Demonstrators protest raw-milk regulations at FDA
While most grab a gallon from the grocery store, others prefer their milk straight from the source and unpasteurized – but regulations criminalize both buyers and sellers.
Dozens of protestors who want the right to buy raw-milk gathered at the FDA Tuesday to highlight the restrictions on selling and consuming raw-milk products.
Frederick county resident Leah Mack was part of the crowd, who chanted slogans like “hey, hey FDA, raw milk is here to stay.”
“This is America where I should be able to choose my own food and whether they think it is a risk or not is irrelevant. I've done the research myself, and I have chosen,” Mack said.
Since 1987, it has been illegal to transport raw milk across state lines. Pasteurization of milk was adopted to kill bacteria and eliminate the risk of getting sick, the FDA says.
Mack says she decided to consume raw milk over the storebought kind years ago to improve her health, which worked.
“I wasn't getting bronchitis, I wasn't getting UTI's, my back pain went away even,” she described the effect of the switch.
Karine Bouis-Towe, co-founder of the farm food freedom coalition, followed a similar path. To keep the supply of raw milk flowing, she had to create a buying club that now includes 500 families in the D.C.-region.
While some states allow the sale of raw milk, Maryland does not.
“We get our milk from Pennsylvania, so we have to cross state lines. So the farmer has to take the risk to cross state lines in order to get milk to the consumers who are demanding it,” Bouis-Towe said.
That Pennsylvania farmer is now under close watch.
“He's had several raids on his farm, he’s been threatened with a cease and desist order, and that's something else that we're protesting today, we think that these charges should be dropped, that they're ridiculous,” Bouis-Towe said.
Law enforcement kept an eye on the group, but the rally remained peaceful, even as raw milk continued to come in, along with the raw-milk freedom riders who started their journey in Pennsylvania.
The FDA released a food safety note saying its position is shared by the Centers for Disease Control and the American Academy of Pediatricians.
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