Minnesota dairy farmer Michael Hartmann was arrested for selling raw milk and other raw dairy products. The Worthington area farmer was initially charged with selling unpasteurized milk in 2010 and pled guilty to those charges. State health officials reportedly linked E. coli illnesses to Hartmann’s raw milk products.
Michael Hartmann had three new charges levied against him earlier this year. Agricultural officials searched the Hartmann in Gibbon and found 300 gallons of raw milk. The Minnesota dairy farmer was charged with misdemeanors related delivering unpasteurized dairy products, an act which is illegal in the state.
The battle between state officials and the dairy farmer has reportedly encompassed a dozen years. The earlier criminal charges related to raw milk sales at the farm. Charges were also levied against Hartmann’s wife Diana, his brother Roger, and staffer Linda Schultz, 68. Hartmann’s decision to plead guilty was reportedly in exchange for a plea bargain that included dropping all charges against the other defendants.
The Minnesota dairy farmer was ordered to pay a $585 fine and was placed on unsupervised probation for six months. Mike Hartmann also had to agree to follow all state food labeling and licensing laws.
State law allows dairy farmers to sell raw milk on their farms, but does not permit delivering the unpasteurized dairy products to other locations for sale. The most recent round of charges include the alleged improper labeling of raw cheese.
The battle for the right to sell and consume raw dairy products in ongoing in at least 15 states. Wisconsin State Senator Glenn Grothman plans to introduce a bill to overturn a raw milk ban put in place by former Governor Jim Doyle. The Libertarian Party of Wisconsin has joined the fight to permit residents the option of consuming unpasteurized milk.
As previously reported by The Inquisitr, the Morningland Dairy, a long-standing family business, was essentially put out of business over allegedly tainted raw cheese. The Missouri dairy’s owner maintains the cheese recovered during a raw foods club raid was improperly transported and stored before testing.
The Morningland Dairy also maintains that cheese on the farm was not tainted and never tested for any type of bacteria, but was still ordered destroyed.
How do you feel about raw milk and raw cheese?
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