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Marler Blog Providing Commentary on Food Poisoning Outbreaks & Litigation

Hartmann Dairy and customers get caught with 400 gallons of Raw Milk in the snow

In between watching on CSPAN the House argue, albeit politely, over inserting S. 510, with Tester/Hagen Amendment into the 2011 spending bill, I had a chance to talk with Mark Steil and MPR for his story, “State ratchets up pressure on raw milk seller:”

The state has made repeated efforts to stop Michael and Roger Hartmann from selling unpasteurized milk in the Twin Cities and other locations, but the brothers have continued to deliver their products. On Tuesday, state agriculture officials confiscated about 400 gallons of milk that Roger Hartman delivered to a house in Minnetonka, where customers were waiting to pick up their orders, according to search warrant documents.

The farm was inspected last spring after state investigators linked eight E. Coli sicknesses to Hartmann. It was re-inspected in October after the state linked seven more cases of food borne illness to Hartmann milk, this time campylobacter and cryptosporidium.

State officials say anyone selling adulterated food could face felony charges, punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine. They declined to say whether they intend to file criminal charges.

Food safety attorney Bill Marler, who has represented many victims off food poisoning, said criminal charges should be one option considered in the Hartmann case.   “The fact that he’s continuing to sell his product against Minnesota law and with an embargo in place and that he’s sickened people certainly seems like a reasonable approach to bring sanctions against him in some form or another,” Marler said.

These folks are serious about their raw milk to 1) stand in the snow in below freezing temperatures, and 2) buy from a farmer who has sickened people.

  • Bill Anderson

    You contradict yourself, Bill.
    On one hand you say that prohibition of raw milk will not work and that it needs to be legalized and regulated.
    On the other hand, you call for criminal charges against people who distribute raw milk.
    Seems you can’t keep your story straight.

  • Bill, you are tiresome and not very bright. It is presently illegal to sell raw milk in Minnesota as your buddy Mr. Hartmann is doing – even after he has poisoned people. If he does not like the law, work to change it, not violate it. That is not inconsistent with the fact that I believe that a prohibition on raw milk is not workable and raw milk should be regulated and inspected like CA and WA – although I do think retail sales (grocery stores) should be banned too. Really, go away and spend your time in David’s echo chamber with Bob Hayles.

  • Minkpuppy

    Have patience with Young Bill, Mr. Marler. Change is not only possible but inevitable. He is still young and has many difficult lessons to learn before he can become truely wise. Heck, I’m in my 40’s and I’m still learning some painful lessons.
    Young Bill: I suggest you explore other career options since he can’t seem to reconcile his beliefs with the reality of a regulated industry and doesn’t appear willing to do so. Life is too short to be stuck in a job that makes you as miserable as it seems to come across here.

  • Curious George

    Here’s a hypothetical:
    Young Bill is in Minnetonka and decides to have a glass of raw milk from the Hartmann Dairy. He gets sick a few days later and is later diagnosed with E. coli. After spending a week or so in the hospital, he learns that he has incurred $100,000 of medical bills.
    Does Young Bill:
    A) Stick to his position that raw milk is safe and that the farm should not be held responsible, and then spend the next ten years of his life trying to pay off the debt to avoid bankruptcy?
    or
    B) Change his perspective on raw milk, and go ask Old Bill to represent him in a suit against the farm?

  • Food Guy

    I just want people to think about this… So raw milk is simply milk that has not been put through the Pasteurization step.
    This is to say 161 °F for 15–20 seconds. So I hope these people who produce or demand raw milk also refuse to cook their meats, vegitables, eggs and beverages… Basicly what I am saying is they should eat everything cold and uncooked.
    Please keep in mind Pasteurization of milk saves thousands of lives a year! The small fraction of milk that is consumed raw sickens or kills those who drink it.
    The person on the phone/camera was also very confused about food issues, such as the food inspectors works for him only, the fact is they work for everyone (I am a taxpayer and many others are ok with his work). Also, they are paid for not only by taxes, but fees that legitimate/legal companies pay for (licensing).
    Furthermore, if the gentleman has a problem with Monsanto, Cargill or conventional farming practices; he should protest oropose new laws, or sue these companies. And by protesting I do not mean by buying very dangerous raw foods (like raw milk) that every health organization in the USA does not allow. Consuming this is subjecting yourself to many nasty food borne illness risks, it’s basically reckless behavior.

  • Ian

    Food Guy.

    I consume raw milk every day, and it has NEVER sickened or killed me.

    You can have your pasteurized milk. Go ahead, drink all you want – that is your right in this country.

    It is my right to choose to drink my milk unpasteurized. The MN State Constitution states that a farmer can peddle (sell door to door – so the purchase does not have to happen at the farm) the product of his farm without regulation or interference from the government. Any other state law that negates that constitutionally granted right can’t be enforced.

    I don’t need the decision of what I eat/drink/do made for me. I’m educated, I’ve done the research, and have decided that the benefits outweigh the risks – just like the benefits of crossing the road are worth the risk, even though there is always a small chance of getting run over.

    So, drink what you want, eat what you want, do what you want. It’s your life – live it the way you want. Afford me the same courtesy and let me live mine the way I want.

    Thanks.

  • Always Learning

    I’ve worked for government lo these many years. In that time I’ve come to realize the following:
    ‘ When everything is going right, the public thinks there’s too much government. But let something go wrong, and they say there hasn’t been enough. ‘
    I’d like to see the hospital bills for the people who’ve gotten sick from drinking raw milk. They assumed, unfortunately, that farm produced raw milk was safe. Their suffering suggests it wasn’t. Now, put out raw milk on the grand scale and lets see how many others get sick and hire an attorney to go after the producers. I can hear it now: “We need more government regulation to keep people from marketing a product that has a high likelihood of contamination and shouldn’t have been sold to the public in the first place.”

  • Here is a good resource – http://www.realrawmilkfacts.com