FDA Policy Causes Moms to Defend their Freedom
by Kimberly Hartke
Mothers whose milk supply is being threatened by the Food and Drug Administration, a powerful government agency, decided to, at great personal risk, violate an unjust law. For over a month, Farm Food Freedom Coalition planned their Raw Milk Freedom Ride to the headquarters of the FDA.
Yesterday, the Raw Milk Freedom Riders, a convoy of thirty vans and cars festooned with raw milk slogans, traveled from Maryland to Pennsylvania, where they picked up coolers of raw milk from a farmer. Then, they traveled back over the state line again to intentionally violate a federal ban on the interstate transportation of raw milk for human consumption.
Of course, tanker trucks full raw milk cross state lines all the time, and the FDA has no problem with it when the milk is headed towards a pasteurization plant. But, a new market is emerging, as more families find heat treated milk intolerable, they are seeking out an unprocessed, humanely produced product from a grass based, traditional dairy.
States like Maryland, where public health officials hold sway over the agricultural officials, raw milk moms are forced to violate the federal ban to provide good nutrition to their children.
Sally Fallon Morell, President of the Weston A. Price Foundation said to the demonstrators, “Our children need this milk. We can’t go another generation on the highly processed foods of industry.”
Joel Salatin, of Polyface Farm, echoed her sentiments, saying what a shame that in America junk food is considered safe, but a wholesome natural product like milk is branded as dangerous. “Hey, Folks,This Ain’t Normal!“, he emphasized, which just happens to be the title of his new book.
Over 150 people from states as far away as Minnesota, Kentucky, New Jersey, and Massachusetts showed up to the rally. A woman from Minnesota boasted that she had brought raw milk across many state lines to stand up for her rights.
Raw milk dairy farmer, Mark McAfee said to the crowd, “there are two distinctly different raw milks in America, milk that is produced in a factory setting, and milk that is produced on pasture, on green grass, with sunshine. The first needs to be pasteurized, the second doesn’t.”
A dairy farmer from Ontario Canada was a special guest speaker at the rally. He is currently found guilty of 15 criminal counts of violating the law for his raw dairy program which serves a small group of investors in his farm. Michael Schmidt of Glencolton Farm is now on his 34th day of his hunger strike, but he did have one swig of raw milk at the rally to celebrate the intrepid raw milk riders.
Michael responded to the concerns, expressed by many, that his hunger strike may end his life if he fails to get his requested meeting with the Premiere of Ontario. Supporters fear this would mean the loss of his critical leadership to the food rights movement. Michael made the point that each of us needs to defend our rights, as individuals. We are not to look to our leaders to do it for us.
A U.S. citizen from Wisconsin, Max Kane, who is also embroiled in a legal battle over his raw milk and farm foods buying club, spoke to those assembled about not living in fear. “We must decide what is our why? Why must each of us as individuals fight for our rights? My “why” is that I don’t want to look at my children someday, and say Daddy didn’t defend your freedom when he had the chance.”
A young man who described himself as a vegan drank raw milk for the first time at the protest. He said, “Most vegans eat this way because they object to factory farming. But this product is just the opposite.”
An important step forward was made public for the first time at the event. Carolyn Moffa, who works for Senator Rand Paul (R, KY) announced on his behalf, that he is introducing a bill into the US Senate which would lift the ban on interstate transportation of raw milk. The bill is a companion bill to HR 1830, already introduced by his father, Congressman and Presidential Candidate, Ron Paul (R, TX).
Pete Kennedy, President of the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund FTCLDF, in his remarks, exclaimed, “How do you know when we’ve got a bad law? When thousands of otherwise law abiding citizens are breaking it on a weekly basis.” Last year, the FTCLDF filed a lawsuit to end the ban, and in August, the judge decided that the case would proceed, in spite of a motion to dismiss the case filed by the FDA attorneys.
See today’s related post with all the media coverage of the event.