Washington Times Article Sets off Tornado of Criticism
by Kimberly Hartke
On Friday, April 29, Food Safety reporter Stephen Dinan broke the story of the FDA sting operation which spent a year targeting a Pennsylvania Amish dairy farm. This farmer who uses traditional, pasture raising methods unheard of in this modern age of industrial farming, has a loyal group of patrons of his craft. They formed a private organization in order to encourage his sustainable, small-scale, farming model, and secure access to raw milk that they deem fit for human consumption.
The Times article set off a torrent of criticism on the papers website, by the end of the day on Friday over 400 citizens blasted the FDA, by Monday, over 800 logged their outrage in the comments. Of note, is how many of the commenters appeared not to be raw milk consumers, but felt the need to speak out about the civil rights trespass by the FDA.
Dave Gumpert, a journalist who follows the raw milk issue and has authored a book on the subject, Raw Milk Revolution–The Emerging Battle Over Food Rights penned this blog about the sting:
Here is another Gumpert article on FDA sting from Grist.
The voices of protest also spilled over onto the FDA Facebook page, where comments were left, and then the commenters “unliked” the page to show their disgust and lack of support for the government harassment of the farmer and farm patrons.
Here are a few Facebook comments that I thought were worth noting:
I think that it is appalling that you would raid an innocent Amish farm. The 10 million raw milk drinkers in this country support the raw milk sales. If raw milk was so bad we would see the outbreaks, instead we are seeing more and more outbreaks from your filthy, toxic, ultra-pasteurized, homogenized, standardized, BASTARDIZED white crap that you dare to call milk. The American people deserve better. WE WANT REAL FOOD!! We would not take the “risk” associated if we had not already researched and considered the “consequences”. I have experienced nothing but benefits from raw milk. Perhaps you are afraid that the American populace will learn the truth, that your pills are poison!! Stop attacking small farmers and natural health remedies and give back the rights of the American people to real food. BACK OFF!!
The FDA needs to dismantled, defunded, and shut down permanently. Or at the very least get out of bed with the Pharmaceuticals and big Corporations. The corruption runs ridiculously deep.
I have an inherent right to eat the wholesome foods of my choosing. I have an inherent right to eat the foods that the Creator has created for humanity – naturally produced foods, from animals and plants raised humanely, without overcrowding, hormones, genetic modification, or antibiotics or other unnatural, inhumane, or toxic methods to the animal, plant, soil, or the humans who work the soil. Leave the Amish alone, leave the natural farmers alone, leave the raw milk foodists alone – and start looking at how genetic modifications, overuse of antibiotics and pesticides, and unsanitary conditions on factory farms and in overly large processing plants cause the vast majority of severe gastrointestinal illnesses and deaths in this country.
What I want to know is what difference does it make who’s right? There will never be a shortage of data proving one side or the other.
The point is that all this time and money is being spent by the government to remove a basic right from a small group of people. No one against raw milk will be forced to consume it against their will. I understand the risk and am happy to sign a release if necessary – I would not blame the FDA if I got sick.
What’s the big deal, really? It’s legal for me to smoke and drink both of which are known to adversely affect my health and wellbeing…. why can’t they just put the Surgeon General’s warning on the stupid milk and leave small farmers alone?
–Auburn Meadow Farm
Several Congressional offices have made calls to the FDA for an explanation of their actions.
The Grassfed on the Hill farm buying club whose milk is at stake, is today issuing a press statement about the raid. Many consumers who belong to the club are members of the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund, which works to protect the rights of farmers and consumers to private contracts and direct trade .
This Saturday, the 3rd International Raw Milk Symposium takes place in Bloomington, Minnesota. Sponsored by the Farm-to-Consumer Foundation, the educational arm of the FTCLDF, it plans to explore the issue of Producer-Consumer-Choice.
What you can do
If you are concerned about this issue, please call your U.S. House and Senate Representatives office and ask to speak to the agriculture legislative assistant. Send this post to them and ask them to make calls to the FDA asking for them to cease and desist interfering with private contract rights between farmers and private citizens.
Also, if you are on Facebook please Fan the Raw Milk Symposium in facebook.
Please join and support the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund. With legal expertise to guide them, farmers and consumers can win back their rights to free trade.
A peaceful rally is being planned by Grassfed on the Hill for May 16th, 2011, 10:00am at the U.S. Capitol building. Sally Fallon Morell of the Weston A. Price Foundation will be among the speakers. Details will be available in the next few days on a website that is being launched tonight: Grassfedonthehill.com. Please come out in support of food freedom and to end government harassment of the Amish and other small enterprises.