Congressman Thomas Massie (Republican–KY), Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (Democrat –ME) and a bipartisan coalition of 18 other lawmakers have introduced legislation to improve consumer food choices, including access to raw milk, and to protect local farmers from federal interference. The two bills – the Milk Freedom of Act of 2014 and the Interstate Milk Freedom Act of 2014 – are the first in Massie’s series of “food freedom” bills he plans to introduce.
Massie has a unique perspective: “As a producer of grass-fed beef, I am familiar with some of the difficulties small farmers face when marketing fresh food directly to consumers. Our bills would make it easier for families to buy wholesome milk directly from farmers by reversing the criminalization of dairy farmers who offer raw milk,” said Massie. “The federal government should not punish farmers for providing customers the foods they want, and states should be free to set their own laws regulating food safety.”
Although Congress has never passed legislation banning raw milk, the federal Food and Drug Administration has used their regulatory authority to prosecute farmers for selling raw milk. Raw milk is fresh milk that has not been pasteurized and contain beneficial nutrients that have not been eliminated by the pasteurization process.
The Milk Freedom Act of 2014 would provide relief to local farmers, small producers and others who have been harassed, fined and in some cases even prosecuted for the “crime” of distributing unpasteurized milk. This bill would prohibit the federal government from interfering with the interstate traffic of raw milk products.
Likewise, the Interstate Milk Freedom Act of 2014 would prevent the federal government from interfering with trade of unpasteurized, natural milk or milk products between states where distribution or sale of such products is already legal.