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Marler Blog Providing Commentary on Food Poisoning Outbreaks & Litigation

FDA Brings Lawsuit Against Organic Pastures For Selling Raw Milk Across State Lines

The Capital Press reported today that the U.S. Justice Department filed suit (Here is Complaint) against McAfee in a U.S. district court Thursday, Nov. 20, claiming that he endangered public health by violating a federal law against interstate commerce in unpasteurized milk.

"Raw milk and raw milk products contain a wide variety of harmful bacteria including, but not limited to, listeria monocytogenes, E. coli, salmonella, campylobacter and brucella, all of which may cause illness and possibly death," according to the federal government’s complaint.

According to the federal government’s lawsuit, McAfee circumvented restrictions on the interstate shipment of raw milk by labeling outgoing boxes as "pet food." Unpasteurized milk is allowed to cross state lines as long as it’s used for that purpose.

However, the retail products within the boxes did not mention pet food and the labeling language was clearly directed at human consumers, according to the government’s complaint.

The lawsuit contends that an employee at Organic Pastures Dairy unwittingly acknowledged the pet food label was a "legal loophole for the firm to be able to ship the product out of state" to an undercover FDA investigator.

McAfee admitted as much in a 2005 Portland Tribune article in which he was quoted as saying, "And there is no regulation that you can’t eat pet food, either," according to the complaint.

Christine Chessen, director of the California Raw Milk Association, said that raw milk can alleviate symptoms of asthma, eczema, allergies and immune disease.  "I don’t see why they’re making such a big deal out of it, especially since people have gotten such amazing health benefits from it," she said.

Hmmm, there is also that little history of Organic Pastures being linked to several bacteria recalls and outbreaks – Read Here.  I was speaking at a food safety conference several months ago and talk to the owner of a "health food store" in Bellingham, Washington that was selling OP milk for human consumption after putting stickers over the lable suggesting it was for pet use only.  It would be interesting to see if FDA investigtors looked into that and found out where the stickers came from and who told the owner that it was legal to do so?

  • Rick in Delta

    Just more Corporate molestation to ensure their monopolistic hold is not impeded.

  • “Raw milk and raw milk products contain a wide variety of harmful bacteria including, but not limited to, listeria monocytogenes, E. coli, salmonella, campylobacter and brucella, all of which may cause illness and possibly death,” according to the federal government’s complaint.”
    What the…? It CAN. It can also have LOWER bacterial content than commercial milk – totally depends. Seriously – gun to your head, choose one: Raw milk, fresh that day, from a clean, small dairy or pasteurized milk from a huge dairy operation where the cows are on antibiotics to fight the raging mastitis caused by rBST, where the milk may sit 7 days before being processed, leaving you a sterile soup of dead bacteria?
    I gotta be honest – I’ll take my chances.
    I’m fortunate to have somewhat of a middle ground. Local dairy, very small operation. Glass bottles. Pasteurized though.
    I think the government has far better things to worry about, and I think Rick in Delta might be on to something.

  • Rosaila

    there is nothing wrong with raw milk as long as the farmer is good to the pets there is owe bodys can heal threw anything unless the fda and other companys do things to ower food to suppress the imunn system to stop the body from healing its self like poision on ower food a big lie that its the only way to keep bugs of it think about it if your sick your profit for the evil in goverments greed how is it ok for the law to go agans free dom and your right to choose whats best for your body we the people should stop this crazyness we pay taxes

  • Sherri

    Someone should bring charges against the FDA for repeatedly allowing known poisons to be labeled as ‘food’. I agree with Matt above -any food product can contain harmful bacteria, I’ll take my chances with the farmer up the road who doesn’t overcrowd his herd, doesn’t used antibiotics and whose cows look clear in the eyes, and of good health. I cannot say any of these things about feedlots and dairy businesses that constantly inject cows with growth hormones and antibiotics. It starts to appear as if the FDA -wants us to be sick, so we can further the drug industry, followed by the huge oncology industry. God forbid we should be allowed to remain healthy!!