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?