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Blaine Stands With Food Sovereignty Activists;


Maine DHHS Backs Down on Goat’s Milk Harassment


Fort Fairfield Journal, September 18, 2013


Belfast, Maine - In response to threats from the Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) against Alorah Gellerson, for feeding her infant son a homemade formula containing goat's milk, retired Navy Captain and Republican Congressional Candidate Blaine Richardson spoke at an event to protest this overreach of government authority.

   Alorah began feeding her infant son, Carson, a homemade goat's milk formula because he was not taking to breast feeding. Despite an improvement in Carson's health, Alorah's doctor reported her to DHHS, who quickly pounced on the family, claiming that the goat's milk was somehow endangering the baby's health. Citing United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) guidelines, DHHS threatened to take baby Carson away from Alorah if they did not comply with multiple examinations and a mandatory overnight hospital stay to force her son onto store-bought formula.

   Upon learning about this situation, Richardson reacted, "These agencies are alleged to be protecting and serving the public at our direction, but instead they are playing food police for big farming and putting an enormous hardship on Maine families. We aren't funding these agencies with our tax dollars so that they can kidnap children and breakup families."

   "In this gross abuse of government power, Maine DHHS cited the federal government's recommendations from the USDA about what to feed babies. The USDA has zero constitutional authority to be dictating to us what we feed our children. The right to choose what we eat is one of our most basic human rights," Richardson explained.

   Four doctors with Eastern Maine Medical Center cleared Carson for release, but a DHHS doctor-who had never examined Carson-overruled their decision and mandated an overnight hospital stay. The threats and harassment of this family by DHHS continued for many days thereafter, including phone calls and surprise visits.

   A mandatory appointment with the DHHS doctor was scheduled for September 5, in Bangor. To show support for the family and for food freedom, an event was scheduled for the same day. Despite the appointment being cancelled before the event took place, approximately 100 citizens turned out in support.

   Richardson was one of several who spoke at the event, "Our life and our liberty in this issue is being assaulted from all angles, from the state and from the federal government. I've about had it. I don't know about anybody else out here, how you feel in particular, but I want to make my own food choices. I made my own food choices for my two grown children. Life is hard, but our children are OUR children, they're our flesh and blood. They are not the wards of the State of Maine and certainly not the wards of the Federal Government."

   When Alorah and Carson arrived home after the event, there was a letter from DHHS waiting for them. It stated that the investigation was being closed and that there were no findings of neglect.

"Food, education and medical choices are a parent's alone to make. Let us not become people who sit back and allow government to make choices for our families," Alroah proclaimed.

   Richardson agrees and is pleased that DHHS backed down. "We should never allow governments to trample our most basic rights and threaten to take our children away. I am glad that DHHS reversed-course and ceased harassment of this family."



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