Consumers Petition FDA for Labels Instead of Raids

Farm food advocacy group appeals to FDA for labels on raw milk products

“This petition asks the FDA to accept such labeling for raw milk products, as an alternative to its draconian prosecution of Amish farmers and others who for centuries have produced and consumed raw milk products."  - Jonathan Emord, Attorney

WASHINGTON, D.C., USA, May 4, 2017 -- Advocates for direct farm-to-consumer food rights, the Real Food Consumer Coalition (RFCC), have filed a petition with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). RFCC requests that the agency allow strong warning labels on raw milk products instead of hindering consumer access. Emord and Associates, filed the petition with the FDA on April 26, 2017. According to RFCC spokesperson, Liz Reitzig, “Consumers want the right to choose unpasteurized milk and milk products after weighing the risks.”

The proposed label would warn consumers to heat their raw milk so as to home pasteurize it, and thereby reduce the risk of illness from possible contamination.

Citing cases of four farmers hit with “extremely burdensome” costs associated with FDA enforcement of a ban on interstate sales, RFCC says it filed the petition in part to comply with an executive order by President Trump to reduce burdensome federal regulations.

The FDA position is that raw milk is unsafe and should not be consumed for any reason. The petition argues that labels would “reduce the risk of food-borne illness by providing proper handling instructions.” By recognizing this, the petition claims, consumers retain access and choice while keeping a firm emphasis on food safety.

“At root, the FDA’s regulations aim exclusively at milk, and not a whole host of other foods, like raw sushi, sashimi, meat, fruit, and vegetable products, demanding that milk alone be pasteurized to be sold interstate,” says Jonathan Emord, the attorney representing RFCC. “That discriminatory burden is unjustified when disclosure of full information about self-pasteurization can be put on the label to aid consumers of raw milk.”

“It’s a win-win for freedom of choice and the FDA. As a mother, I can legally purchase alcohol and cigarettes with a label. I should be able to purchase something as healthy as fresh milk from a farmer I know and love.” says Reitzig. “These labels meet all the stated concerns of those who oppose raw milk. We are all capable of making these decisions given the proper information and the labels provide that.”

The group is expecting an answer to their petition in the 180-day time frame allocated by the FDA.

Real Food Consumer Coalition formed in response to ongoing government investigations of several farmers. Please visit the fundraising page to contribute to our cause.