families to buy wholesome milk directly from farmers by reversing the criminalization of dairy farmers who offer raw milk,” said Rep. Massie. “The federal government should not punish farmers for providing customers they foods they want, and States should be free to set their own laws regarding food safety.”

The federal bills will not preempt or otherwise interfere with any State law.

The Campaign for Real Milk is a project of the nutrition education non-profit, The Weston A. Price Foundation. Donate to help fund research into the benefits of nutrient dense foods.  http://www.westonaprice.org/lab

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Collaboration in California Leads to Promising Raw Milk Legislation

After three years of negotiations between the Small Herd Working Group of small dairies and the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA), a piece of legislation has been drafted that would allow direct-to-consumer raw milk sales from small farms under certain regulatory requirements.

The raw milk legislation “Home Dairy Farm Bill” (AB 2505) would allow direct-to-consumer raw milk sales by dairies with a maximum of three cows or fifteen goats. Farmers would be required to: ensure annual testing for tuberculosis and brucellosis; adhere to bacterial standards (no more than 15,000 bacteria per ml or 10 coliform bacteria per ml); include a warning label on raw milk stating that unpasteurized milk may contain disease-causing microorganisms; and only sell directly to individuals in face-to-face transactions.

This bill, and the collaborative process behind its creation, is a promising sign that it is possible for farmers and public health officials to work together to find a solution that meets the demand for raw milk and contributes to the economic prosperity of the small, local dairies. Over the past three years, many farmer groups, state organizations and other stakeholders have been involved in the drafting of this legislation.

It is unclear whether the CDFA will officially support the bill once it is up for discussion in the California Assembly’s Agriculture Committee, but members of the Committee have already expressed interest in the bill. It is expected that the legislation would apply to approximately 1,000 home dairies in the state of California.

The Campaign for Real Milk is a project of the nutrition education non-profit, The Weston A. Price Foundation. Donate to help fund research into the benefits of nutrient dense foods.  http://www.westonaprice.org/lab

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Raw Milk Advocates Respond to Stanford Study that Claims Raw Milk is No Easier for the Lactose Intolerant to Digest

Researchers at Stanford University published findings from a pilot study in the March/April 2014 issue of Annals of Family Medicine that concluded there is little difference in digestibility between pasteurized and unpasteurized milk. These findings contradict anecdotal evidence from raw milk drinkers across the country, and the study is being criticized by raw milk advocates who cite sample size, length of testing and use of controls among the study’s flaws.

The study observed 16 participants who drank three different types of milk (pasteurized milk, raw milk, and soy milk) over the course of 8 days per type. Participants were randomly assigned the order of milk in unmarked containers. Each participant consumed one type of milk over the course of 8 days; they were tested for lactose via a hydrogen breath test on days 1 and 8. After a short break, they repeated the cycle with a different type of milk.

One of the study’s biggest flaws is its small sample size: the study only chose 16 participants after screening 440 applicants who claimed to have problems digesting milk.

Another large flaw is the brevity of the experiment. “It takes longer than eight days for beneficial bacteria to recolonize the gut of a severely lactose intolerant person. These good bacteria produce the lactase enzyme, which helps digest lactose,” says Mark McAfee, Chairman of the Board at the Raw Milk Institute.

Additionally, McAfee suggests that the H2 breath test is insufficient to diagnose milk sugar digestion problems in 97% of applicants. “Most people are not overtly lactose intolerant but are better described as pasteurization intolerant, something for which medical science may not [yet] have an appropriate test,” he says.

The Campaign for Real Milk is a project of the nutrition education non-profit, The Weston A. Price Foundation. Donate to help fund research into the benefits of nutrient dense foods.  http://www.westonaprice.org/lab

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Maryland’s Proposal to Legalize Raw Milk Sales Delayed to 2015

The Maryland bill that would legalize raw milk sales through cow share agreements has been delayed now that the bill’s chief sponsor, Del. James Hubbard, has withdrawn his support. Hubbard says he withdrew his support for the bill because it became clear that the House Health and Government Operations Committee wouldn’t vote on the issue before adjourning on April 7.

Raw milk advocates plan to reintroduce the bill in 2015, following the publication of a report on raw milk by the Bloomberg School of Public Health at John Hopkins University (expected December 2014). Hubbard expects that the report will prove that raw milk does not pose a significant public health risk, and hopes that the findings will help change perceptions about the “evils” of raw milk and bolster the support that the bill needs to pass.

The Campaign for Real Milk is a project of the nutrition education non-profit, The Weston A. Price Foundation. Donate to help fund research into the benefits of nutrient dense foods.  http://www.westonaprice.org/lab

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Maine Tries Again to Legalize Raw Milk Sales

Maine raw milk advocates are making another attempt to legalize sales in the state. Last year’s bill to legalize raw milk sales was vetoed by Governor Paul LePage, reportedly out of concern that it would have allowed the sale of dairy products from unlicensed farmers at farmers markets.

This time around, the bill has been amended to include several restrictions: only face-to-face sales are allowed on the farm or from a stand located on farm property; no advertising is allowed other than word-of-mouth marketing; and all products must be labeled with a disclaimer that the farm was not inspected or licensed by the state.

These limitations were key to gaining the support of Ronald Dyer, Quality Assurance and Regulations Director for the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, as well as the Maine Dairy Industry Association. However, MDIA Executive Director Julie-Marie Bickford has expressed concern that this year’s bill minimizes the oversight and education that accompanies licensing and inspection, which she believes is critical for food safety.

The bill needs to be approved by the House and the Senate, but it is unclear what might happen when it reaches the Governor’s desk.

Sources: The Bangor Daily News and Food Safety News

Update: On March 31, 2014 the House voted 71-65 in favor of “ought not to pass.” The bill faces more votes in both the House and the Senate.

The Campaign for Real Milk is a project of the nutrition education non-profit, The Weston A. Price Foundation. Donate to help fund research into the benefits of nutrient dense foods.  http://www.westonaprice.org/lab

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