A Victory for Raw Milk

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Craig McCord

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A Minnesota jury has found farmer Alvin Schlangen not guilty of three misdemeanor counts: selling unpasteurized milk, operating without a food license and handling adulterated or misbranded food.

Abby Simons reports in the Star-Tribune:

The trial highlighted a deep national divide between raw milk advocates who contend unpasteurized dairy products can relieve allergies and prevent illness and public health officials who warn that raw milk can cause serious and sometimes fatal diseases, such as E. coli, salmonella and listeria.

"It's a big step in the right direction," Schlangen, 54, said Thursday, flanked by celebrating supporters. "I have a hard time understanding how this basic freedom has been so hard to maintain."

Proponents of raw milk have been under siege from what some observers say are overzealous governmental entities. Still more people contend these legal actions against raw milk producers and suppliers are meant to give Big Dairy an unfair advantage in the marketplace.

We’re glad to learn about the positive outcome of Mr. Schlangen’s case, but we know we are still far from the end of this battle. Now, more than ever, we need to support organizations that are taking the fight to the anti-raw milk forces.

Schlangen's attorney, Nathan Hansen, said that while the acquittal does not set any legal precedent, "it's a huge victory for food freedom."

It also leaves him optimistic for a similar case against Schlangen in Stearns County, which is set for trial next month.

"I think the jury read the statute correctly," Hansen said. "The Department of Agriculture reads a lot of things into the statute that just aren't there."

Schlangen's supporters, who rallied outside the Hennepin County Government Center last spring, also supported him throughout the three-day trial. Natasha Simeon, a St. Paul mother of three, said she was there for Schlangen as a friend and a member of his cooperative.

"Real food has changed our lives," she said.

We agree.

We consider raw milk to be real food and real food to be good food.

We believe people should have access to raw milk and other unadulterated food.

We all need to work hard to achieve more victories for food freedom.

We support Alvin Schlangen and all the others facing dubious raw milk legal actions.

Where do you stand on the raw milk issue?

Photo credit: KABC Eyewitness News/Minneapolis, Minnesota