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Will You Still Allow the FDA to Control What You Eat?

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's All About Organics page and our Healthy Raw Milk page.

 People's access to raw milk is determined by state law,1 and there are many differences among the states. Raw milk sales or distribution are legal in a majority of the states, and there has been a trend towards improving access in recent years.

 Two major holdouts to this trend are Minnesota and Wisconsin; criminal trials centering on raw milk are scheduled to take place later this year in each state. If the farmers are acquitted, it would not only improve raw milk access in those states, but could accelerate legalization in the states that still ban raw milk sales.

Minnesota, the Worst Offender

 Minnesota has been the most draconian state in terms of raw milk enforcement the past several years. At the urging of the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA), the Stearns County District Attorney has brought six criminal charges against farmer Alvin Schlangen.

 Alvin serves as the volunteer manager for the Freedom Farms Coop (FFC), a private food buyers club, delivering raw milk and other nutrient-dense foods to club members in the Twin Cities area. He makes his living primarily through selling eggs produced on his farm in Freeport, Minnesota.

 In 2010 and 2011, Alvin was raided three times by MDA, which embargoed and seized thousands of dollars of food from his farm, his truck, and the warehouse space he leased in Minneapolis.

 These are not the first criminal charges that the MDA has sought to impose on Alvin. The MDA also convinced the Hennepin County District Attorney to charge Alvin with three criminal misdemeanor counts for alleged violations of the state food and dairy code. A jury of Minnesota citizens acquitted Alvin on all the charges last September. Half of the charges that Alvin now faces in Stearns County are the same as the charges he has already been acquitted on in Hennepin County!

 On February 6 Stearns County Circuit Court Judge Thomas P. Knapp rejected a motion filed by Alvin's attorney, Nathan Hansen, to have the three charges dismissed; Hansen argued that the charges should be thrown out because they amount to "serial prosecution." Alvin's trial has already been postponed twice; a pretrial hearing is now set for March 15. 


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