During the 1920s and ‘30s, the U.S. government ratified the 18th Amendment, making it illegal to manufacture, sell, or transport alcohol.
This law, widely known as Prohibition, started an entire subculture of bootleggers and speak-easies.
Prohibition is also blamed for the rise of organized crime, turning big cities into battlefields.
The law was repealed in 1933, with the passing of the 21st amendment, when President Roosevelt said, “I think it’s time for a good beer.”
Now, nearly 80 years later, it seems the country may be headed back into a modern-day era of Prohibition. This time, it is not alcohol on the chopping block, but rather raw milk.
The Raw Milk Controversy
Raw milk is milk that has not been pasteurized or homogenized. The safety of consuming this type of milk has been hotly debated for some time.
Proponents of raw milk claim that the pasteurization process destroys most of the health benefits of the milk. Also, if produced in a hygienic environment, raw milk is just as safe as it’s pasteurized counterpart.
Opponents claim that no matter what type of environment raw milk is produced, it is risky to consume. Most government agencies agree with this claim. The CDC and USDA both advocate the consumption of pasteurized milk over raw milk. The FDA not only advocates the consumption pasteurized milk, but has also gone as far as confiscating raw milk deliveries and raiding raw milk dairy farms.
One such raid occurred to an Amish farmer in Pennsylvania in 2010.
The Raw Milk Sting Operation
The entire investigation started in 2009, when the FDA caught wind of the Farmer, Dan Allgyer, supplying raw milk to residents in Washington D.C. and Maryland. Over the course of the following year, undercover agents placed orders for the raw milk and had them delivered to residences in Maryland.
The entire scene sounds like it came directly from the The Untouchables. FDA agents,
“. . . placed orders for unpasteurized cow milk on 23 occasions…Payment for each purchase was made in the form of a money order payable to Dan Allgyer. Payment was either mailed to Allgyer or left inside a zip closure bag that was located at the pick-up site in Maryland. FDA investigators picked up each unpasteurized milk order at various private residences in Maryland.”
The FDA then visited the Allgyer’s farm and discovered further evidence:
“Numerous portable coolers in the Defendant’s driveway and a walk-in cooler/freezer on the property that contained products that appeared to be milk and other assorted dairy products. The coolers were labeled with the names of various locations within Maryland, including ‘Takoma Park,’ ‘Bethesda,’ ‘Bowie,’ and ‘Silver Springs’.”
The FDA claims that because the raw milk is crossing state lines it is subject to interstate commerce laws and filed an injunction prohibiting Allgyer to distribute the raw milk to those residences.
However, it is necessary to point out that even after Allgyer changed his practices as instructed by turning his farm into a co-op to pull out of any raw milk controversy with the feds, the FDA still confiscated the raw milk shipments.
FDA’s War Against Raw Milk
Allgyer’s farm is only one example. The FDA has targeted several raw milk dairies in recent years in the name of public safety. Yet, many people wonder, with its use of excessive measures over these mom-and-pop dairies, who is the FDA really protecting?
The FDA has been accused of playing favorites over the years. The FDA claims that it is:
“…responsible for protecting the public health by assuring the safety, efficacy and security of human and veterinary drugs, biological products, medical devices, our nation’s food supply, cosmetics, and products that emit radiation.”
With that being said, The FDA’s actions in some cases seem to prove that the regulatory administration is actually on the side of pharmaceutical companies and big business rather than the general public’s.
A veterinarian dismissed from the Food and Drug Administration, Richard J. Burroughs, confirmed this fact when he reported:
“It used to be that we had a review process at the Food and Drug Administration. Now we have an approval process. I don’t think the F.D.A. is doing good, honest reviews. They’ve become an extension of the drug industry.”
Though he was fired from the FDA, Burroughs may have a point. It was discovered that the FDA did in fact cover-up the negative effects of rBGH, a growth hormone used on 17% percent of cows found in the U.S. On a global scale, the U.S. is the only developed country in the world that has not banned the use of the rBGH.
The FDA’s True Priorities
If the FDA could make a decision to allow rBGH to be used in American cattle, how can the American public trust the FDA’s decision to tackle raw milk?
Furthermore, it seems that raw milk, if produced properly, is much safer than milk tainted with rBGH.
Nevertheless, no matter what side of the fence you are on in the raw milk controversy, there is an underlying element that should concern us all as Americans: Do we really want a nanny-state dictatorship telling us what to eat and drink?
I think it is one of our inalienable rights to decide what we will or will not eat or drink. In fact, I think that it’s high time for a good . . . glass of milk.