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Court Bans Drinking Raw Milk … Even By Cow Owners

court bans raw milkThe seemingly endless battle over drinking raw milk may be heading to Canada’s Supreme Court.

In what could result in a landmark decision, Ontario farmer Michael Schmidt has decided to appeal a conviction for selling raw milk.

“Our plan is to move right to the Supreme Court,” Schmidt told the Canadian Press wire service after the Ontario Court of Appeals, the province’s top court, upheld his conviction for selling raw milk. That conviction had resulted in a $9,150 fine for violating a health protection law.

It is not illegal to drink raw milk in Canada as long as you own the cow but it is illegal to sell it. Schmidt had tried to get around that law by selling customers ownership in his farm – essentially allowing a customer to own part of the cows and the farm itself. The people drinking the raw milk, Schmidt argued, did own the cow. Schmidt’s arrangement was similar to that of Hennipen County, Minnesota farmer Alvin Schlangen who is being prosecuted for selling raw milk through a food club.

Current Canadian law requires milk to be pasteurized or boiled at 63 degrees Celsius (145.4 degrees Fahrenheit) for 30 minutes to kill pathogens before it can be sold to the public. Critics have long contended that this process deprives milk of many of its nutrients.

Off The Grid News has reported on a number of US cases where state authorities have banned the sale of raw milk.

Schmidt is Marketing, Court Says

The court of appeals in Canada disagreed with Schmidt’s reason when it upheld his conviction for operating a milk plant without a license. Schmidt had been charging people $300 to $1,200 to buy a share of a cow and providing them with milk from the cow.

Everything you need to know to keep a cow healthy, happy, and productive…

The court ruled that Schmidt’s operation was a commercial dairy and therefore subject to a law called the Milk Act. Schmidt had contended he was not operating a commercial dairy.

“The transactions involving unpasteurized milk that form the subject of the charges fall squarely within the ordinary meaning of the words ‘sale’ and ‘distribute’ as does the appellant’s dairy operation fall within the ordinary meaning of ‘plant’ and ‘premises’ in which milk or cream or milk products are processed,” Justice Robert J. Sharpe wrote of Schmidt’s operations.

Life-Long Battle for Raw Milk

Schmidt has vowed to keep providing customers with raw milk from the 24 dairy cows he keeps in the Owen Sound region of Ontario, as he appeals his case. Press reports and court documents indicate the milk cooperative has around 150 members.

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“Nothing really changes for me,” Schmidt said of the court ruling.

Schmidt has been tangling authorities since 1994 when a health inspector served him with an order to stop selling unpasteurized milk and milk products. The cow sharing scheme was only his latest effort to get around the Milk Act.

The farmer is also contending that the province is violating his constitutional rights by not recognizing the contract he has with his cow-share customers. Schmidt contends this violates the Ontario and Canadian constitutions which give him a right to enter into contracts.

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8 comments

  1. can’t hardly until we all get our citizen cards and allotment tattoos so that we can wait in line at the local government building for our approved daily food handouts!!!

  2. If people want to drink raw milk, just have then sign a waiver that says they understand the “risks” they are undertaking and they won’t sue anyone for any “problems” they have. Since raw milk is healthier than store-bought milk, there should never be any problems. 🙂

    • No. The milk should simply be clearly labeled as “unpasteurized, raw milk” with a warning label indicating the alleged benefits of pasteurization and alleged risks of failing to pasteurize. No waiver should be required or necessary. The farmer, dairy, cooperative, or what-have-you should be free from any legal responsibility if you get sick from drinking the unpasteurized milk. You consume it at your own risk. Illiteracy is no excuse if the information is written in the dominant language where the product is sold, distributed, or otherwise used.

  3. I feel like the goal of Health Canada is to protect us from, or educate us about, products that can do us serious harm. That is a respectable, moral goal I think.
    The problem is, I don’t feel protected by government legistation and laws meant to protect me from potential health risks. By banning raw milk based on safety, they are insinuating that food products that can be legally sold must be safe to consume. Funny, I could live on koolaid, vodka, pop-tarts and smoke a pack a day and I wouldn’t be breaking any laws. The healthcare system would cover my health expenses; even lung cancer treatment. I can purchase expired food in the grocery store, feed my kids junk food like sugar and soda pop, and engage in many other unhealthy habits, legally. Is the government trying to say I can’t take health risks? Or that alcohol, cigarettes and sugary kids foods pose less of a health risk than raw milk? I wonder how many people are obese from overeating, or have lung cancer from smoking, vs how many of us rural people get sick from consuming the raw milk we purchase from a farm down the road?

  4. this milk is very healthy thats why it has been a staple in our society. only of late trying to ban true nutrition. i agree, we are allowed to put in our mouth what we choose.

  5. I had raw milk every summer on my cousins farm in Canada for years. We did not need sugar to make our cereal taste good. I am now seventy and i think it may have shortened my life. I will let you know when I reach eighty. Government in all their godlike omnipotence are having troubles with both their brain cells.
    Grampa

  6. The next step the government can and likely will eventually take is to monopolise the ownership of ALL livestock for itself and illegalise farming, PERIOD!!!! It will then be effectively able to starve us all into total submission, especially when they force us to wear RFID chips (which truly will be the mark of the Beast)…

    God Have Mercy on us all!!

  7. OMG! Once I tried raw milk and cheese made with raw milk I became afraid of PASTEURIZATION! The thought that we’ve been told that boiling or heating up a food in a factory makes it better or safer for us to consume just makes no sense.

    Strange . . . people believe the darndest things . . . like injecting vaccine of “viruses” will prevent you from getting that virus. Strange. . .and sad.

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