Raw Milk Dairy Sues FDA For Ignoring Requests To Overturn Ban

The raw milk debate, which seemed to have died down in the past couple months, has just been resparked; Organic Pastures, the largest raw milk dairy in the nation, has filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Mark McAfee, Organic Pastures' owner, claims that the FDA has turned its back on a petition McAcfee filed in 2008, asking the FDA to re-evaluate its current law of banning sales of raw milk across state lines.

Currently, the selling of raw milk is prohibited in 20 states; 30 states allow it. McAfee sent in a petition in December 2008 asking the FDA to reevaluate its law, and the only response was 90 days later, with a letter telling him his request was received.

The FDA is supposed to respond to a "citizen petition" within 180 days, and McAfee claims the administration is dragging its feet. McAfee told Food Safety News that he hopes this move will tear down the wall "that's separating farmers from consumers." If the lawsuit has no effect, he plans to puruse a jury trial. "I want to bring in the experts to talk about this," McAfee said.

While raw milk advocates claim that many enzymes and nutrients are lost in the pasteurization process, the FDA has found that raw milk is 150 times more likely to cause outbreaks than pasteurized milk (pro-raw milk folks say the FDA cherry-picked its data). Read on here for both sides of the argument.