Minnesota dairy farmer Michael Hartmann is the latest casualty in the legal battle against raw milk. Hartmann has been charged with multiple misdemeanors related to the sale of raw dairy products. The Worthington farmer was first charged with selling raw milk on 2010.
Health department officials had reportedly linked E. coli sickness to the Minnesota diary farmer’s raw milk – he pled guilty to the charges. The guilty plea was reportedly entered into in exchange for dropping similar charges against Hartmann’s wife, brother, and an elderly farm employee.
Now, three new complaints have been levied against this family farmer. He did not speed through town, sell pot near a playground, or forget to snap his seatbelt – he simply possessed 300 gallons of raw milk. Minnesota state laws allow dairy farmers to sell raw products on their farms. Hartmann’s major sin against humanity stems from the fact that he allegedly delivered raw milk to other locations.
It is amazing to me that Minnesota health officials can chastise and ultimately prompt criminal charges against Hartmann. By allowing raw milk and raw cheese to be sold on farms, the health department is essentially admitting that raw dairy is safe when properly stored and prepared. If raw dairy was so treacherous, it couldn’t be sold in the first place, right?
If Michael Hartmann’s raw milk is safe for customers to drive to his farm and purchase, shouldn’t the same milk still be safe to drink when sold at a local food co-op, organic store, or farmers’ market? Obviously there are proper transportation and storage guidelines which must be followed to keep the unpasteurized milk safe to drink, but the Minnesota dairy farmer was not charged with violating any such guidelines.
It defies logic that farmers like Michael Hartmann find themselves in the defendant’s chair because he dared to sell a wholly organic product while DuPont and Monsanto are rewarded for genetically modifying our seeds and food. It seems that at least once a week I come across a news story about a dairy farmer in one state or another getting arrested or essentially losing his or her long-standing business over the sale of raw dairy products.
I find it sadly ironic that I can write a nearly equal number of articles about governmental support of GMO crops and seeds. Perhaps I am naïve to still expect any type of governmental initiative to relate even loosely to a common sense mindset. As previously reported by Off The Grid News, Morningland Dairy was crushed when the local milk board arbitrarily decided that thousands of pounds of raw cheese had to be destroyed. Was the cheese tested for bacteria? No. Had there been a complaint or illness reported – never in the history of the decades old family farm.
Mainstream media has largely ignored the battle to legalize raw milk and raw cheese sales. The Monsanto Protection Act has garnered scant attention on the nightly news. The pushback about GMO crops and the desire to consume raw dairy products comes from grassroots groups around America. Twitter has become one of the primary movers behind raw dairy and GMO news, picking up the slack for major media outlets.
Many Americans are busy planning their spring garden right now, be it large, small, rural, or on an urban rooftop. But, what about the elderly or physically disabled or unaware who cannot buy a quart of raw milk from a local farmer, but may soon be scooping up GMO corn from their dinner plate?