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
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 If all federal rules and regulations are repealed, then at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
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!