11/20/13. Oregon Farmer Sues Over State’s Raw Milk Advertisement Ban. Mikael Thalen, storyleak.com
An Oregon farmer filed suit against the Oregon Department of Agriculture Tuesday, in hopes to remove state law that bans the advertisement of raw milk to the public.
According to the lawsuit’s plaintiff Christine Anderson of McMinnville’s Cast Iron Farm, the ban not only suppresses her First Amendment right to free speech, but also her ability to properly inform consumers. Oregon, one of some 30 states which allow the sale of raw milk, has continued to place an increasing amount of rules and regulations on farmers who choose to sell the product.
“Raw milk is legal to sell but you can’t talk about it. I work really hard, and I do a good job as a producer,” Anderson told The Oregonian. “Running a business without the ability to be able to talk about your business at all is a very difficult thing to do.”
Under state law, sale is only permitted if a farmer with three or less cows, only two of which that can be lactating, sells directly from their own farm without using advertisement. Each individual advertisement, a Class A misdemeanor, can land a farmer in jail for a year with up to $10,000 in civil penalties. The restrictions have made it impossible to put up signs, send emails or even pass out fliers at her local farmers market, in turn slowly destroying her business as a seventh generation farmer.
“I would like to go about my small farm business without a lot of fear that what I’m doing can be construed as breaking the law,” Anderson added.
Just last year, Anderson was forced by the Oregon Department of Agriculture to remove information about the prices of her milk, the milking and bottling process, as well as her strict bacteria testing guidelines from her farm’s website. Months later, she incorrectly received a cease and desist order demanding she stop selling “raw milk cheese” despite not being an item sold by her farm.
Even in light of studies linking raw milk consumption to countless health benefits and the Center for Disease Control’s admittedly incorrect statistics on its danger, the government’s literal war against those who sell and consume the product has become reminiscent of militarized raids against producers of methamphetamine.
In late 2011, California based Rawesome Foods, a privately owned food club offering raw milk to its members, was subjected to an armed raid by multiple state and federal agencies. Not only was the club’s inventory ransacked and destroyed, using a confiscated members list, L.A. County Health Enforcers began showing up at members’ homes, demanding they hand over any raw milk.
Incredibly, even the Amish are not safe from federal government intimidation and attack. Just last year, the FDA successfully shut down an Amish farmer for selling fresh raw milk to out-of-state costumers flooding in from the Washington, D.C., area. To no surprise, pasteurized milk from cows treated with Monsanto’s synthetic, genetically engineered growth hormone rBGH, which has been banned in countless countries due to its cancer link, is happily pushed by the FDA.
Despite the government’s increased surveillance and harassment of peaceful American farmers, victories in states such as Arkansas, which recently legalized the sale of raw milk, have continued to grow alongside raw milk’s popularity.
If Anderson’s lawsuit prevails, it could deal a major blow to the government’s continued attempts of hiding consumers from healthy food alternatives, a reoccurring theme in America’s corporate-dominant food industry.