MONTPELIER, VAT (July 1, 2021) – Today, a Vermont law that expands sales of raw milk through Community Supported Agricultural Organizations (CSA’s) and farm stalls goes into effect. Enacting this law takes an additional step toward rejecting the federal ban plan in practice and effect.
Representative Heather Suprinant (D) and a coalition of Democrats introduced House Bill 218 (H218), on February 9. The legislation expands existing raw milk sales by amending the law to allow sales through farm stalls and Community Supported Agricultural Organizations (CSA’s). This depends on Raw milk sales expansion passed in 2019.
HB218 was signed by Governor Phil Scott on May 12 and took effect on July 1.
Impact on the federal ban
Food and Drug Administration officials insist that unpasteurized milk poses a health risk because of its susceptibility to contamination from cow dung, a source of E. coli.
“It is the FDA’s position that raw milk should never be consumed,” agency spokeswoman Tamara Ward said in November 2011.
The FDA’s position is more than a matter of opinion. In 1987, the Federalists applied 21 CFR 1240.61(a), provided that: “No person shall cause to be delivered to interstate commerce or to sell or otherwise distribute or hold for sale or other distribution after shipment in interstate commerce, any milk or dairy product in the form of final packaging for direct human consumption unless the product is pasteurized.”
Not only are the feds outlawing the transport of raw milk across state lines; They also claim the authority to ban unpasteurized milk Within state borders.
“From the authority of HHS… to impose a ban within countries [on unpasteurized milk] Also, FDA officials wrote in response to A Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund The agency sued over the interstate ban.
The Food and Drug Administration clearly wants a complete raw milk ban and some insiders say it’s only a matter of time before the feds try to enforce an absolute ban. Armed raids by FDA agents on companies like Rawsome Foods in 2011 and Amish farms over the past few years also suggest that this scenario may not be so far-fetched.
When states allow raw milk to be sold within their borders, they take an important step toward repealing this federal ban scheme.
As we’ve seen with marijuana and industrial hemp, domestic bans become ineffective when states ignore it and pass laws that encourage prohibited activity anyway. The federal government lacks the enforcement power necessary to maintain its ban, and people will voluntarily take the small risk of federal sanctions if they know the state will not intervene. This increases when the state actively encourages the market and removes the applicable federal ban.
We’ve seen this most evident in states that have legalized industrial hemp. When they allowed production, farmers began to grow industrial hemp, even in the face of a federal ban. Despite facing the prospect of federal prosecution, some farmers were still willing to step into the void and begin growing the plant once the state removed the barriers.
In the same way, the removal of state barriers to the consumption, sale and production of raw milk will undoubtedly stimulate the creation of new markets for unpasteurized dairy products, regardless of what the federalists claim to be able to do.
It could eventually lead to the unblocking between countries as well. If all 50 states allow raw milk, intrastate markets can grow so easily that domestic sales would render the federal ban on interstate commerce useless. And history suggests that feds don’t have the resources to stop people from moving raw milk across state lines — especially if several states begin to legalize it. Any attempts to impose federalism will be overshadowed by rapidly growing markets.
Source: Tenth Amendment Center
Amanda Powers is a longtime Jill-of-all-trade with TAC. She has worked in outreach, local chapters, research, blogging, and more.