Raw Milk or Raw Deal?

There was legislation recently introduced in Congress to lift a ban on raw milk in being traded through interstate commerce.  The story of raw milk is really one that epitomizes what has happened to our country.

First, you will notice that legislation is being introduced.  Why isn’t there legislation to repeal?  Normally I would be critical of legislation that seeks to add a law instead of repealing, but in this case, there isn’t really a law to repeal, except perhaps removing all funding from the FDA.

There is no federal legislation banning raw milk, but the Food and Drug Administration took it upon itself to prosecute farmers for selling their milk raw, as opposed to pasteurized milk.

This is one of the major problems that we face from Washington DC.  Most of the rules and regulations that exist are not passed directly by your so-called representatives.  Instead, Congress delegates authority to these bureaucratic agencies to make up their own rules.  Even Obamacare did this in delegating broad powers to the Department of Health and Human Services.

A second interesting thing about raw milk is that there are varying laws in the 50 different states, most of which are bad for liberty.  But it is usually better to have a bad local law than any federal law.  At least laws made at the state and local level are a little easier to change and at least there remains some options for those living there.

In the example of raw milk, the bad regulations from the FDA just exacerbate the problems created by the states.  If all federal rules and regulations are repealed, then at least consumers would have some choices, even faced with strict state laws.

A third thing to note about the quasi ban on raw milk is that it is just another example of protectionism.  It is done in the name of consumer safety, while it is really being done for the lobbyists and the big companies and the rich farmers.  It is usually the local family farm that will sell raw milk and get harmed by such legislation.

Once again, the rich get richer, but this isn’t a case of getting richer by meeting consumer demand.  It is getting richer by using the force of government to outlaw competition.

The last important point regarding raw milk is how it seems that the government actually wants people to be unhealthy.  This may sound cynical, but it seems that government will often promote things that aren’t healthy and run campaigns against things that actually are.  Aside from a few obvious things like not smoking and avoiding processed foods, the government will actually give advice that is the opposite of what you should be doing.

There is much debate about raw milk, but it tends to be politicians and industry protectionists who promote the supposed dangers of raw milk.  If you ask the average guy on the street, he probably won’t know much about raw milk.

But there is another side to the story.  While the anti-raw milk people claim that pasteurization is needed to kill the bacteria, it is the bacteria that some health advocates seek.

There are good bacteria and bad bacteria and human beings need lots of good bacteria in their gut.  Raw milk is a source of this, along with other nutrients.  It is the same reason that it is beneficial for babies to breastfeed.

While the anti-raw milk crowd can point to limited cases where people got sick from drinking mishandled raw milk, you can point this out in any industry.  There are people who get sick from eating bad meat all the time.  It doesn’t mean we ban the sale of meat.

Even if you disagree on the potential health benefits of raw milk, this is an issue of liberty.  If some people want to voluntarily make the choice of drinking raw milk, you should not use the force of government to prevent them from doing so.

We all have choices in life to make and they usually involve some level of risk and benefit.  We should not need permission from the government.

Free raw milk!