MINNESOTA: Farmer fights delivery ban on raw milk
Posted: May 16th, 2012 - 12:34pm
Source: USA Today
FREEPORT, Minn. – Alvin Schlangen believes strongly in his right to deliver raw milk products to consumers who want them — so strongly that he hasn't stopped despite facing criminal charges in two counties.
The Freeport, Minn., farmer's jury trial is scheduled to begin Monday in Hennepin County District Court in Minneapolis, where he is charged with violating Minnesota's food safety code.
Schlangen's legal case has become a flashpoint for raw-milk advocates, grassroots groups opposed to corporate agriculture and libertarians who see it as government interference with consumers' right to choose what they eat.
"We have a bureaucracy that's intent for whatever reason on making sure people aren't able to get raw milk," said Nathan Hansen, Schlangen's lawyer.
The 54-year-old Schlangen is an organic egg farmer who doesn't actually produce milk. He operates a private club called Freedom Farms Co-op with roughly 130 members who sign a contract to purchase farm products, including raw milk. Schlangen picks up the products from an Amish farm and delivers them to consumers, mainly in the Twin Cities.
Only 10 states across the country allow retail sales of raw milk; farm sales are legal in 15 more, according to the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund. Eleven states totally prohibit raw-milk sales.