The Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund’s lawsuit against the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services was dismissed by U.S. District Judge Mark Bennett recently. The two-year old lawsuit out of Iowa challenged the rule that bans interstate shipments of unpasteurized milk by alleging that it violated constitutional rights of free travel and interferes with individuals’ decisions as to what to feed their families. Judge Bennett said that he dismissed the case because raw milk supporters have not suffered an injury as the government does not enforce the disputed regulations against individuals.
The nonprofit group that advocates the direct sale of farm goods to consumers says it has about 1,900 members from 49 states and joined forces as plaintiffs with individuals from Georgia, Iowa, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina. Some are dairy farmers, some are consumers of raw milk products, and others run cooperatives or farmers’ markets and buy the milk for sale to members. Proponents of transportation into areas where it is illegal to sell raw milk say that they prefer the flavor and freshness of raw milk as well as nutritional and health benefits. The plaintiffs are satisfied to have the FDA on record saying that it will not enforce its rule against raw milk for individuals.
The FDA discourages drinking unpasteurized milk as it may cause foodborne illness including E.coli, Salmonella, and tuberculosis. According the article, the government claims there have been 143 reported outbreaks of illness associated with drinking raw milk since 1987, which have led to miscarriages, still births, kidney failure and deaths. The FDA said 20 states have some form of prohibition on the sale of raw milk within their state while 30 allow it, according to the article.
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