The FDA had previously sent a number of warning letters to the farm warning that its selling of raw milk violated federal law, including this letter on April 10, 2010:
An investigation by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has determined that you are causing to be delivered into interstate commerce, selling, or otherwise distributing raw milk in final package form for human consumption. Such distribution is a violation of the Public Health Service (PHS) Act, Title 42 United States Code, Section 264(a), and the implementing regulation codified in Title 21, Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Section 1240.61(a). The regulation prohibits the delivery into interstate commerce of milk and milk products in final package form for direct human consumption unless they have been pasteurized. For your information, we have enclosed a copy of the regulation as it was published in the Federal Register, 52 FR 29509 (Aug 10, 1987).Complete letter is found at: www.fda.gov/warningletter2010
Although producers tempted to sell raw milk may worry about state law liability, the FDA suit is a good reminder that federal law prohibits the sale unpasteurized milk if such sale is accomplished through interstate commerce. The Code of Federal Regulations states:
Mandatory pasteurization for all milk and milk products in final package form intended for direct human consumption.21 C.F.R. § 1240.61
(a) No person shall cause to be delivered into interstatecommerce or shall sell, otherwise distribute, or hold for sale orother distribution after shipment in interstate commerce any milkor milk product in final package form for direct human consumptionunless the product has been pasteurized or is made from dairyingredients (milk or milk products) that have all beenpasteurized, except where alternative procedures to pasteurizationare provided for by regulation, such as in part 133 of thischapter for curing of certain cheese varieties.
Finally, for those new to the raw milk debate, the FDA website contains a good synopsis of why the law prohibiting the sale of raw milk in interstate commerce exists. www.fda.gov/dangersofrawmilk This includes, according to the FDA, a number of "myths" about the benefits of raw milk: