Friday, March 10, 2017 by Vicki Batts
Recently, a bill to legalize the retail sale of raw milk was introduced to the Rhode Island Senate. Currently, Rhode Island is one of just eight states that has a total ban on the sale of raw milk, but this new piece of legislation seeks to change their rigid stance, and simultaneously eschew the federal government’s prohibition of raw milk.
Republican Senator Nicholas Kettle has worked alongside four other senators of various political leanings to introduce Senate Bill 247, which saw daylight on Februray 15. Now, the bill has been referred to the Senate Environment and Agriculture Committee.
Ten other states presently allow the retail sale of raw milk, and hopefully, Rhode Island will soon be number eleven. Eighteen states permit the sale of raw milk on farms only, and another six states have herd-share agreements.
Surely the FDA is not pleased with this, as the agency has made raw milk out to be nothing short of criminal. In 2011, agency spokesperson, Tamara N. Ward stated, “It is the FDA’s position that raw milk should never be consumed.”
Their position, however, is more than just a matter of opinion: the FDA has taken it upon themselves time and time again to try to legislate their will into action, by denying American citizens the right to choose what they want to eat or drink. In a 2010 court case with the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund (FTCLDF) , the FDA even went so far as to proclaim, “Plaintiffs’ assertion of a ‘fundamental right to their own bodily and physical health, which includes what foods they do and do not choose to consume for themselves and their families’ is similarly unavailing because plaintiffs do not have a fundamental right to obtain any food they wish.”
The FDA does not believe that any individual has the right to food freedom — we only have the freedom to select what we want from what they approve of. This so-called “concern” about the safety of raw milk coming from the same agency that allows toxic food dyes derived from coal tar and petroleum to be put into foods is laughable.
Not only do federal agencies declare the right to ban interstate transport of raw milk, they actually believe they have the right to ban the sale of raw milk within state borders. In another response to the FTCLDF, the FDA stated, “It is within HHS’s authority…to institute an intrastate ban [on unpasteurized milk] as well.”
Several studies have shown that raw milk is in many ways safer and more beneficial than conventional pasteurized milk. In fact, a large study conducted in Europe has shown that consuming raw milk helps to boost immunity and decrease inflammation. Conversely, the same study found that consuming pasteurized milk increased inflammation. Raw milk consumption was associated with a substantial 30 percent reduction in risk of respiratory infections and fevers in children, and was even found to help children fight off infections.
So what is the problem with raw milk, exactly? Perhaps its just that the FDA isn’t the noble government agency it purports itself to be. Perhaps, as Mike Adams suggests, the prohibition of raw milk has nothing to do with the alleged dangers of the product, and everything to do with Big Dairy seeking to protect their profit margins.
At least one thing is certain: the federal government loves prohibition, especially when it comes to natural products. Raw milk, cannabis, hemp, you name it and they’ve got reason to dislike it. Fortunately, more and more states are recognizing their own autonomy and disregarding nonsensical federal prohibition on these products and instituting their own common sense legislation.