You thought you had the right to choose what you eat? The FDA says you don’t. They claim that there is no fundamental right to choose your food or freedom to contract for it. Responding to a Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund lawsuit, the FDA clearly states that you do not have the right to freedom of choice in your diet.
Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund (FTCLDF) Lawsuit Against the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
The FTCLDF is a 501(c)(4) organization, which means that it exists to promote the social welfare of its members and community. They define their reason for being in one sentence:
Sustainable farming and direct farm-to-consumer transactions further the common good and general welfare of all Americans.
Their Mission Statement says, in whole:
The Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund is a 501 (c) (4) non-profit organization made up of farmers and consumers joining together and pooling resources to:
- Protect the constitutional right of the nation’s family farms to provide processed and unprocessed farm foods directly to consumers through any legal means.
- Protect the constitutional right of consumers to obtain unprocessed and processed farm foods directly from family farms.
- Protect the nation’s family farms from harassment by federal, state, and local government interference with food production and on-farm food processing.
On behalf of its members and for all family farms in the US, the FTCLDF filed a lawsuit against the FDA, claiming “that the federal regulations (21 CFR 1240.61 and 21 CFR 131.110) banning raw milk for human consumption in interstate commerce are unconstitutional and outside of FDA’s statutory authority as applied to FTCLDF’s members and the named individual plaintiffs in the suit.”
The FDA responded by claiming a number of things, including the absurd idea that the FTCLDF has no standing to file the case! That is, they’re claiming that the organization that represents the people who have been harmed by the FDA’s actions does not actually represent them. They claim that no harm has been shown, in spite of the fact that the FDA’s actions have prevented farmers from producing and selling raw milk and their customers have lost the ability to obtain it.
The FDA’s Response and Claims
The FDA makes several statements in response to the lawsuit. The implications for personal freedoms are frightening.
No Fundamental Right to Raw Milk
The FDA claims that “…plaintiffs’ assertion of a new ‘fundamental right’ under substantive due process to produce, obtain, and consume unpasteurized milk lacks any support in law.” This implies that no rights exist unless they have been specifically granted. This concept runs completely counter to the basic concepts of the nation. The Declaration of Independence states:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.
A basic notion in the founding of the nation is that rights do not have to be delineated. The rights identified in the Declaration of Independence clearly stated that they are merely “among” the obvious rights of people. How could anyone suggest that obtaining one’s food of choice is not an inherent right?
FDA Has the Right to Set the Rules for How They May Be Controlled
The FDA claims that, before filing a lawsuit, the FTCLDF should have filed a petition with the FDA. In other words, they’re claiming that they have the right to set the rules by which they may be accessed and controlled. If the FDA has such a right, then it is unaccountable to the people.
No Historical Tradition of Access to Food of Choice
The FDA states that “there is no ‘deeply rooted’ historical tradition of unfettered access to food of all kinds.” This implies that one does not have the right to a vegetable garden containing one’s choice of foods, or that choosing organic over petroleum-based fertilizer is not a right, or that one has no right to choose to eat a vegetarian diet.
“There is No Generalized Right to Bodily and Physical Health.”
This title quotes the title of a section of the FDA’s response to the lawsuit. If that doesn’t terrify you, then nothing can. The FDA is, literally, claiming that they have the right to take a person’s health if it suits them. The section uses specious logic, claiming that there is no right to bodily and physical health because, according to them, there is no right to food choice, which is a claim that only the FDA could make.
It’s interesting that the FDA is implicitly acknowledging that there is a connection between food and health, though they deny that one has a right to either freedom of food or pursuance of bodily and physical health.
“There is No Fundamental Right to Freedom of Contract.”
Another section of the FDA’s response is the above title claiming that individuals do not have the right to engage in contracts as they choose. This flies in the face of the basic right implied in the Constitution and strengthened by the 5th and 14th amendments. Limitations have been placed when contractual rights conflict with personal rights.
However, the inherent right to freedom of contract has not been abrogated, in spite of the FDA’s claims. Their reference to it as “anachronistic” says more about the FDA’s attitude towards the people than it does about the intent of the law.
“FDA’s Regulations Rationally Advance the Agency’s Public Health Mission.”
This statement by the FDA—again, the title of a section of its response—is made without a shred of documentation in support. It is nothing more than a self-congratulatory statement of opinion, one that a large section of the American public does not accept. Indeed, the illogic and arrogance of the FDA’s entire response to the FTCLDF lawsuit tends to deny their claim to rationality.
The FDA’s Logic
The logic the FDA is using seems to be: If it isn’t specifically named in the Constitution, then there is no such right. The absurdity of that logic is revealed by suggesting that you don’t have the right to breathe because it wasn’t specifically granted by the Constitution.
What could be more basic to life and the right to live than the right to eat as we wish and obtain the food we wish to eat? We have the right to free speech and assembly. In light of that, how can the FDA claim that we don’t, by definition, have the right to eat what we choose?
Could the Founding Fathers have possibly envisioned a government that would infringe on an individual’s right to choice in food?
Nonetheless, we need to understand that, in one sense, the FDA is right. Unless we act to stop their intrusions into our rights, then their claims will, effectively, become law. They’ve almost accomplished it now. Consider that the FDA’s claim that you have no right to choose what you eat isn’t front page news. The battle is almost lost already. It’s time…no, it’s past time to take action.
“But I Don’t Believe in Raw Milk”
Some readers may believe that pasteurized milk is better. That’s your right. However, does that give the FDA the right to enforce pasteurized milk on everyone? At what point will the FDA be infringing on your rights to food and health?
Many people have found that switching to raw milk has improved, and even cured, serious health problems. In light of the fact that the FDA has stated that you have no right to health, at what point will something you require be made illegal or difficult to obtain? Do you find that taking Vitamin C helps prevent colds? Are you aware that the FDA is planning to infringe on your right to take it? What about Vitamin D? Many people are finding that it improves their health, yet the FDA disagrees and wants to regulate it.
Do you want the right to eat organic food? That may be abridged, too, as the FDA is grabbing the right to define what organic means. What about genetically modified foods? Studies are showing that they cause tremendous harm, yet the FDA doesn’t even want you to know when foods have been created through GM processes.
The list can go on. If you’ve found that a certain food provides a particular health benefit, but someone has made a health claim for it, did you know that you can be denied access to it—simply because of that health claim?
This is not about raw milk. This is about your right to pursue health and the food of your choice. Please, don’t ignore this plea. Whatever your views on any particular food, it should be self-evident that each person should have the right to obtain it. The FDA’s intrusions on our lives are egregious, fundamentally evil, and outrageous. Please, take action now! There truly is no time to waste.
You can start by going to the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund’s action pages:
- Help Congressman Ron Paul’s bid to overturn the federal ban on raw milk, HR 778. He needs cosponsors. Please go to FTCLDF’s Help HR 778 Get Co-Sponsors to End Raw Milk Ban page and follow instructions sign a petition on the subject.
- Help defeat HR 2749, which would give the FDA even more power and put small family farmers out of business. You can simply sign the petition, or add a message to make it more personal and powerful. Your representative will get the message.
Then, start writing to your representatives in Congress, including your rep in the House and your senator. Write to the president. Then, write to your local state representatives. They’re under pressure from the federal government to go along with these abridgements of our rights.
We, the People, can stop this encroachment of our rights—but only if you speak out, starting now!