Organic Consumers Association

Campaigning for health, justice, sustainability, peace, and democracy

MINNESOTA: Support Your Right to Buy Raw Milk!

girl talk 420x280

two black dairy cows laying in the grass

Lake View Natural Dairy, Grand Marais, MN

A Minnesota dairy farmer is locked in a legal battle with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) over what he says is his constitutional right to sell raw milk and other dairy products direct to consumers who come to his farm.

Help protect Lake View Natural Dairy’s right to sell raw milk by making a donation to the farm’s legal fund. You can donate online, or by mail or phone—details here.

On November 16 at 9:30 a.m., please join us at the Minnesota Judicial Center in St. Paul for a 30-minute hearing on Lake View’s case by the Minnesota Court of Appeals. Please RSVP to campaigns@organicconsumers.org if you can attend.

David Berglund runs Lake View Natural Dairy in Grand Marais, Minn., just an hour north of OCA’s home office. The farm, which was settled in the 1880s by his ancestors, sells unpasteurized dairy products to friends, family and neighbors.

Now, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) is threatening to shut down Berglund’s farm, unless he agrees to let the state inspect the farm. But Berglund says that under the state constitution, he can sell his products directly to consumers who come to his farm, without the threat of inspection and regulation. He cites this statement from the constitution: “Any person may sell or peddle the products of the farm or garden occupied and cultivated by him without obtaining a license thereof."

In Minnesota, the only regulation governing the production and sale of raw milk for human consumption is Minnesota statute 32.93 “Limitation of Sale” which states that unpasteurized milk may only be “occasionally secured or purchased for personal use by any consumer at the place or farm where the milk is produced.”

Under this statute, Lake View Dairy can’t advertise or sell raw dairy products in the local natural foods co-op. But the law doesn’t prohibit consumers from going to the farm to purchase those products directly.

It’s a consumer right, too.

Implicit in the right of farmers to directly “peddle” their products to consumers, is our right as consumers to purchase foods directly from farmers, without government interference.

Recent studies have debunked the myth that raw milk is a high-risk food. In fact, the numerous health benefits of raw over pasteurized dairy products are becoming more widely recognized.

The constitutional nature of Lake View’s case means appeals will likely go all the way to the Minnesota Supreme Court. The final decision will have both state and national implications for the sale of raw milk and the rights of farmers and consumers to engage in direct farm-to-consumer transactions without government interference.

Help protect Lake View Natural Dairy Farm’s right to sell raw milk by making a donation to the farm’s legal fund. You can donate online, or by mail or phone—details here.

Then, on November 16 at 9:30 a.m., please join OCA at the Minnesota Judicial Center in St. Paul for a 30-minute hearing on Lake View’s case by the Minnesota Court of Appeals. If you can attend, please RSVP to campaigns@organicconsumers.org.

Also on November 16, in the same court room at 11:15 a.m., oral arguments will be heard on Michael Hartmann's case. Michael Hartmann is another Minnesota dairy farmer targeted by the MDA for selling raw milk. You can read more about his case here.

Read more about Lake View Natural Dairy’s case against the MDA here and here.

Get Local

Find News and Action for your state: