FDA Blasted for Sting Operation Against Pennsylvania Amish Farmer


Washington Times Gives Headline News to Raw Milk Sting

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:

Five Suggestions How the Maryland Food Club Can Fight Back (and How the Rest of Us Can  Help)

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!!

–Tanisha Waggoner

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.

–Troy-Sarah Johnson

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.

–Sandra Nicht

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.

Kimberly Hartke is the publicist for the Campaign for Real Milk a project of the Weston A. Price Foundation.


  1. cowgirl says:

    Both headlines on the Washington Post taken together sum up plenty. Why inhibit the growth of small farms when they offer a boost to our economy and our environment? Perhaps because small farms, with their higher quality products and tendency to increase fertility rather than destroy biosphere, terrify Monsanto and the industrial agriculture conglomerate.

  2. respondent says:

    Laws for one are laws for all including the amish. If attacking the FDA for doing the job of enforcing it, then need to change the law. For sure should not show preferential treatment to the amish because of a religion.
    This big versus small bias for farms gets old. Concentrated people (cities) are no worse than small towns and in fact sometimes do a better job of services provided. IMO it helps the environment because people are taking up less land. Diversity works well for people and same goes to any industry including agriculture..

    • The FDA is a regulatory agency charged with both policing pharmaceuticals as well as food, whuch seems overly broad and intrusive and certainly not the least restrictive means available. The question is more than just the proper role and fuction of the FDA and the manner and degree to which it functions but the laws which it enforces as well. The furor over the FDA enforcement stems from anger over the capricious nature of their enforecement.

      The contaminated eggs, jalapenos, peanut butter and green onions of recent memory show us that all food if not properly produced and packaged can be a risk. But did the FDA raid ALL peanut butter manufacturing facilities? Did attempt to ban all peanut products? Or was the conversation one of proper manufacture and which companies were doing it? The same standard should be applied to milk and other dairy products.

      The small is beautiful arguement is about allowing consumers to assume the risk and responsibility to insure their food is properly prepared, a task which cannot de done in a grocery store where the food is shipped from thousands of miles away. It is not about an abstract value of small farms but the value of the intrinsic value of the farmer himself and my ability to discern whether than individuals production values meet my own. I want to know what my kids are eating and the multiple layers of corporate beaurocracy distances me from that.

      Futhermore, why should the government get to tell me what I can eat? In all other aspects of life, Americans expect and demand a certain amount of autonomy from governement nannyism but raw milk seems beyond the pale for whatever reason. This is a complicated issue and what fairnessis and is not just isn’t easy to decide.

    • “Laws are made for us; we are not made for the laws.”

    • Hi Respondent,
      The whole big vs small farms controversy is certainly not old because it’s still present throughout the U.S, and is destroying many of our small farmers due to large corporate greed. Also, how exactly could big confinement and pesticide laden farms take up less land? It would actually require more land in the future to operate these farms than farms that are treated correctly. In truth, these confinement operations strip the soil of significant nutrients and can take months, years or even decades to replenish depending on the severity of the issue. Therefore, the nearly malnourished land is unable to supply more crops nor sustain any animals who are grazed on them due to the lack of essential nutrients to sustain life, which we sadly see in our world today. Farms that follow the way God intended for them to be treated will recycle all the nutrients back into the soil, and will ultimately sustain life for all humans and animals.
      The idea that we are taking up more land, and therefore, destroying the earth is a good opinion until one goes out into the real world, meaning outside of a city or town, and discovers the vast amounts of empty land that is awaiting for cultivation or animal grazing. In other words, the United States is pretty much comprised of empty land. In reality, no one needs to worry about the amount of space we are actually utilizing on this earth. In fact, the entire population of this world can survive comfortably in just the state of Texas alone. Indeed, we are not “helping” nor destroying the environment by cultivating crops or grazing animals correctly as everything eventually gets recycled anyways. It is when we turn to these massive confinement operations and spray large amounts of pesticides in our soil that we will witness such devastating effects of the environment due to the lack of rich soil to sustain life.

  3. Why don’t they do something useful like shut down the CAFOS?

    Why do they do nothing about the filthy factory operations that are behind every food outbreak?

    Why do they protect and promote GMOS?

    Why do they constantly persecute and terrorize small farmers who have hurt no one?

    The attack on this noble Amish farmer is a disgrace.

    • Hi Stanley Fishman,

      The answer to all of these questions is due to the FDA working with the large corporations (I’m pretty sure you know this anyways).

  4. It’s time to take action to save our small farmers! If we don’t stop them now, many of our small dairy farmers will eventually go out of business. The question is, how are we able to stop these raids?

    • With YOUR dollar, girl. If people start looking for small farms and support them, rather than monsanto, there will be more small farms and more power behind them.
      Tell everyone to buy from small family farms. Make a list of local farms and spread the word.

  5. Thank you for this! I am a MD resident wishing raw milk was legally available here. I have been to Dan’s beautiful, clean farm, drank his milk, and am outraged by all of this. I appreciate the information about the rally and how we can get involved.

  6. Shw33z3 says:

    When raw milk has been shown to be so beneficial, it just doesn’t make sense not to drink it. It got it’s bad name in the 1920’s when sanitation conditions were unheard of. Now farmers have clean environments for their cows. Raw milk also contains protective enzymes that kill any bacteria in the milk making it safe for consumption. The pasteurized milk loses these important antibacterial properties when it is heated making it less nutritious and more likely to contain bacteria. It’s been proven that raw milk helps people with tuberculosis get better. The FDA needs to get new honest people who will learn the truth about raw milk and gmo foods. If we go back to nature and stop eating the food that is processed and adulterated, Americans will get healthy again.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes, my great grandmother was healed of TB by raw milk and raw eggs, and
      that was in the 1920’s, and it was prescribed by her doctor.

      You make a very good point. Raw milk would make our nation stronger,
      constitutionally. Both personally and as a nation we need that!

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