A federal court has granted the U.S. Food and Drug Administration a permanent injunction preventing Daniel L. Allgyer and his Rainbow Acres Farm from distributing raw milk and raw milk products in final package form for human consumption across state lines.
U.S. District Judge Lawrence F. Stengel, of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, also ruled that Allgyer’s participation in a so-called “private buying club” does not shield him from federal oversight, and that Allgyer’s “cow share” agreements are a subterfuge for sales of raw milk. Members of the private buying club had allegedly purchased “shares” of individual cows and then claimed that their reputed ownership entitled them to raw milk from those cows. Allgyer provided the association members who lived outside of Pennsylvania with containers of raw milk, even though federal law prohibits sales of raw milk for human consumption across state lines. Raw milk sales are legal within the state of Pennsylvania.
Allgyer also violated federal law by not providing any labeling on the raw milk containers sold to consumers.
The FDA sought the injunction against Allgyer after documenting multiple and repeated violations of federal law. The agency issued a warning letter to Allgyer in April 2010, informing him of these violations and requesting that he take corrective measures to avoid regulatory action. Despite such warning, Allgyer continued to operate in violation of federal law.
The permanent injunction requires Allgyer to place a statement on his products, invoices, and website that he will no longer distribute unpasteurized milk or milk products in interstate commerce. He also must keep complete records of each sale, including the name and address of each buyer, the date of sale or distribution, and the amount and type of products sold, and must provide a copy of the Court’s order to all employees and persons who work with him to distribute unpasteurized milk and milk products.
Raw milk products for human consumption (with the exception of certain cheeses aged at least 60 days) have been prohibited in interstate commerce since 1987. But pasteurization was adopted as a common practice decades prior to the federal regulation to prevent foodborne illness from bacteria such as E.coli, Salmonella, Campylobacter, Yersinia, Brucella and the causative organism of tuberculosis.
A recent study published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention covering a 13-year period determined that raw milk products are 150 times more likely to cause a foodborne illness outbreak than pasteurized milk products. While pasteurization effectively kills bacteria through heating, milk is occasionally contaminated after pasteurization.