Shutterstock

It's the rare bipartisan issue.

Raw milk is in the political spotlight once again as the "food freedom" movement gains bipartisan support in Washington. While some Republicans, like former Texas Rep. Ron Paul, quietly fought the raw milk cause for years — demanding the federal government stay out of the nation's dairy consumption — as Politico reports a growing number of Democrats are co-sponsoring related measures, including Colorado Rep. Jared Polis and Maine Rep. Chellie Pingree.

Consumer rights, supporting small farms, food fads, and the demand for less regulation all mix together to form the heart of the food freedom movement. Kentucky Rep. Thomas Massie, a favorite among libertarians, recently introduced two bills concerning raw milk, including the wonderfully-named Interstate Milk Freedom Act of 2014, which supports the right of consumers to eat what they like, however unhealthy it may be. The bills would let consumers buy directly from producers, putting an end to the "criminalization of dairy farmers who offer raw milk," Massie said.

Given the strain in rebellious, anti-government strain in the raw milk battle, it's interesting that urbanite foodies (read: progressives) are also taking part in movement. Joel Salatin, who is something of a food and farm freedom celebrity, applauds the inclusion of "urban foodies" and environmentalists. “It does make for some very strange bedfellows,” he told Politico. "When I give speeches now, the room is half full of libertarians and half full of very liberal Democrats. The bridge is food."

Top image: South Dakota dairy farmer Trevor Gilkerson bottles raw milk on his family farm in January. (Eric Ladwehr/Associated Press)

Raw milk supporters claim there are boundless health benefits — as long as the milk-producing cows are healthy — including components that strengthen the immune system. But raw milk by definition skips the pasteurization process, meaning the end product could contain E. coli and salmonella bacteria. States are currently allowed to regulate the sale of raw milk within their own borders, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have reported that 75 percent of raw milk disease outbreaks have come from the 21 states where its legal to sell non-pasteurized products. Still, despite the health risks, it sounds a little bit safer than the anti-vaccine movement.

Top image: Valentyn Volkov/Shutterstock.com

This post originally appeared on The Wire.

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. photo: Cranes on the skyline in Oakland, California
    Life

    How to Make a Housing Crisis

    The new book Golden Gates details how California set itself up for its current affordability crunch—and how it can now help build a nationwide housing movement.

  2. Life

    Why Amsterdam May Clamp Down on Weed and Sex Work

    Proposals to ban cannabis for tourists and relocate the red-light district would dramatically reshape the city’s anything-goes image.

  3. animated illustration: cars, bikes, scooters and drones in motion.
    Transportation

    This City Was Sick of Tech Disruptors. So It Decided to Become One.

    To rein in traffic-snarling new mobility modes, L.A. needed digital savvy. Then came a privacy uproar, a murky cast of consultants, and a legal crusade by Uber.

  4. photo: bicyclists in Paris during a transit strike in December.
    Transportation

    Paris Mayor: It's Time for a '15-Minute City'

    In her re-election campaign, Mayor Anne Hidalgo says that every Paris resident should be able to meet their essential needs within a short walk or bike ride.

  5. A photo of a police officer in El Paso, Texas.
    Equity

    What New Research Says About Race and Police Shootings

    Two new studies have revived the long-running debate over how police respond to white criminal suspects versus African Americans.

×