In a letter sent Monday to the full House of Representatives, IDFA and the National Milk Producers Federation urged lawmakers to reject proposed federal legislation that would allow the direct sale of raw milk across state lines. The letter, addressed to House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) with copies to all House members, warned that additional availability of raw milk would increase the number of illnesses and deaths of people who consume it.
The “Milk Freedom Act of 2014” and the “Interstate Milk Freedom Act of 2014” were both introduced by Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) on March 26. The Milk Freedom Act of 2014, H.R. 4307, would prohibit the federal government from regulating the direct sale of raw milk, thereby allowing it to be sold across state lines. The Interstate Milk Freedom Act of 2014, H.R. 4308, would prohibit federal regulations on the direct sale of raw milk across boundaries of two adjacent states where the sale of raw milk is legal.
IDFA and NMPF said repealing the interstate ban would greatly increase the production and consumption of a known health hazard.
“Removing regulations for the interstate sale of raw milk in the United States increases the risk to public health, opening up consumers to the inevitable consequence of falling victim to a foodborne illness,” they said in the letter. “No matter how carefully it is produced and no matter how well-intentioned the dairy farmer, the direct consumption of raw milk is an inherently dangerous practice. Americans have become ill after consuming raw milk obtained from farms of varying sizes, from cow-share programs, and from licenses, permitted, or certified raw milk producers.”
In addition, the letter noted that no claims related to the health benefits of consuming raw milk have been substantiated in medical literature, and the perception that raw milk sales will help small farmers is erroneous.
“The benefits of consuming raw milk are illusory, but the painful costs of illness and decreased quality of life are very real,” they concluded.
IDFA will continue its opposition to the sale of raw milk on both the federal and state level.
For more information, contact Ruth Saunders, IDFA vice president of policy and legislative affairs, at firstname.lastname@example.org.