Prohibits a federal department, agency, or court from taking any action that would prohibit, regulate, or otherwise restrict the interstate traffic of milk or a milk product that is unpasteurized and packaged for direct human consumption if such action is based solely upon a determination that because the milk or milk product is unpasteurized it is adulterated, misbranded, or otherwise in violation of federal law.The second bill, the “Interstate Milk Freedom Act of 2014”
Prohibits a federal department, agency, or court from taking any action that would prohibit, regulate, or otherwise restrict the interstate traffic of milk or a milk product that is unpasteurized and packaged for direct human consumption if: (1) such action is based solely upon a determination that because the milk or milk product is unpasteurized it is adulterated, misbranded, or otherwise in violation of federal law; (2) the milk or milk product's state of origin allows unpasteurized milk or unpasteurized milk products to be distributed for direct human consumption by any means; (3) the milk or milk product is produced, packaged, and moved in compliance with the laws of such state of origin; and (4) the milk or milk product is moved from the state of origin for transport to another state which allows the distribution of unpasteurized milk or unpasteurized milk products for direct human consumption.The rationale for the two bills? Personal liberty. Politico quotes Rep. Massie as saying
Today, many people are paying more attention to the food they eat, what it contains, and how it is processed. Raw milk, which has been with us for thousands of years, is making a comeback among these discerning consumers. Personal choices as basic as ‘what we feed our families’ should not be limited by the federal government. [Emphasis added.]It's an argument that has been heard before.
It's important to understand how individuals advocating such positions evaluate the choice between the "right" to endanger themselves and those around them (e.g., children and others to whom they serve raw milk) versus the right to personal and public safety. Certainly this choice exists in other areas of human behavior and legislative decisions have been made to protect public and individual health. For example, drinking and driving is not legal. Nor is driving without a seatbelt in many states. Smoking in public places is strongly curtailed for public health and other reasons. One doesn't have the right to manufacture or possess substances like ricin that are dangerous to self and others.
Why are some more passionate about having access to potentially harmful and deadly raw milk than avoiding infections that can come from it? If you feed raw milk to a child or other individual who doesn't have the capacity or capability to evaluate the risk, isn't that unethical? I've yet to meet anyone who really embraces the prospect of E. coli associated dysentery followed by HUS and renal failure. We must do better as educators and communicate the dangers more effectively, and we must do better at listening so that we can truly understand what raw milk advocates are threatened by.
(image source: Wikimedia Commons)