The FDA’s powers are increasing and farmers should be worried
By Brent Daggett
Contributing writer for End the Lie
With all of the raids the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has conducted on small and Amish farm owners over recent years, where is some of the outcry from our senators and representatives to preserve the backbone of the nation’s food supply?
Editor’s note: Keep in mind, we’re talking about the FDA here, the same agency which allegedly spies upon its employees when they blow the whistle on corrupt and dangerous devices being approved. Furthermore, the entire federal government has become so incredibly intertwined with the industries they are supposed to regulate, it has almost become a joke. One of the most blatant and disturbing examples is the Obama White House blocking the release of a memo from a Monsanto-linked lobbyist.
Sadly, the answer is practically nonexistent as the abuse is running rampant and it is probably not going to stop any time soon thanks to a law that was passed by the FDA and signed by President Obama.
The following is the FDA’s official press release on the subject:
“FDA issues first new rules under Food Safety Modernization Act
Rules to prevent potentially unsafe food from reaching consumers
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today announced two new regulations that will help ensure the safety and security of foods in the United States. The rules are the first to be issued by the FDA under the new authorities granted the agency by the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), signed into law by President Obama in January. Both rules will take effect July 3, 2011.
The first rule strengthens FDA’s ability to prevent potentially unsafe food from entering commerce. It allows the FDA to administratively detain food the agency believes has been produced under insanitary or unsafe conditions. Previously, the FDA’s ability to detain food products applied only when the agency had credible evidence that a food product presented was contaminated or mislabeled in a way that presented a threat of serious adverse health consequences or death to humans or animals.
Beginning July, the FDA will be able to detain food products that it has reason to believe are adulterated or misbranded for up to 30 days, if needed, to ensure they are kept out of the marketplace. The products will be kept out of the marketplace while the agency determines whether an enforcement action such as seizure or federal injunction against distribution of the product in commerce, is necessary.
Before this new rule, the FDA would often work with state agencies to embargo a food product under the state’s legal authority until federal enforcement action could be initiated in federal court. In keeping with other provisions in the FSMA, FDA will continue to work with state agencies on food safety and build stronger ties with those agencies.
“This authority strengthens significantly the FDA’s ability to keep potentially harmful food from reaching U.S. consumers,” said FDA Deputy Commissioner for Foods Mike Taylor. “It is a prime example of how the new food safety law allows FDA to build prevention into our food safety system.”
The second rule requires anyone importing food into the United States to inform the FDA if any country has refused entry to the same product, including food for animals. This new requirement will provide the agency with more information about foods that are being imported, which improves the FDA’s ability to target foods that may pose a significant risk to public health. This new reporting requirement will be administered through the FDA’s prior notice system for incoming shipments of imported food established under the Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002.
With prior notice, in the event of a credible threat for a specific product or a specific manufacturer or processor, the FDA is able to mobilize and assist in the detention and removal of products that may pose a serious health threat to humans or animals.
“The new information on imports can help the FDA make better informed decisions in managing the potential risks of imported food entering the United States,” Taylor said. “These rules will be followed later this year and next year by a series of proposed rules for both domestic and imported food that will help the FDA continue building the new food safety system called for by Congress.”
The issuance of these rules is the latest accomplishment of FDA in implementing the new food safety law. In April, the FDA launched a consumer-friendly web search engine for recall information and issued the first annual report to Congress describing FDA’s activities in protecting the U.S. food supply. FDA also released a guidance document to the seafood industry on ways to reduce or eliminate food safety hazards.
In addition, since the law was signed, the FDA has held two large public meetings with industry and consumer groups on the import and preventive control provisions of the law, and reached out extensively to partners in other federal, state, and foreign governments.”
Of course with vague language there is reason to believe anyone could be considered suspect and some know it all too well, just read about Raw Milk Farmer Daniel Allgyer (articles can be seen at Huffington Post and Reason magazine).
This incident prompted Ron Paul to create legislation, but like most of his attempts at preserving what we may have left of liberty, hardly anyone listened.
“To authorize the interstate traffic of unpasteurized milk and milk products that are packaged for direct human consumption.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
“SECTION 1. INTERSTATE TRAFFIC OF UNPASTEURIZED MILK AND MILK PRODUCTS.
(a) Sale Allowed- Notwithstanding the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (21 U.S.C. 301 et seq.), section 361 of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 264), and any regulations or other guidance issued under such Act or section, a Federal department, agency, or court may not take any action (such as administrative, civil, criminal, or other actions) that would prohibit, interfere with, regulate, or otherwise restrict the interstate traffic of milk, or a milk product, that is unpasteurized and packaged for direct human consumption, if such restriction is based on the determination that, solely because such milk or milk product is unpasteurized, such milk or milk product is adulterated, misbranded, or otherwise in violation of Federal law.
(b) Definitions- In this section, the following definitions apply:
(1) The terms ‘interstate traffic’, ‘milk’, and ‘milk product’ have the meanings given those terms in section 1240.3 of title 21, Code of Federal Regulations (as in effect on the date of enactment of this Act).
(2) The term ‘packaged for direct human consumption’ means milk and milk products that are packaged for the final consumer and intended for human consumption. Such term does not include milk and milk products that are packaged for additional processing, including pasteurization, before being consumed by humans.
(3) The term ‘pasteurized’ means the process of heating milk and milk products to the applicable temperature specified in the tables contained in section 1240.61 of title 21, Code of Federal Regulations (or successor regulations), and held continuously at or above that temperature for at least the corresponding specified time in such tables.”
Raw milk does actually have health benefits as explored by an article in Reuters by Frederik Joelving from September 13, 2012: NEW YORChildren who drink raw milk are less likely to develop asthma and allergies than those who stick to the safer pasteurized version, according to a large European study.
Here are some passages from the article:
“The consumption of raw milk is a double-edged sword,” Georg Loss, a researcher with the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute in Basel who worked on the study, told Reuters Health by email.
Loss and his colleagues tapped into a large survey in which parents answered questions about their children’s milk consumption. The researchers also collected 800 milk samples from the participants’ households.
Compared with kids who only drank store-bought milk, those who drank raw milk had a 41-percent reduction in their odds of developing asthma. They were also only about half as likely to develop hay fever — even after accounting for other factors that might be relevant.
“Pasteurization remains an effective tool to inactivate harmful microorganisms but may simultaneously destroy whey proteins,” said Loss. “The results may give rise to technological developments aiming to destroy harmful microorganisms but preserving beneficial components of milk. The ultimate aim is to use a safe and protective milk for prevention of asthma.”
Let’s turn our focus to where it’s legal and illegal for raw milk.
Here is a state by state look that can be viewed on realrawmilkfacts.com:
State-by-State Regulations by Point-of-Sale, United States
|Farm Sales (17 states, 13 with special restrictions)|
|Restrict legal sales of raw milk to only on the farm where milk is produced. Entries with (*) have additional regulations||*AK, *AR, *CO, *IL, *KS, *KY, MA, *MN, *MS, NE, NY, *OR, *OK, *RI, *TN, TX, *WI|
|Sales of raw milk further restricted to only incidental occurrences (i.e., occasional; not as a regular course of business; no advertising)||MN, WI, OK, IL|
|Allows sales through herd leasing programs (cowshares, goatshares)||AK, CO, TN|
|Allows sales directly to the consumer on the farm with minimal on-farm advertising.||KS|
|Goat milk only (**=requires a prescription from a physician)||AR (see special regulations), **KY, MS, **RI|
|Have a coliform standard for milk sold only on-farm||MA, NY, OR, TX|
|On-farm sales of raw cow’s milk only from farms with no more than two producing cows, nine producing sheep and/or 9 producing goats. (See retail section for additional information)||OR|
|Retail Sales Separate from Farm (16 states, 6 with special restrictions)|
|Allow sale of raw milk at retail stores separate from the farm. Entries with (*) have additional regulations||AZ, CA, CT, ID, ME, *MO, NH, NM, NV, *OR, PA, *SC, *SD, *UT, *VT, WA, PA, *SC, *SD
|Requires the store to be owned by the producer (can be located off of the farm)||UT|
|Allows sale of raw milk both on and off the farm and at a farmers’ market if a permit is obtained. Farmers must provide retail stores with a warning plaque to be displayed in front of the raw milk.||SC|
|Only goat milk is allowed at retail off farm (See farm sale section for additional information)||OR|
|In addition to selling raw milk on the farm, If farmers comply with further standards, they are also allowed to deliver to retail stores. Raw milk sales are prohibited at farmers’ markets and advertising is not restricted.||VT|
|Allows farmers to deliver to farmers’ market but not to stores.||MO, SD|
|Raw Milk Sales Prohibited (18 states)|
|Sale of raw milk is prohibited. Entries with (*) have additional regulations||AL, DE, FL, GA, HI, IN, IA, LA, MD, MI, MT, NJ, NC, ND, OH, VA, WV, WY NJ, NC, ND, OH
On May 23, 2012 Rand introduced amendment 2143, which was added to the Food and Drug Administration User Fee Reauthorization bill in order to curve FDA abuses.
Rand’s speech goes as follows:
“President, today I’m offering an amendment to the FDA. I’m troubled by images of armed agents raiding Amish farms and preventing them selling milk directly from the cow. I think we have bigger problems in our country than sending armed FDA agents into peaceful farmers’ land and telling them they can’t sell milk directly from the cow.
My amendment has three parts. First, it attempts to stop the FDA’s overzealous regulations of vitamins, food and supplements by codifying the first amendment prohibition on prior restraint. What do I mean by that?
The first amendment says you can’t prevent speech, even commercial speech, in advance of the speech. You can’t tell cheerios that they can’t say there’s a health benefit to their Cheerios. Under our current FDA laws, FDA says if you want to market prune juice, you can’t say that it cures constipation.
You can’t make a health claim about a food supplement or about a vitamin, you can do it about a pharmaceutical, but you’re not allowed to do it about a health supplement.
I think this should change. There have been several court cases that show this goes against not only the spirit but the letter of the law of the First Amendment. So this amendment would change that.
This amendment would stop the FDA from censoring claims about curative, mitigative effects of dietary supplements. It would also stop the FDA from prohibiting distribution of scientific articles and publications regarding the role of nutrients in protecting against disease.
Despite four court orders condemning the practice as a violation of the First Amendment, the FDA continues to suppress consumers’ right to be informed and to make informed choices by denying them this particular information. It’s time for Congress to put an end to FDA censorship.
Second, my amendment would disarm the FDA.
Now, some of you might be surprised the FDA is armed. Well, you shouldn’t be.
We have nearly 40 federal agencies that are armed. I’m not against having police, I’m not against the army, the military, the FBI, but I think bureaucrats don’t need to be carrying weapons and I think what we ought to do, is if there is a need for an armed policeman to be there, the FBI who are trained to do this should do it. But I don’t think it’s a good idea to be arming bureaucrats to go on the farm to, with arms, to stop people from selling milk from a cow.
I think we have too many armed federal agencies, and that we need to put an end to this. Criminal law seems to be increasing, increasingly is using a tool of our government bureaucracy to punish and control honest businessmen for simply attempting to make a living.
Historically the criminal law was intended to punish only the most horrible offenses that everyone agreed were inherently wrong or evil, offenses like rape, murder, theft, arson – but now we’ve basically federalized thousands of activities and called them crimes.
If bureaucrats need to involve the police, let’s have them use the FBI, but I see no reason to have the FDA carrying weapons.
Today the criminal law is used to punish behavior such as even fishing without a permit, packaging a product incorrectly or shipping something with an improper label.
Simply said, the federal government’s gone too far.
The plain language of our Constitution specifies very few federal crimes. In fact, the Constitution originally only had four federal crimes and now we have thousands of federal crimes.
We’ve moved beyond the original intent of the Constitution. We don’t even know or have a complete list of all the federal crimes. It’s estimated there are over 4,000, but no one has an exact number.
Finally, my amendment will require adequate mens rea protection. In other words, when you have a crime, you’re supposed to prove the intent. People have to have intended to harm someone, it can’t be an honest mistake where a businessman or woman have broken a regulation and didn’t intend to harm someone. If you want to convict someone of a crime and put them in jail, it should be a mens rea requirement.
This is something we have had for hundreds of years, it comes out of our common-law tradition.
This amendment would fix this problem by strengthening the mens rea component of each of the prohibited acts and the FDA acts by including the words “knowing” and “willful” before we address and accuse someone of a crime.
This I think would give protection to folks who are guilty of inadvertently guilty of breaking a regulation and would keep from overflowing our jails. We’ve got plenty of violent criminals without putting people in for honest breaches of regulations. If Congress is going to criminalize conduct at the federal level as it does with the FDA act, the least it can do have is have an adequate mens rea requirement. My amendment will attempt to do this.
It’s not that we won’t have rules at the federal level, but the rules ought to be reasonable. We ought to allow people to market vitamins. There’s no earthly reason why somebody who markets prune juice can’t advertise it helps with constipation.
We’ve gone too far, and we’ve abrogated the First Amendment and what we need to do is tell the FDA that the courts have ruled that the First Amendment does apply to commercial speech and the FDA has been overstepping their bounds.”
While it’s important to view Rand’s logic behind the attempted legislation, let’s dive into what exactly each component states.
“Part I: Health Freedom Act –
The amendment forces the FDA to at last comply with the commands of Congress, the First Amendment, numerous federal courts, and the American people by codifying the First Amendment prohibition on prior restraint.
Stops the FDA from censoring truthful claims about the curative, mitigative, or preventative effects of dietary supplements.
Stops the FDA from prohibiting the distribution of scientific articles and publications regarding the role of nutrients in protecting against disease.
Amends the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA) to deem a food to be misbranded only when its label includes a claim adjudicated to be false and/or misleading.
Part II: Prohibitions on FDA Officials Carrying Firearms and Making Arrests Without Warrants
This section disarms FDA agents (and any and all employees of HHS).
Part III: Mens Rea Component/Reform -
This section amends the “Prohibited acts” section of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (21 USC § 331) to strengthen the mens rea (“guilty mind”) component of each of the prohibited acts. It adds the words “knowing and willful” to each of the prohibitions.”
One would think, or at least hope, that Rand’s proposal would pass.
However, it failed 78 to 15.
Hopefully, this does not deter Rand from reintroducing this legislation.
While some levels of regulation are appropriate, and is to be expected as some individuals can get sick off raw milk (as revealed by CDC studies), let’s not forget all the controversy with Monsanto’s food monopoly or big pharmaceutical industry, better known as “big pharma.”
After all if we are not allowed to choose what we can put into our body, especially sustenance wise, then how truly free are we?
The following is from Farm to Consumer:
“Why We Need Cow or Goat-Share Programs
Healthy raw milk is available in stores in California, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and New Mexico. In many other states you can buy milk directly from farmers at the farm. However, in some states, such sales are illegal; a farmer can lose his or her Grade A license and even go to jail for selling consumers unprocessed milk directly. In these states, consumers have been able to obtain raw milk directly from farmers by purchasing a share in a cow, goat or in the whole herd. Even in states where sales of raw milk are legal, the permits (or inspection fees) are often very expensive. Cow or goat-share programs allow farmers to provide raw milk to consumers without cumbersome and expensive paperwork mandated by the state.
How Cow or Goat-Share Programs Work
The consumer purchases a share in a milk cow, goat or dairy herd. The farmer and the consumer enter into a contract whereby the farmer feeds and boards the animal and provides the labor to milk the animal and store the consumer’s milk. Such contracts are legal and valid, as guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States of America. The consumer does not buy milk from the farmer. Rather, they pay the farmer for the service of keeping the cow or goat and his labor for milking and processing the milk into value added products such as butter, cream, cheese, etc. However, they may directly purchase other products from the farm, such as eggs, vegetables and meat.
Cow and goat-share programs protect the farmer from liability since the animal belongs to the consumer and the consumer is drinking the milk from their own animal.”