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Got milk? You bet – from Mexico

Have you noticed the rash of stories lately in which the federal government is invading private U.S. milk farms to ensure that no domestic raw milk crosses state lines?

Just last month, Food and Drug Administration agents conducted a 5 a.m. raid on an Amish milk farm in Pennsylvania.

The alleged crime?

“FDA, working with information from the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, was investigating whether the farm was delivering into interstate commerce, selling, or otherwise distributing raw milk in final package form for human consumption,” said FDA spokesman Michael Herndon.

Now, I have to tell you, I would have no second thoughts about drinking raw milk from an Amish milk farm – even if it came from a neighboring state.

But that’s against the law.

However, the same federal government busybodies who raid domestic farms in the U.S. on suspicion of selling across state lines is encouraging the importation of milk from Mexico – where the standards of hygiene and cleanliness are, shall we say, somewhat lower than Amish milk farms.

Just last week, those promoting “free trade” were boasting about the opening of a distribution center in Houston, Texas, for DLM USA Enterprises, a subsidiary of Alpura, a Mexican dairy company – one of three such businesses importing milk into the U.S.

Let me tell you about leche importado.

Having lived and worked as a newsman for 20 years in Los Angeles, I learned a long time ago to avoid dairy products – milk, cheese, etc. – from Mexico. Because of the proximity of the city to Mexico and the heavy Mexican population longing for Mexican foods, listeria outbreaks occurred on a regular basis.

What is listeria?

Listeriosis is a serious infection caused by eating food contaminated with the bacterium called listeria monocytogenes. Although there are other types of listeria, most cases of listeriosis are caused by listeria monocytogenes. Listeria is found in soil and water. Vegetables can become contaminated from the soil or from manure used as fertilizer. Animals can carry the bacterium without appearing ill and can contaminate foods of animal origin, such as meats and dairy products.

A 2008 listeriosis outbreak across Canada caused 53 confirmed cases, 6 suspected, with 20 deaths.

Even if it doesn’t kill you, listeriosis is a very serious illness. You don’t want to get it. If you think Montezuma’s revenge is bad, listeria is exponentially worse. It is known to cause miscarriages among pregnant women who contract it. You’ve been told not to drink the water in Mexico; don’t even think about drinking the milk.

I was always amazed living in Los Angeles how government authorities viciously targeted a local dairy, Alta Dena, that produced delicious and safe raw milk products while, at the same time, allowing every supermarket to sell Mexican dairy products that regularly caused listeria outbreaks.

Knowing that dairy products and other foods imported from Mexico have caused such trauma in the past, one wonders why the U.S. is doing more of it – especially at the very same moment the FDA is cracking down like storm troopers on private domestic Amish milk farmers in Pennsylvania.

Is this what free trade is all about?

The U.S. imports food from Mexico knowing full well the unhealthful and unregulated conditions in which it is produced, yet refuses to allow dairy farmers within the U.S. to sell their products across state lines.

Free trade between countries, but not between states?

We are encouraged to drink milk produced by farmers we will never see under conditions we can only imagine, but forbidden to purchase milk from our neighbors here in the U.S. under ideal conditions.

Does this make sense to you?

Hint: It’s not about your safety. It’s not even about “free trade.”

It is about government control. It is about payoffs.