Monday, December 29, 2014

Closing the loop on raw milk legislation

Earlier this year I blogged several times about raw milk and the movement advocating drinking it. One of those posts mentioned the Milk Freedom Act of 2014, a bill introduced by Rep. Thomas Massie of Kentucky, which, if passed, would have
Prohibit[ed] 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.
Just to circle back and check up on the status of the bill, it seems to have gone nowhere. The only echoes that came up in a quick Google search were comments attributed to Massie at a meeting called the "Food Freedom Fest" in September. The comments appear on a food rights and raw milk blog by David Gumpert:
U.S. Congressman Thomas Massie . . . was pessimistic about the chances of actually passing anything in the House of Representatives. Indeed, it isn’t even likely the legislation will get a hearing. “The dairy industry went apoplectic when we introduced the legislation,” he said. “My wife said she didn’t know the lactose industry was so intolerant.” . . . Massie told me after his talk that the best chance to get raw milk legislation through Congress and into law would be as part of some other appropriations bill guaranteed passage. Even that route is a long shot, he said, since not many appropriations bills are likely to get through in the coming year or so.
An alternate interpretation of these comments could be that a bill at odds with the basic tenants of food safety and that would place public health at risk if passed was opposed by corporations who have invested immensely in an infrastructure to deliver safe food. The only way that the bill might get passed is if it piggy backs onto a large appropriations bill, but that probably won't happen because the Congress isn't doing much these days anyway.

So, we can all rest well knowing that the Milk Freedom Act of 2014 will never see the light of day. Thank goodness for a Congress that perfected the art of doing little.

(image source: David Hartley)

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