SILVER SPRING, Md. -- A group of raw milk advocates served raw milk and cookies outside the Food and Drug Administration headquarters in Silver Spring, Md., on Tuesday.
The group of moms, who called themselves the "Raw Milk Freedom Riders," had convoyed many gallons of the milk illegally from Pennsylvania into Maryland in a challenge to the agency's ban on selling unpasteurized milk across state lines.
Safe or Sinister?
Raw milk advocates note that if it's handled cleanly and properly, raw milk is just as safe as pasteurized and much healthier.
"This product right here is found in 450 stores in California," said Mark McAfee of Organic Pastures Dairy in Fresno, Calif.
"It's never made anybody sick -- 12 years of production, 65,000 people a week drinking raw milk," he added.
"Raw milk is full of all of this life that is killed in the pasteurization process," said Joel Salatin of Polyface Farms.
Mark Lopez farms in Pennsylvania, but he's also a licensed veterinarian. He explained how pasteurizing robs milk of its nutritional properties --especially one super-strong protein.
"It is intensely anti-bacteria and anti-cancer, and when you pasteurize it, it becomes de-natured," he told CBN News. "And it's not active anymore. So you're kind of killing all of the good properties."
Raw Milk Raids
For years now, the FDA has been launching stings and raids against some farmers and health clubs that defy the FDA's law.
"When we were transporting raw milk into Reno, Nev., and Las Vegas across the state lines, they sought a federal injunction against us," McAfee said. "But we were able to settle it and keep from going to jail."
"But the bottom line is they're criminalizing raw milk going across state lines," he added.
Jonathan Emord, an attorney and author of the book The Rise of Tyranny, defended raw milk "criminals."
He said he's appalled that the FDA has set law enforcement officers on ordinary citizens, "barging into a company whose only sin is that it makes raw milk and treating them as if they're drug lords, throwing them down on the ground, handcuffing them, escorting them off to prison."
Raw milk advocates push back against this persecution with rallies like one in May which featured a real cow being milked on Capitol Hill, the resulting raw milk drunk on the spot.
And Tuesday, they directly flaunted the FDA law, right outside the bureaucracy's Silver Spring headquarters, defying the FDA to arrest moms serving the illegal liquid to their children.
"Our goal here today was really to establish a precedent whether or not the FDA would go so far as to arrest parents for bringing raw milk across state lines for their families," said Liz Reitzig, co-founder of the Farm Food Freedom Coalition.
"If not, they're setting the precedent that this is a law that they enforce only sporadically or only selectively," she added.
These raw milk demonstrators came prepared to be arrested, but weren't all that disappointed that they weren't since they say it proves their main point: raw milk is so safe, it's not worth making it illegal.
Lopez feels the matter is much ado about nothing because raw milk producers can simply stop selling across state lines and do what the FDA and state health agencies want.
"Get a permit, get your milk tested, obey the laws. That's all they ask," Lopez said.
But Emord said it's not the raw milk moms and dads who are guilty of crimes but the FDA.
"The FDA is without question a very corrupt agency," he said.
He accused FDA bureaucrats of opposing raw milk because that's what the dairy industry wants -- another case of bureaucrats serving big money industries that can reward them with rich jobs later.
"The industry position is the only one that stands a chance of giving an economic reward to the political appointees when they leave office," he told CBN News.
Emord says these bureaucrats no longer answer to anyone, and all Americans must answer to them.
"We have a bureaucratic oligarchy running this country, unfortunately," he said "When nine-tenths of all federal law is not the product of those we elect but is rather the product of the unelected heads of the bureaucratic agencies, we've lost our republic."
He believes that when an agency bullies and makes criminals out of average citizens, "That very much defines tyranny."
CBN News asked the FDA repeatedly for an interview. They declined, but pointed out in a statement there've been 143 outbreaks of illness tied to raw milk since 1987.
Raw milk fans contend that pasteurized milk has caused hundreds of thousands of health problems in the same period of time.