Raw Milk Dairy Farm Fights Back and Wins!
This past summer, ongoing investigations and heavily armed raids on small dairies across the country were carried out by the FDA over licensing or regulatory infractions. Rarely was agency action prompted due to unsafe food since many of the targeted farms have excellent, if not perfect, safety records. This behavior shows that the raids are not being conducted to protect citizens from disease but instead are fueled by the FDA’s desire to have total control of the market.
The CDC reports that from 1993 to 2006, unpasteurized milk caused 69 incidents of human infections, with 1,505 reported illnesses, 185 hospitalizations and two deaths which averages out to about 116 illnesses a year, or less than .000002 percent of the 76 million people who contract food-borne illnesses every year in the United States. http://healthfreedoms.org/2011/01/07/6-crimes-perpetrated-by-the-government-in-2010/- Under heading ‘FDA Raids on small dairy farms providing raw milk products’
*update: the above statistics have been called into question by using the CDC’s own data which finds that the total number of illnesses is only 1,254, the number of hospitalizations is only 24 and the number of deaths is 0. http://www.thecompletepatient.com/journal/2010/8/20/the-cdc-wouldnt-cook-the-books-on-raw-milk-illnesses-hospita.html
Ag-industry giants on the other hand, caused massive recalls last summer including the over half billion eggs tainted with salmonella that came from disgusting factories owned by ‘Jack’ Decoster who is a ‘habitual’ violator of the FDA’s regulations. Instead of policing companies that have deplorable records and standards of care for their animals, the FDA was focusing their energy on restricting the sale of a product that is consistently safe and incredibly beneficial to health.
People are realizing that pasteurized milk has nothing to offer in the way of health benefits. Gallons of the white stuff line line shelves, anything good in it killed off so it can sit in a grocery store for weeks. It is a dead product that is likely to cause harm to the consumer as it is linked to diseases such as asthma, allergies and diabetes.
When consumed raw milk can alleviate many health problems as it is packed full of the complex proteins, enzymes and healthy bacteria our bodies need. As Mr. Bechard puts it, “People been drinking it for centuries; it’s good for you. It doesn’t make sense to pasteurize it. If God made it to be drank raw, that’s the way it ought to be,”
While concentrated animal feed operations over-run with their own filth and disease spread illness across the country, the FDA works to take out their small farm competition.
David Gumpert, author of The Raw Milk Revolution, says that regulation is “not about safety—it’s about protecting markets.” He goes on to say “Conventional dairy doesn’t want raw milk tarnishing the image of pasteurized milk,” and notes that while no one has died in Massachusetts because of raw milk, three people died in 2007 from Listeriosis from pasteurized milk, “the [Center for Disease Control] and FDA have blind spots around raw milk. They don’t want to do research on it.” http://healthfreedoms.org/2010/07/06/small-farmers-and-consumer-advocates-say-unpasteurized-milk-bans-are-about-protecting-big-industry/
What is the small dairy farmer to do when big brother comes to the door demanding that you put an end to exercising your right to provide a food that has a demand and that is safe? Fight it.
The targeted operations providing raw products are bogged down by these ongoing legal battles that cost time and money, both of which are tight on farms. So whether the farm wins or not, the ongoing battles cause disruption in performance and profit. But the FDA has all the time and money in the world to waste and they seem very content to spend it perusing these small, rural operations.
Thankfully, persistence is nothing new to farmers and their resolve to stand up for themselves against FDA bullying are paying off.
Bechards Family Farm in Conway, Missouri is run by husband and wife Armand and Teddi Bechard along with their two teenage daughters. Like others raw milk producers they were targeted by the FDA over where and when their milk was sold and were subject to ongoing investigation.
It all dates back to April 2009 when FDA agents tricked Mr. Bechards daughters to sale them extra milk at an arranged drop off point.Yet it was Armand, not his daughters, that was issued a criminal citation in May charging him with “operation of food establishment without permit” which carries up to $1000 in fines and the possibility of 180 days in jail.
The agency claimed that a truck was a “food establishment” and that they were “operating a food stablishment without permit”. In June, the farm received letters from Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster’s office, asking them to sign a voluntary consent agreement saying they would never deliver milk away from the farm again. The Bechards refused to sign. Then in November, not only did the attorney general ask the Greene County Circuit Court for a preliminary and permanent injunction “prohibiting the Bechards from selling raw milk or raw milk products in violation of the law,” but they also wanted to make the farm pay for the lawsuit!
In August of 2010 the court delivered its erroneous guilty verdict to Armand for “operation of food establishment without permit”. The Bechards immediately appealed the criminal charge.
On the 11th of January, Mr. Bechard defended himself in his appeal quoting a state law that he says convinced the judge to take his side; “A state statute says a farmer can sell from his cart, wagon or vehicle,” he says “Paraphrasing here, it’s considered to be as if you were selling from the farm. That was the premise we were operating under.” He goes on to say the law “States an individual can purchase and have delivered to them for their own personal use raw milk or cream from a farm.”
Since sells are arranged ahead of time the Bechards are not violating any laws by using a drop off point to meet with their costumers, a necessary convenience as the farm is too far of a drive for many. In order to protect himself and his business, they have made some changes in the operation and the farm will keep their deliveries outside the city limits.
The Bechards stood their ground and won by using the states own laws. What a wonderful victory for the farm and the raw milk industry, let’s hope the FDA is tiring of their frivolous pursuits.
Other articles from Health Freedoms on this topic:
The FDA Says You Have No Right to Freedom of Food http://healthfreedoms.org/2010/12/10/the-fda-says-you-have-no-right-to-freedom-of-food/
FDA Orders Family Farm with Perfect Record to Destroy $250,000 of Cheese http://healthfreedoms.org/2010/12/04/fda-orders-family-farm-with-perfect-record-to-destroy-250000-of-cheese/
What! No More Happy Meals? Or No More Raw Milk? http://healthfreedoms.org/2010/12/10/what-no-more-happy-meals-or-no-more-raw-milk/
Raids are increasing on farms and private food-supply clubs http://healthfreedoms.org/2010/07/23/raids-are-increasing-on-farms-and-private-food-supply-clubs/
Small farmers and consumer advocates say unpasteurized milk bans are about protecting big industry http://healthfreedoms.org/2010/07/06/small-farmers-and-consumer-advocates-say-unpasteurized-milk-bans-are-about-protecting-big-industry/
Feds Again Invade Amish Farm for 5 a.m. Inspection http://healthfreedoms.org/2010/04/27/feds-again-invade-amish-farm-for-5-a-m-inspection/
Raw milk fight becomes a symbol of food freedom http://healthfreedoms.org/2010/01/26/raw-milk-fight-becomes-a-symbol-of-food-freedom/
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