Target: Rep. Fred Upton, Chairman, U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee
Goal: Ensure the passage of federal laws that will allow consumers to buy raw milk directly from farmers
Rep. Thomas Massie and Rep. Chellie Pingree recently introduced legislation that will give consumers more power over what they choose to feed their families. According to a recent press release from Rep. Massie’s office, the “Milk Freedom Act of 2014” and the “Interstate Milk Freedom Act of 2014″ will pave the way for small farmers to sell raw milk directly to consumers without federal oversight. The bills have been referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, chaired by Rep. Fred Upton, where they await the necessary approval before being referred to the House of Representatives for a vote.
According to Rep. Massie the bills will make it easier for families to buy milk products directly from farmers by decriminalizing the sale of raw milk. He has argued that the federal government interferes with small farmers’ ability to market their products and that states should be able to set their own food safety laws. Rep. Pingree has also pointed to food scares involving major manufacturers to show that corporate control does not necessarily help keep consumers safe.
The “Milk Freedom Act of 2014” would prohibit the federal government from interfering with the interstate traffic of raw milk products. The “Interstate Milk Freedom Act of 2014” would prohibit the federal government from interfering with trade of unpasteurized milk products across state lines. Neither bill would trump existing state laws. “Raw milk is the only food banned in interstate commerce,” according to Pete Kennedy, President of the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund. Although Congress has never passed a law banning it, the Federal Food and Drug Administration has prosecuted farmers for distributing it in the past.
The Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund and others have argued that these two bills are an important step toward removing barriers between families and farmers. Urge Rep. Upton to ensure quick passage of the bills by the House Committee on Energy and Commerce so they can receive a full House vote in the near future.
Dear Rep. Upton,
The “Milk Freedom Act of 2014” and the “Interstate Milk Freedom Act of 2014” have recently been referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. As Committee Chair, I urge you to ensure that these bills receive hasty attention and approval so they may be voted on by the entire House in the near future.
This legislation will improve consumer choices and protect local farmers. People should have the right to purchase fresh food directly from small farmers in order to feed their families safe, quality products. I urge you to act quickly to strengthen consumers’ and small farmers’ right to one of life’s most basic functions: feeding their families.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Pitcherman via Wikimedia Commons