Raw Milk Farmer In Court Wednesday 12 Jun 14

A Sibley County judge on Wednesday dismissed a violation of probation charge against a Gibbon area farmer who had pleaded guilty to selling raw milk. Michael Hartmann had violated his probation by transporting unpasteurized milk to sell in the Twin Cities. Under state law raw milk can only be sold on the farm where it’s produced, but Hartmann argued that he has a constitutional right to sell the milk, and on Wednesday Judge Erica MacDonald ruled that no consequence was needed for the violation of Hartmann’s plea deal. The case is still ongoing with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, but Hartmann says that Wednesday’s ruling was a victory in his eyes. He had pleaded guilty to misdemeanor violations of the state food and dairy code as part of the 2012 plea deal, and was put on probation and fined over $500. In 2010 state health officials had said that more than a dozen people got sick after consuming Hartmann’s raw milk products also. He eventually pleaded guilty to charges stemming from that E. coli outbreak.