Representatives Thomas Massie (R-KY) and Chellie Pingree (D-ME) introduced the Interstate Milk Freedom Act (H.R. 5410) today. This bill prohibits federal interference with the interstate traffic of unpasteurized milk and milk products that are packaged for direct human consumption.
It’s legal to drink raw milk in 50 states. It is legal to sell raw milk in 28 states. Congress has never passed a ban on raw milk. Yet, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) did so in capitulation to a lawsuit.
“Federal agencies, such as the FDA, that are part of the executive branch do not and should not have the power to shut down trade between peaceful farmers and willing consumers. It is Congress’s job to legislate,”said Rep. Massie. “Our Interstate Milk Freedom Act would make it easier for families to buy milk of their choice by reversing the criminalization of specific dairy farmers.”
“So many people across the country want to make sure their food is fresh and local—including fruits, vegetables, and even their milk,” said Rep. Pingree.“Raw milk is currently the only food banned for interstate commerce—an onerous regulation that hurts small farmers for selling milk straight from their cows to the consumer.”
“Raw milk is a niche product highly valued by educated consumers who understand any risks associated with its consumption. This industry is vital economically for many small family farms in my district, who survive and thrive by selling directly to the consumer. Farmers throughout Pennsylvania’s 11th District and the nation work tirelessly to ensure safe, nutritious dairy products are available to everyone,” Lloyd Smucker (R-PA) said. “Small family farms have been consuming and distributing raw milk safely for hundreds of years. This bill rightly gets the federal government out of the way and decriminalizes farmers and producers who choose to sell or take unpasteurized milk and other dairy products to willing customers throughout the nation.”
This legislation was introduced as an amendment to the 2018 Farm Bill. It was also introduced as a standalone bill in 2015 and 2014.
The Interstate Milk Freedom Act simply says that if two states have legalized the sale of unpasteurized milk, then no federal department, agency, or court may take any action to prohibit or restrict the interstate traffic of milk between those two states. This bill would prohibit the federal government from interfering with the interstate traffic of raw milk products between states where distribution or sale of such products is already legal.
Original cosponsors of H.R. 5410 include Representatives Chellie Pingree (D-ME), Lloyd Smucker (R-PA), Andy Biggs (R-AZ), Paul Gosar (R-AZ), Ted Budd (R-NC), Daniel Webster (R-FL), Alex Mooney (R-WV), Glenn Grothman (R-WI), Tom McClintock (R-CA), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Mark Meadows (R-NC), Louie Gohmert (R-TX), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Justin Amash (I-MI), Morgan Griffith (R-VA), Chip Roy (R-TX), and Matt Gaetz (R-FL)
Massie owns 50 head of cattle on his off-the-grid farm in northeast Kentucky. Pingree raises grass-fed beef and chickens on her island farm in North Haven, Maine.