Got "real" milk? The question is not one that you would normally hear outside the Capitol, but many similar phrases were "uddered" on Capitol Hill on Monday during a protest of a recent action by the Food and Drug Administration against dairy farmers.
Food-freedom advocates from across the nation rallied at Upper Senate Park in response to a permanent injunction against Amish farmer Dan Allgyer of Rainbow Acres, Pa., for introducing raw milk to interstate commerce after an undercover sting operation conducted by the FDA.
Allgyer is being accused of crossing state lines with raw milk that could be a carrier of diseases.
At the rally, speakers and organizers from the Grassfed on the Hill Buying Club, a Washington-area food co-op, showed their support not only for Allgyer but also for freedom of choice.
“The FDA action here is just plain wrong,” said Baylen Linnekin, executive director of Keep Food Legal, a nonprofit that advocates for the rights of people to grow, raise, produce, sell, buy, cook, and eat foods of their own choosing. “James Madison, author of the Bill of Rights, wrote that banning food is beyond the reach of any state, beyond the rights of any national government, and 'little short of madness.' "
Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, recently introduced legislation that would make it legal for people to distribute fresh milk across state lines.
“This would be a positive step to reclaiming some of our lost freedoms,” Linnekin said.
Sally Fallon Morell, president of the Weston A. Price Foundation, said the laws against raw milk crossing state lines have nothing to do with safety and everything to do with economics.
“Children who start out on raw milk are very healthy children," she said. "They don’t have asthma, they don’t have allergies, they don’t miss days at school, they don’t get sick, and they don’t have digestive problems. Raw milk is a magic food, and we are here to defend that magic food.”
Mennonite farmer Larry Fischer began a bike trek on Friday in Harrisonburg, Va., and rode to Washington to attend the rally and show his support.
There was fresh, raw milk available for testing at the event along with a special guest: Morgan, a dairy cow from Maryland. Farmer Leah Mack milked Morgan while rally organizers and coordinators Liz Reitzig and Karine Bouis-Towe offered a fresh-milk toast in front of the Capitol to hard-working farmers.