20150506_0831331Food Safety News reports that a Missouri dairy owner is on notice from the FDA for selling unpasteurized, raw camel milk in interstate commerce, with the agency discounting the dairyman’s contention that camel milk is not covered by federal law.

The Food and Drug Administration’s Kansas City district office sent a warning letter to Samuel P. Hostetler, owner of Hump-Back Dairys in Miller, MO, on Dec. 19 related to an inspection at his farm from July 27-29. The federal inspectors found records showing the dairy had distributed unpasteurized, raw camel milk and raw camel milk products across state lines, which is a violation of federal law.

“Such distribution is a violation of  the Public Health Service Act,” according to the warning letter. “…We have reviewed the correspondence letter dated Sept. 19, 2016, from Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund. The letter, which states that it is written on your behalf, raises questions about whether the regulation in 21 CFR 1240.61(a) applies to products such as yours that are made from the lacteal secretions of camels.

“Under 21 CFR 1240.3(j), the term ‘milk product’ is defined as ‘food products made exclusively or principally from the lacteal secretion obtained from one or more healthy milk-producing animals, e.g., cows, goats, sheep, and water buffalo.’ … Although the definition refers to the examples of cows, goats, sheep, and water buffalo, that list is not exhaustive. The definition thus includes the commercial lacteal secretions from other animals as well, including camels.”

Hostetler is knowingly selling the raw milk in violation of federal law, according to the warning letter, which quoted from labels on the unpasteurized raw milk from the Miller, MO, dairy — “Ingredients: Whole Raw Camel Milk” and “Ingredients: Cultured Whole Raw Camel Milk.”

“You affirmed that products labeled or identified as raw camel milk in your records are not heat treated or pasteurized. Further, the products that you shipped were in final package form and were for direct human consumption,” according to the warning letter.

The FDA letter gave Hostetler the standard 15 days to respond to the agency.