Food safety chief defends raw milk raids

by Carolyn Lochhead
San Francisco Chronical


Obama food safety chief and former Monsanto lawyer Michael R. Taylor today defended the FDA’s sting operations and armed raids against raw milk producers, including Pennsylvania Amish farmer Dan Allgyer, who is facing an injunction for selling milk across state lines. None of Allgyer’s milk was contaminated. The agency’s actions are likely to put him out of business. “We believe we’re doing our job,” Taylor said at a presentation at the Ogilvy Washington public affairs group. He promised to “keep doing our public health job,” and described his agency’s campaign against raw milk producers as based on a “public health duty” and “statutory directive.”

The FDA is in the midst of writing the critical regulations that will implement the Food Safety Modernization Act Congress passed last year with applause all around from the Obama administration, Democrats and Republicans despite ferocious opposition from small-farm advocates. The sweeping new law gives the agency extraordinary powers to detain foods on farms. It also denies farmers recourse to federal courts. Before the new law, the FDA could only impound food when it had credible evidence the food was contaminated or posed a public health hazard. The detention powers are part of what Taylor described as a new agency focus on preventing food poisoning outbreaks rather than responding to them after the fact. Taylor described the new law as giving the agency “farm to table” control over food safety.

The Raw Milk Revolution
Behind America’s Emerging Battle Over Food Rights
by David E. Gumpert

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