Oregon Raw Milk

Anderson v. Coba
Oregon Dairy Farmer Challenges Censorship of Raw Milk Advertising
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IJ Client Christine Anderson

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Watch Raw Deal: Raw Milk Farmers Fight Censorship


In Oregon, it was perfectly legal for Christine Anderson, owner of Cast Iron Farm, about an hour outside of Portland, to sell raw—that is, unpasteurized—milk . . . so long as she did not talk about it. That was because the state flatly banned the advertisement of this lawful product. That meant Christine was prohibited from putting flyers on the bulletin board of the local health food store or price information on her farm’s website. She was not even allowed to have a roadside sign at the farm saying, “We’ve Got Raw Milk.” In fact, engaging in such speech would have subjected Christine to a fine of $6,250 and civil penalties as high as $10,000—plus a year in jail.

Oregon’s censorship of truthful commercial speech harmed farmers and consumers alike. Consumers, who increasingly seek out raw milk for its unique taste and nutritional benefits, had an incredibly difficult time finding the product because farmers were not free to promote it. Farmers were also forbidden from promoting the safety and testing measures they undertake in producing their milk, and consumers, in turn, were deprived of the ability to know exactly how a farmer’s milk was produced. Oregon’s ban resulted in a market where the free flow of information from farmer to consumer was not only impeded, but outlawed.

Oregon’s farmers have a constitutional right to promote the products they offer. That is why the Institute for Justice joined with Christine to take on Oregon’s dairy censors. On November 19, 2013, they filed a First Amendment challenge in federal court to strike down Oregon’s raw milk advertising ban so that farmers could freely and proudly speak about the wonderful products they have to offer. The case was part of IJ’s National Food Freedom Initiative (view our Minnesota Cottage Food case and our Florida Veggies case).

On February 13, 2014, Oregon backed down. The director of the state’s Department of Agriculture issued a directive ordering Department personnel not to enforce the advertising ban and agreed to urge the legislature to repeal it. The legislature, in turn, repealed the ban in May 2015. Because of Christine’s courageous stand for free speech, Oregon farmers are now free to promote their products.


Essential Background

Audio, Video and Images

Backgrounder: Got Free Speech?  Oregon Dairy Farmer Challenges Censorship of Raw Milk Advertising

Client Video

Client Photos

Latest Release: Oregon Farmers Now Free to Advertise Raw Milk (May 13, 2015) Press conference video (November 19, 2013)

Launch Release: Oregon Farmer Challenges Ban on Raw Milk Advertising (November 19, 2013)

Legal Briefs and Decisions

Complaint filed (November 19,2013)

Case Timeline

Filed Lawsuit: 


November 19, 2013

Court Filed:


U.S District Court for the District of Oregon



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 Current Court: U.S District Court for the District of Oregon


  Next Key Date:


Additional Releases

Maps, Charts and Facts

Release: Oregon Farmer Wins Case Challenging Raw Milk Advertising Ban (February 13, 2014)

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Op-eds, News Articles and Links

Article: Oregon drops ban on raw milk advertising Associated Press (May 14, 2015)

Article: Raw milk advertising fight ends as it should: Editorial Agenda 2014 The Oregonian (February 20, 2014)

Article: Raw milk dairy farmer in Oregon wins fight against advertising ban The Oregonian (February 13, 2014)
Article: Dairy challenges Oregon raw milk ad ban Capital Press (November 20, 2013)
Article: Oregon farmer sues over raw milk advertising ban CNBC (November 20, 2013)

Opinion: Why we are challenging Oregon's ban on raw-milk advertising The Oregonian (November 19, 2013) 

Article: Raw milk producer sues Oregon Department of Agriculture over advertising ban The Oregonian (November 19, 2013)

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