David Gumpert

David Gumpert is the author of The Raw Milk Revolution: Behind America's Emerging Battle Over Food Rights (Chelsea Green, 2009). He is also a journalist who specializes in covering the intersection of health and business. Read more on his blog.

Raw deal

Farmer-consumer group challenges FDA authority to ban interstate raw-milk sales

Don’t cry over raw milk. The Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund is taking on the Big Enchilada in the raw milk war: the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s prohibition on interstate shipment of raw milk. The FTCLDF filed suit over the weekend in U.S. District court against FDA commissioner Margaret Hamburg, and the secretary of the FDA’s parent agency, Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius, challenging the constitutionality of the agency’s prohibition, enacted in 1987. It filed the suit on behalf of consumers and a farmer from six different states; the consumers all travel from states where raw milk sales are …

Raw Milk Battlefield Stories

Whatever happened to the government’s war on raw milk? Just a shift in tactics

When the current phase of a nearly century-long government campaign to convince American consumers to abandon raw milk launched in 2006, heavy-handed intimidation tactics were the order of the day. Kentucky farmer Gary Oakes was questioned so intensively by agents from the Ohio Department of Agriculture and U.S. Food and Drug Administration while delivering milk to consumers in a Cinciannati parking lot that spring that he was hospitalized three times for symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. Michigan farmer Richard Hebron had more than $8,000 of dairy products confiscated in a “sting” operation outside Ann Arbor on Columbus Day weekend of …

Milking the Farmers

Can a new USDA advisory committee make the dairy industry less pathetic?

Much as I’ve long been taken with the romanticism of dairy farming and the visions of grazing cows and nurturing fresh milk it conjures up, I tune out when the talk turns to “the dairy industry.” That subject stimulates images of commodity trading, price controls, feed lots, and perhaps most onerous– a rigged system akin to slavery in which the owners of small dairies nearly always lose. They have been losing for so many years the number of farms with dairy cows fell an astounding 88 percent, from 648,000 to 75,000 between 1960 and 2006, the U.S. Department of Agriculture …

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