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Feds mooove against farmer – for having cows!
Posted By Bob Unruh On 02/18/2010 @ 12:25 am In Front Page | Comments Disabled
U.S. Food and Drug Administration agents have demanded to inspect a Pennsylvania farm described by its owner as private, arguing, “You have cows. You produce food for human consumption.”
The confrontation developed just days ago at a farm near Kinzers, Pa., belonging to Amish farmer Dan Allgyer.
According to a report from the National Independent Consumers and Farmers Association, the agents were Joshua Schafer and Deborah Haney from the federal government agency’s Delaware office.
The agents “drove past Allgyer’s ‘No Trespassing’ signs and up his driveway almost to his barn, where Allgyer happened to be outside,” the report said. “Allgyer approached the car, the agents got out and Allgyer asked them why they were there. They produced a piece of paper, asked Allgyer if he was Dan Allgyer, which Allgyer confirmed, asked him his middle initial and phone number, entered the information on the paper, told Allgyer they were there to do an inspection.”
The report from NICFA, which was based on information provided by Allgyer, said the agents then “started reading the paper to him, saying it gave them jurisdiction to be there.”
“You produce food for human consumption,” an agent stated, according to the report. “You have cows. You cannot be consuming all the milk you produce. If you get a milk truck in to move all this milk you sell milk to the public, therefore we have jurisdiction.”
After Allgyer said, “This is a private farm, I do not sell anything to the public,” the agents accused him of refusing an inspection.
A spokeswoman for the FDA’s Philadelphia office, which has jurisdiction over the region, confirmed the incident occurred, although she did not have details.
“An attempt of an inspection was made, and he refused to allow the inspection to take place,” she told WND.
A spokeswoman for NICFA told WND she documented the situation when she spoke with Allgyer shortly after the Feb. 4 encounter.
The FDA spokeswoman said she did not know if there had been an attempt at a followup inspection or if anything further had developed in the case.
WND reported a few weeks ago on a court victory in Canada in which Michael Schmidt was found not guilty of accusations he sold raw milk to members of a cow-sharing consortium.
According to natural foods blogger Kimberly Hartke, the judge “found that Michael had done his due diligence, developed a proper contract, and that everyone was informed. The judge went on to say that Michael met a need for the people.”
And in a previous U.S. case, Mennonite farmer Mark Nolt of Maryland had his farm raided by SWAT-type agents. He was fined more than $4,000 and had his equipment confiscated for providing raw – or unpasteurized – milk to participants in his program.
In the Ontario case, the ruling from the Newmarket justice of the peace found the cow-sharing operation Schmidt runs out of his Durham farm does not violate milk-marketing and public-health regulations.
The ruling, concluding a three-year war over his business, meant his milk legally could be distributed to consumers who have purchased “cow shares” in exchange for access to the milk.
Drinking raw milk in Canada is not banned, but other laws require pasteurization on most commercial milk products. According to a report in the Toronto Globe and Mail, 10 U.S. states – including California, Maine, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and New Mexico – allow licensed farmers to sell raw milk with a warning label at grocery stores.
Advocates say raw milk is healthier. Hartke reports Kevin Trudeau touts raw milk in his New York Times best-seller “Natural Cures They Don’t Want You to Know About,” and Sally Fallon Morell’s cookbook, “Nourishing Traditions,” which has sold 350,000 copies,
But government agencies tasked with making sure health products are safe argue unpasteurized products can carry harmful pathogens such as listeria.
As the confrontation between FDA agents and Allgyer advanced, the NICFA report said, the agents refused to talk with the farmer’s lawyer and then told him he was refusing an inspection even if he did not say so.
The agents eventually left the farm, parked on a neighbor’s property and began watching Allgyer.
When a visitor who had been on the farm left shortly thereafter, the FDA agents followed him to the point he became concerned and called 911, reporting the tailing episode.
On a forum page at Chronwatch-America.com, a participant concluded, “The food produced on that farm is probably far safer than anything you get at the grocery store.”
But there also was concern about the ability of the federal government to come onto private property and demand an inspection.
“A word of advise (sic) for anybody in this guys (sic) situation. IF this happens to you immediately call your sheriff,” wrote another.
On the Food Freedom blog, forum participants said such inspection efforts are silly.
“Factory foods are the ones making people sick & getting recalled,” wrote one.
“As someone that lives in Pennsylvania in the Amish farmland, I find this story to be horrifying. Our state legislator is working very hard to protect and encourage organic farming in Pennsylvania and then this … happens which totally undermines all his hard work.”
“What thugs,” wrote another.
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