August 8, 2017 - FDA Petitioned To Allow Interstate Sales of Raw Milk With Warnings

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Tuesday, August 8, 2017 - A citizen petition to allow the interstate shipment of raw milk across state boundaries was recently filed with the Food and Drug Administration.  Filed by the newly created Real Food Consumer Coalition (RFCC), the petition asked the FDA to allow raw milk to cross state boundaries so long as it is labeled with a warning about its health risks; and with instructions for safe handling, including instructions for self or home pasteurization. 

The FDA has banned the transport of unpasteurized milk across state lines for the past 30 years.  The RFCC’s petition forces FDA to review that policy. The agency can take a year or longer to respond, depending on “the issue’s complexity.” If it denies the petition, the coalition has the option of challenging the decision in federal court.

RFCC attorneys Emord and Kennedy say the petition is consistent with President Trump’s call to reduce or eliminate regulations that are holding back economic growth.

They also argue that the intrastate supply of unpasteurized milk and raw milk products is insufficient to meet demand. They blame this on FDA’s “blanket ban on distribution of unpasteurized milk and milk products interstate.”

The petition walks a narrow line. “There is no need, however, for milk to be pasteurized before it is sold to consumers,” it says. “Self-pasteurization is as effective as industrial pasteurization in reducing bacterial infection in milk and milk products.”

Here’s the suggested warning language:

WARNING: This raw (unpasteurized) milk (cream) may contain disease-causing organisms. Persons at highest risk of these organisms including newborns and infants; the elderly; pregnant women; those taking corticosteroids, antibiotics or antacids and those having chronic illnesses or other conditions that weaken immunity.

SAFE HANDING INSTRUCTIONS: To prevent food borne illnesses, keep this product refrigerated at 45°F, or lower and, prior to consumption, follow the pasteurization process identified below.

Pasteurization Process: (1) Heat milk at 145 °F, [150 °F] for 30 minutes in a stainless steel pot. (2) Remove pot of milk from heat and place in a single or large bowl with ice water stirring constantly until milk temperature drops to 40 °F, and (3) Store pasteurized milk in a refrigerator at 45 °F, or lower. (The 150 °F heating temperature option is used for milk with fat content of more than 10 percent.)

A similar warning is suggested for raw milk products in interstate commerce.

Learn more at this link