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Rep. Ron Paul Introduces Bill to Allow Interstate Sales of Raw Milk

May 18, 2011

Representative Ron Paul (R-TX) last week introduced H.R. 1830, a bill that would allow sales of unpasteurized, or raw, milk for human consumption to cross state lines. Although the Food and Drug Administration currently prohibits interstate sales, several states have laws permitting these sales within their borders.

IDFA strongly supports the guidance from FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that calls for everyone to avoid drinking raw milk, because it may contain dangerous bacteria, such as E. coli, Listeria moncytogenes and Salmonella, which can cause life-threatening illness.

Paul, who just last week announced his candidacy for President of the United States, disagrees. "Americans have the right to consume these products without having the federal government second-guess their judgment about what products best promote health," he said. "If there are legitimate concerns about the safety of unpasteurized milk, those concerns should be addressed at the state and local level."

IDFA opposes any federal or state legislation aimed at legalizing the sale of raw milk to consumers. On Monday, IDFA and the National Milk Producers Federation sent a joint email detailing the facts about raw milk to every U.S. House and Senate office. {link to letter} The email noted that 85 outbreaks of illness from 1998 to 2008 were caused by raw milk consumption; these outbreaks affected 1,614 people, causing 187 hospitalizations and two deaths.

"While consumer choice is an important value, it should not pre-empt public health and well-being," the email said. "Legalizing the sale of raw milk and raw milk products to consumers, either through direct sale or through cow-share programs, represents an unnecessary risk to consumer safety."

In related news, supporters of raw milk staged a protest on Monday outside the U.S. Capitol Building to push back against government regulations that restrict the sale of raw milk. They milked a jersey cow and donned homemade t-shirts, but their efforts didn't garner a significant amount of attention.

For more information, contact Ruth Saunders, IDFA vice president of policy and legislative affairs, at or (202) 220-3553.


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