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Memo to Petraeus at CIA: Grab Those FDA Guys Who Took Out Amish Raw Milk Farmer…On Second Thought…

When Gen. David Patraeus takes over direction of the Central Intelligence Agency sometime in the next few months, he may want to begin mining the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for some new talent. The FDA sent a number of its agents into undercover mode to gather the goods on Dan Allgyer, the Pennsylvania Amish farmer named in a complaint filed on behalf of the FDA by the U.S. Department of Justice seeking a permanent injunction prohibiting the farmer from distributing milk outside of Pennsylvania. According to the complaint filed in U.S. District court a couple weeks back, the FDA undercover effort has been going on for more than a year. “In late 2009, an investigator in FDA’s Baltimore District Office used aliases to join” the cooperative that Allgyer’s farm was supplying in Maryland and Washington, DC. The complaint noted that the group “warns group members to ‘not share information about our group and certainly not about our farmer’ with government agencies or doctors…” Over the 15 months between December 2009 and March 2011, additional FDA investigators used the cooperative’s “online ordering website and placed orders for unpasteurized cow milk on 23 occasions…Payment for each purchase was made in the form of a money order payable to Dan Allgyer.” Payment was either mailed to Allgyer “or left inside a zip closure bag that was located at the pick up site in Maryland. FDA investigators picked up each unpasteurized milk order at various private residences in Maryland.” I’m sure it will reassure the owners of these homes to know that FDA investigators were roaming their garages, decks, and back yards, snooping around, doing everything necessary to protect the owners and other food club members from not only the milk, but the eggs, beef, chicken, and other foods they sign on for from the Allgyer farm. That wasn’t the end of the investigation, though. “An FDA laboratory analyzed twelve of the twenty-three samples of milk purchased by the FDA investigators and confirmed that all twelve were unpasteurized.” Whew! Got to tie up those loose ends. Investigators also visited Allgyer’s farm on April 20, 2010, and “observed numerous portable coolers in the Defendant’s driveway and a walk-in cooler/freezer on the property that contained products that appeared to be milk and other assorted dairy products. The coolers were labeled with the names of various locations within Maryland, including ‘Takoma Park,’ ‘Bethesda,’ ‘Bowie,’ and ‘Silver Springs’.” The complaint notes that the consumers had “club membership,” but doesn’t explore whether that counts as “interstate commerce.” Most food clubs are set up to take delivery of food they already own under leasing and agent relationships. Certainly the Allgyer experience reinforces the push by food clubs to carefully screen their members. It’s difficult, though, when you’re dealing with determined professional agents driven in their mission to deprive ordinary people of real food. The Washington Times reported as well this morning on the investigation, labeling the federal effort a “sting.” I’m not sure I’d give the investigation that level of professional recognition, and on second thought, Gen. Patraeus may want to hold off on going the FDA route for new investigators. Read the original post on The Complete Patient.
Raw Milk Revolution David E. Gumpert is the author of The Raw Milk Revolution.


Can RAWMI Be Saved? Activists Petition Fledgling Group for Clarification on Standards, Legislative Action; McAfee Promises to “Repair and Fix” Problems; Schmidt on Rights

The fledgling Raw Milk Institute is in trouble. The grandiose plan for a national organization that will at once establish raw milk production standards, educate farmers on improving their safety protocols, lobby for raw milk legislative expansion, and back research into raw milk’s benefits finds itself hobbled by internal dissension out of the gate. I […] Read More..

We’d All Like the Perfect Martyrs to Go Out and Protest For, But Life Isn’t Always That Cooperative When You Are Fighting Government Thuggery; Pollan on Raw Milk

It sure would be nice if the emerging food rights movement could always pick its spots to protest government brutality and criminality against farmers and food clubs. Note, I am choosing my words carefully here. Yes, when government agents from ten or more agencies steal hundreds of pounds, thousands of dollars, worth of food–not once, […] Read More..

Family (farm) affair: my connection to Eliot Coleman’s rise to prominence

I’m not sure exactly what it means to play a cameo role in a family memoir exploring the roots of today’s food movement; but certainly it makes you keenly aware of how quickly the years are piling up. I’m referring to the tale of my brief, but apparently significant, role in helping launch organic farmer […] Read More..

Three Reasons Why Raw Milk Safety Still Deserves to Be High Priority; DC Demonstration Monday for Amish Farmer

It’s not a great time to be trying to convince raw milk advocates–farmers and consumers alike–about the importance of a heightened emphasis on safety. Not at a time when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which frequently argues that raw milk can’t be produced safely in any event, is doing undercover investigations poking around in […] Read More..

FDA agents launch covert ops against D.C.-area raw-milk buying club

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has just filed a complaint in federal court, seeking a permanent injunction against Amish farmer Dan Allgyer in Pennsylvania. It accuses him of violating a federal prohibition on interstate sales of raw milk by shipping unpasteurized milk to a Maryland buying club’s members. As part of its complaint, the […] Read More..