June 17, 2018

Organic Pastures Sues FDA Over Raw Milk Law

Organic Pastures, the country’s largest producer of raw milk, has filed suit against the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the agency’s failure to respond to the company’s petition to change the  law banning  interstate sales of raw milk. The suit was filed in U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of California on December 12.

Milking CowsThe suit names as defendants US Health and Human Services  (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Margaret Hamburg and the agencies they lead as defendants. It seeks to prompt the FDA to issue a ruling on a petition the dairy filed December 22, 2008 requesting the ban on interstate sales of raw milk be lifted to permit raw milk produced legally in one state to cross state lines if raw milk sales are legally permitted in that state citing  California and Arizona as an example. The dairy alleges that the FDA failed to respond to the petition within 180 days,  seeks to prompt a ruling on the petition and to recover legal fees.

The sale of raw milk, or milk that has not been pasteurized, is banned  some states because it can contain dangerous pathogens such as E.coli, Campylobacter and Salmonella. Raw milk products produced by Organic Pastures were recalled twice during 2012 for possible contamination with Campylobacter, once in May and once in September. The May recall was linked to a Campylobacter outbreak that sickened 10 people. The company’s website make no mention of the suit.

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