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"raw milk"

“Dairy farmer Vernon Hershberger was acquitted on three of four criminal charges early Saturday morning in a trial that drew national attention from supporters of the raw, unpasteurized milk movement.” Hershberger sold his products through what he characterized as a consumer buying club, but prosecutors charged that the set-up was too much like a retail store, with price stickers and a cash register; Wisconsin law bans the sale of raw milk products through a retail store. “‘This is as close to Prohibition as anything I have ever seen, but this time it’s milk and an Amish farmer, rather than liquor and gangsters,’ [defense attorney Glenn] Reynolds said.” [Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel; Ryan Ekvall, Reason]

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Knock three times at the cheese-easy: “A yearlong sting operation involving a multitude of state and federal agencies brought to justice Wednesday a dangerous ring of raw dairy enthusiasts in California.” [C.J. Ciamarella, Daily Caller; Reason.tv]

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Well, then, FDA, just don’t consume any of it (h/t), rather than conducting year-long stings on Amish farmers to keep others from doing so.

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Maryland roundup

by Walter Olson on April 12, 2014

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Maryland roundup

by Walter Olson on April 6, 2014

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Food roundup

by Walter Olson on December 31, 2013

  • Gee, thanks, NIH: “Taxpayer-Funded Propaganda to Show the ‘Evils’ of Private Alcohol Sales” [Michelle Minton, CEI]
  • “So this summer, under the supervision of officials from U.S. Customs, all three thousand two hundred and ninety-seven pounds of Mimolette were tossed into dumpsters and doused in bleach.” [The New Yorker, Dec. 9, subscription; S.F. Chronicle, earlier on French cheese controversy here, here, etc.]
  • FDA forced to back off FSMA regs, NYC soda ban loses twice in court, and other highlights of the year in food freedom [Baylen Linnekin] “Americans Think They Should Be Allowed to Buy Foods with Trans Fats and Caffeinated Energy Drinks” [Emily Ekins on new Reason-RUPE poll] “The Dangers of a Soda Tax” [Trevor Burrus] Linnekin podcast on FDA’s trans-fat ban [Cato, Caleb Brown interview]
  • “Annals of Closing Statements in Exploding Bottle Cases” [Kyle Graham]
  • “Minnesota says raw milk makes more people sick than recognized” [L.A. Times]
  • It’s for the children: proposals for regulating in-store food marketing [Jennifer Pomeranz via Public Citizen]
  • Federal sugar program devastated domestic candy manufacturing, as WaPo (sometimes) recognizes [Chris Edwards]

November 20 roundup

by Walter Olson on November 20, 2013

  • KlearGear and the consumer non-disparagement clause that ate (or tried to eat) Chicago [Popehat and followup]
  • “House Passes Bill That Would Open Asbestos Trusts To Scrutiny” [Daniel Fisher/Forbes, Chamber-backed Legal NewsLine]
  • Randy Maniloff interviews Judge Richard Posner on his new book Reflections on Judging [Coverage Opinions]
  • In a custody fight, anything can happen: “Dad Accused of ‘Unfit Parenting’ for Refusing to Take His Son to McDonalds” [TIME]
  • “Released after serving 10 years on false rape accusation –then wrongly arrested for not registering as sex offender” [Chicago Tribune via @radleybalko]
  • Institute for Justice launches campaign to challenge local restrictions on food with suits over sale of cottage baked goods, front-yard vegetable gardens, advertising of raw milk [AP/Yahoo, "National Food Freedom Initiative"]
  • Alabama regulators add hassle factor when business tries to move into the state [Coyote]

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Food roundup

by Walter Olson on June 19, 2013

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  • Forfeiture: “Defend the Right to Carry Cash and Travel Unmolested” [Eapen Thampy, Agitator]
  • Recent Japanese racketeering law, unlike our RICO, actually focuses on organized crime [Adelstein]
  • Sheriff’s flack to Fiona Apple: shut up and sing [Ken at Popehat]
  • Jimenez case: 99-year sentence, “substantial likelihood defendant was not guilty of this offense” [Jacob Sullum]
  • Conrad Black continues to speak out on barbarities of “prosecutocracy” [NY Sun]
  • “Are whistle-blowers the new IRS business model?” [Victor Fleischer, NYT DealBook]
  • “Minnesota Farmer Found ‘Not Guilty’ in Raw Milk Case” [Katherine Mangu-Ward, Reason]
  • Utah man shoots neighbor he thinks “telepathically raped” his wife, is ruled mentally fit for trial [CBS]

Food roundup

by Walter Olson on September 11, 2012

  • Prop 37: Oakland Tribune thumbs down [editorial] “Natural” language a flashpoint [Glenn Lammi, WLF] Earlier here, here;
  • “Danish government may scrap its ‘fat tax’ after only one year because it simply doesn’t work” [Mark J. Perry, AEIdeas]
  • “Mouse in Mountain Dew saga comes to an end” [Madison County Record, earlier]
  • Food safety and local producers: “FDA Rules Won’t Work, Will Harm Small Farmers” [Ryan Young, CEI] “How Farmers’ Markets Dodged a Regulatory Bullet in Pennsylvania” [Baylen Linnekin, Reason]
  • “On the roads, on the cheese board… many Europeans now have more freedom than Americans.” [Mark Steyn]
  • Mayor Bloomberg extends his healthy-beverage solicitude to the youngest consumers [Steve Chapman]
  • In France, raw milk in vending machines [Mark Perry] FDA ban on interstate shipment of raw milk dates back to lawsuit by Public Citizen’s Sidney Wolfe [Linnekin]

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Food roundup

by Walter Olson on July 26, 2012

  • Chicago city government joins Boston in threatening to use regulation to punish Chick-fil-A for its political views [Josh Barro, Eugene Volokh, earlier, Tim Carney]
  • NYC hearing on Bloomberg soda ban “a pre-scripted event with a foregone conclusion” [ACSH, WLF] despite inclusion of Baylen Linnekin on witness list [Reason, Jacob Sullum] If calories are the point: “Hey, Mayor Mike, why not ban beer?” [Sullum, NYDN]
  • California restaurants serving foie gras “can be fined up to $1,000…or is it a tax?” [Fox via @ReplevinforaCow]
  • When nutrition labeling meets deli salads: the FDA invades Piggly Wiggly [Diane Katz, Heritage]
  • “Raw Milk Advocates Lose the Battle But Win the War” [ABA Journal]
  • “PLoS Medicine is Publishing An Attack On ‘Big Food’” [David Oliver]
  • More signs that Mayor Bloomberg is eyeing liquor as a public health target [NYP, earlier] Oasis in the putative food desert: “In praise of the corner liquor store” [Katherine Mangu-Ward, Reason]

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April 11 roundup

by Walter Olson on April 11, 2012

  • “Public pool owners struggle to meet chair-lift deadline” [Springfield, Ill. Journal-Register, earlier]
  • Punitive damages aren’t vested entitlement/property, so why the surprise they’d be cut off in an administered Chrysler bankruptcy? [Adler]
  • More on how Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) reauthorization would chip away rights of accused [Bader, Heritage, earlier]
  • Defending sale of raw milk on libertarian principle shouldn’t mean overlooking its real risks [Greg Conko/CEI; Mark Perry on one of many heavy-handed enforcement actions against milk vendors]
  • More tributes to longtime Cato Institute chairman Bill Niskanen [Regulation magazine (PDF), earlier]
  • Asbestos lawyers wrangle about alleged swiping of client files [Above the Law]
  • “Nathan Chapman & Michael McConnell: Due Process as Separation of Powers” [SSRN via Rappaport, Liberty & Law]

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Food law roundup

by Walter Olson on January 27, 2012

  • NYC health officials, in yet another federally funded food-denunciation ad campaign, Photoshop leg off obese guy to turn him into supposed diabetic amputee [my new Cato post, Radley Balko; more Caroline May/Daily Caller] Still at it update: “First 5″ government program ad campaign Photoshops pic of little girl to make her look more obese [Jezebel, Jun. 2013]
  • Are White House advisors reading my posts? Probably not, but deregulation of dairy-farm “oil” spills still gave President an applause line in State of the Union speech [also at Cato]
  • More on L.A. schools’ healthy-lunch debacle [WSJ edit, earlier] It’s an illustration of how promising pilot projects often don’t scale [Megan McArdle] New Penn State study finds no connection between child obesity and availability of “bad” foods at school [NYT, Philly Mag, study via Wajert]
  • “Obesity plateau” of American population should offer chance for calm policy reflection, but probably won’t [Jacob Sullum] “Food Lawsuits Claiming ‘Addiction’ Coming To a Courtroom Near You?” [Lammi, Forbes]
  • Despite lip service to “letting consumers make their own food choices,” Obama won’t legalize raw milk [Obama Foodarama]
  • Coming in April from Tyler Cowen, “An Economist Gets Lunch: New Rules for Everyday Foodies” [Amazon, Freakonomics, Food and Drink category of MR, and you can follow Twitter account @AnEconomistGets;
  • "2011 Brought Lots of Good News for Salt Lovers" [Greg Conko, Open Market]

Dan Charles at NPR reports on how parts of the media joined in last month to hype a report by journalist Andrew Schneider in Food Safety News raising alarms about the safety and authenticity of honey. (Similarly: Maggie Koerth-Baker, BoingBoing). “It sounded so right, plenty of people decided that it just had to be true. … But then we decided to look into it a little more closely. We talked to honey companies, academic experts, and one of the world’s top honey laboratories in Germany. The closer we looked, the more misleading the story in Food Safety News seemed.”

My Cato colleague Sallie James was among the few to take a skeptical tone about the Schneider allegations when they first hit the press. And as NPR points out, Food Safety News is part of the sprawling new media empire of Bill Marler, the very media-savvy food poisoning lawyer whose Marler Clark law firm has done much to sway press discussion of many food safety issues. On a different topic, did Marler really say the other day that raw milk farmers should count themselves lucky they’re not put to death?

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October 13 roundup

by Walter Olson on October 13, 2011

  • Behind the antitrust assault on Google [Jerry Brito, Josh Wright, more]
  • Rapid rise of lawsuit lenders [WSJ] And a Searle Civil Justice Institute conference on third party financing of litigation;
  • More law firms muscle into class action against e-book publishers [PaidContent] Fifth Circuit questions cy pres [Trask] And a new edition of the Federalist Society’s Class Action Watch is out;
  • When the house painters announce they’re not leaving: “Britain plans to tighten anti-squatter laws” [NYT]
  • “Courts Call Out Copyright Trolls’ Coercive Business Model, Threaten Sanctions” [EFF] “Righthaven’s Copyright Trolling is a Bankrupt Idea” [Cit Media Law] More: Vegas Inc.
  • “Twombly is the Logical Extension of the Mathews v. Eldridge Test to Discovery” [Andrew Blair-Stanek via Volokh, Frank] “Four more reasons to love TwIqbal” [Beck] “O’Scannlain says 9th Circ has adopted ‘Iqbal lite’ pleading standard, ‘Same insufficient complaints, fewer dismissals!’” [@ScottKGraham on dissent in Starr v. County of Los Angeles, PDF]
  • Florida farms sell raw milk as (wink) “pet food” [Sun-Sentinel]

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Food law roundup

by Walter Olson on July 11, 2011

  • Texas legalizes sale of home-baked goods; “Mom can come out of hiding” [KLTV; @JohnWaggoner] New York regulators order Greenmarket cheese vendors to stop custom-slicing wedges for customers [Baylen Linnekin]
  • Children who take school lunch more likely to be obese than those who brown bag it [Freddoso] And is there still time to save chocolate milk? [Boston Herald on proposed Massachusetts school ban]
  • “Obesity policy” in theory: “High-calorie food is too cheap” argument of NYT’s Leonhardt is open to doubt [Josh Wright] “Is obesity really contagious?” [Zoë Pollock, The Dish] Knives out among scientists debating food causes of obesity [Trevor Butterworth, Forbes] Feds look to regulate food similarly to tobacco in hope of saving money on health care [Munro, Daily Caller]
  • …and practice: “Calorie counts don’t change most people’s dining-out habits, experts say” [WaPo, Richer/WLF] Obama nutrition campaign: eat as we say, not as we do [The Hill] Of recent USDA “recipes for healthy kids,” 12 of 15 would not have met proposed FTC ad standards [WSJ] Nanny’s comeuppance? “States rein in anti-obesity laws” [WSJ Law Blog]
  • “Food safety chief defends raw milk raids” [Carolyn Lochhead, SF Chronicle, earlier]
  • “It’s Time to End the War on Salt: The zealous drive by politicians to limit our salt intake has little basis in science” [Melinda Wenner Moyer, Scientific American]
  • After talking with experts, NYT’s Mark Bittman walks back some assertions about the European e. coli outbreak, now blamed on Egyptian fenugreek seeds [Science Mag; related, Kolata/NYT]
  • “If anything, China’s food scandals are becoming increasingly frequent and bizarre.” [LATimes]
  • Public criticism of activist food policy often calls forth a barrage of letters defending government role in diet. Ever wonder why? [Prevention Institute "rapid response" talking point campaign; how taxpayers help]

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Surprisingly or otherwise, some big business groups like the Grocery Manufacturers of America have allied with consistent Big Government advocacy groups like the Consumer Federation of America and Center for Science in the Public Interest to push S. 510, the food safety bill pending before the Senate (which might win consideration in the lame-duck session). In a post at Cato at Liberty recently, I cited writer Barry Estabrook, an ardent critic of the food industry (“Politics of the Plate“), writing at The Atlantic, who says the bill could “make things worse”:

You needn’t go along completely with Estabrook’s dim view of industrialized agriculture to realize he’s right in one of his central contentions: “the proposed rules would disproportionately impose costs upon” small producers, including traditional, low-tech and organic farmers and foodmakers selling to neighbors and local markets. Even those with flawless safety records or selling low-risk types of foodstuff could be capsized by new paperwork and regulatory burdens that larger operations will be able to absorb as a cost of doing business.

It’s true that S. 510 includes language not in earlier drafts that nods toward the idea of tiering regulatory burdens. But as the Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance notes (background), most of the small-producer-friendly changes are left to FDA discretion, so it really depends on how much you trust that process. Note also these comments (background) by Peter Kennedy for the Farm-To-Consumer Legal Defense Fund, which focuses primarily on defending raw milk, and in particular Kennedy’s discussion (as things that may be particularly burdensome to small entities) of HARPC (“hazard analysis and risk-based preventive controls”), traceability, penalties, expansion of federal jurisdiction, and produce standards, as well as the terms of S. 3767, the “Food Safety Accountability Act of 2010,” a new measure introduced by Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy. On the “pro” side, here is an advocacy sheet (anonymous on its face, but attributed in some quarters to Senate staffers) defending the measure as fair to small farmers (& welcome Professor Bainbridge readers).

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July 30 roundup

by Walter Olson on July 30, 2010

  • Hilton Head dispute over pet turkeys leads to $4.25 million verdict [Island Packet via Lowering the Bar]
  • “Lucasfilm lightsaber legal threat letter sells for $3,850″ [BoingBoing, earlier]
  • Raw milk: “If The Government Says That It’s Not About Freedom, Then It’s Just NOT” [Ken at Popehat vs. L.A. Times]
  • Dell “failed to stress” accounting disclosure. SEC: that will be $100 million [TJIC]
  • Dodd-Frank dubbed “Lawyers’ and Consultants’ Full Employment Act of 2010″ [Mark Perry, WSJ Law Blog]
  • “Did liberal judges invent the standing doctrine? An Empirical Study of the Evolution of Standing, 1921-2006″ [Ho/Ross, Stanford Law Review]
  • Office of Connecticut AG Blumenthal doesn’t emerge with glory from fertility doctor case [Pesci]
  • Massachusetts high court tosses 125-year-old rule: owners now face wider liability for snow/ice hazards [Globe]

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