December 5, 2011
Contact: Liz Reitzig, Co-founder, Farm Food Freedom Coalition
301-807-5063, firstname.lastname@example.org www.RawMilkFreedomRiders.com
Civil Disobedience for Natural Food Moms in Midwest
Mothers Plan to Risk Arrest Thursday To Provide Healthy Foods For Their Families
Chicago, IL—On Thursday, December 8, a group of mothers will risk arrest and other penalties by purchasing fresh, unprocessed milk from a small farm in Wisconsin, transporting it to Chicago’s Independence Park and distributing the milk to other mothers who need it for their families from 11:30am-2:00pm.
Why should such a seemingly innocent act risk arrest? Federal law 21 CFR § 1240.61 prohibits interstate movement and distribution of raw milk for human consumption. This U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulation applies to individuals, or “agents” acting on their behalf. The mothers who purchase the milk will be acting as “agents” on behalf of other mothers who cannot make the trip.
“This is our second ‘Raw Milk Freedom Ride’,” says Liz Reitzig, an event organizer. “The Wisconsin to Chicago trip will raise the stakes over a similar November 1 event challenging the FDA’s use of force against raw milk distribution. By having moms act as agents on behalf of other individuals, we’ll show a central problem with the ban on interstate movement of raw milk,” she added.
“I am willing to risk arrest in order to obtain the foods of my choice from the producer of my choice,” says Mary Gercke, an Illinois mother of three. “It is abhorrent that Americans risk criminal penalties for getting healthy foods from small family farms or helping other families with the transportation of these foods. Americans need to wake up to the reality that their tax dollars are used to enforce draconian laws on their neighbors.”
These mothers are not overreacting to some hypothetical situation. Over the past year, the FDA and state authorities have conducted undercover sting operations on, raided and prosecuted farmers, buying clubs, and individuals who help distribute raw milk and other farm fresh foods in order to enforce the federal prohibition on transporting raw milk across state lines. Over a dozen people and businesses currently face charges, orders, and other enforcement actions; some are under federal criminal investigation and face indictment by a grand jury.
The Raw Milk Freedom Riders launched their movement with an inaugural ride on November 1, when mothers and others, determined to protect their families food supply, transported raw milk from Pennsylvania to the FDA’s headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland, and distributed the milk to crowds gathered for a protest. In response the FDA issued a statement saying it does not “intend” to take “enforcement action against an individual who purchased and transported raw milk across state lines solely for his or her own personal consumption.”
According to the Freedom Riders, FDA’s efforts to suppress raw milk distribution have resulted in increased consumer demand.