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.