State employees, including members of the Pennsylvania State Police, raided Amos Miller’s Lancaster County farm Thursday, reportedly as a result of an investigation into the farmer’s supposed violations of state food safety codes.
The raid was conducted under the authority of the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, along with the state police, according to the Lancaster Patriot.
Miller, the farmer, has been involved in a long dispute with both the state and federal governments over food and meat inspection and health safety guidelines after officials have accused him of selling dangerous food that doesn’t meet inspection standards.
Pennsylvania officials claim that they were contacted by public health officials in New York and Michigan about illnesses reported in minors who ate the raw milk products sold by Miller, Lancaster Online reported.
The search warrant, dated Jan. 3, that the Pennsylvania health agents served on Miller “sought, among other things, illegal raw milk and raw milk products, including eggnog,” the media outlet said.
The agency added, “Miller has never licensed his retail operation.”
The state also claims that incidents of illness date back to 2016, and the most recent case was Dec. 19.
On top of that, authorities implied that one person died as a result of consuming food purchased from Miller.
“[T]he Food and Drug Administration said it identified listeria in samples of Miller’s raw milk and found it to be genetically similar to the bacteria in two people who developed listeriosis — one of whom died — after consuming raw milk,” Lancaster Online reported.
Sheri Morris, acting bureau director of food safety with the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, was reportedly notified by the New York State Health Department about “a confirmed positive case of a foodborne pathogen (STEC – Shiga toxin producing E. Coli) in an underage individual” who supposedly consumed food items sold by Miller, the Lancaster Patriot reported.
Kentucky Republican Congressman Thomas Massie blasted the raid in a post on social media platform X.
“With all of the problems in society today, this is what the government wants to focus on?” Massie wrote, adding, “A man growing food for informed customers, without participating in the industrial meat/milk complex?”
“It’s shameful that it’s come to this,” he railed.
Looks like Amos Miller’s farm is being raided.
With all of the problems in society today, this is what the government wants to focus on?
A man growing food for informed customers, without participating in the industrial meat/milk complex?
It’s shameful that it’s come to this. https://t.co/pWwjp6cgPh
— Thomas Massie (@RepThomasMassie) January 4, 2024
Massie has been active in attempting to craft legislation to allow farmers to sell farm products directly to consumers without being regulated by state and federal officials.
For his part, Miller, whose farm has been raided before, has claimed the rights of a “sovereign citizen” to sell his products to whomever he wants. He has cited the ability of adults to buy his products if they want to, Lancaster Online added. And he is also citing his Amish religion and his right to freedom of religion under the U.S. Constitution.
“Sovereign citizen adherents believe in the legally baseless assertion that individuals, and not courts or lawmakers, can decide what laws to follow,” Lancaster Online explained.
Miller’s attorney, Robert Barnes, issued a statement about the authorities’ attempt to force Miller into compliance, the Patriot reported.
“Today, the Department of Agriculture of the State of Pennsylvania suddenly came, without notice, raided Amos’ farm, and detained everything Amos had in the farm’s freezer. They did so in a lawless manner, without appropriate authority, in violation of their own rules and regulations, despite never objecting to the prior resolutions reached with the federal government, and despite a complete failure by the state to even reach out to Amos’ known counsel,” Barnes said.
“The state’s own rules require advance notice, reasonable time frames for inspections, and a showing of credentials, none of which occurred here. Instead, the state unlawfully obtained a search warrant, based on materially false statements in an affidavit by a high-ranking state official in an agency with a known grievance against independent farmers like Amos, and, after the raid and finding no evidence of wrongdoing, then illegally ordered detained every item of food in one of Amos Miller’s coolers, including buffalo meat not even subject to federal regulation,” Barnes added.
“The detention order is patently illegal under Pennsylvania law. Despite the constant harassment, Amos will continue to do all he legally can to provide the food his members deeply need. Amos thanks you for your continued support at this critical time for food freedom in America,” the attorney concluded.
The situation is certainly a complicated one. Adults absolutely should have the freedom to make deals with farmers directly and skip processing plants and big food producers if they so desire. But state officials also have a responsibility to maintain safety for the public. It is a thorny issue, especially when minors become involved.
In the end, the government must remember that Americans have a right to deal with whomever they wish. But if Miller’s chemical-free organic foods were as dangerous as officials say, one would think he would not have any customers left after so many years of being targeted as a public menace.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.