November 25, 2011
- UPDATE! Michael Schmidt Fined $9,150, Placed on Probation: According to the Montreal Gazette, Canadian farmer Michael Schmidt’s day in court today resulted in a $9,150 fine and a year’s probation “for making and providing raw milk and cheese through a cow-share business. . . . Ontario Justice Peter Tetley acknowledged the more than 60 people in the courtroom Friday were a testament to Schmidt’s character. . . . Despite this, Tetley said he had no choice but to hand down the sentence. He also acknowledged there are many people in the province, the country and even in his own family who consume unpasteurized milk to no ill health effect, but said there was still a ‘public health component’ to the case. . . . Schmidt’s lawyer says she plans to appeal the sentence.”
- Raw Milk Freedom Riders to Ride Again: On Thursday, December 8th, the “Raw Milk Freedom Riders” will ride again– this time into Chicago. The caravan of parents will deliver 100 gallons of Wisconsin raw milk and cookies to Independence Park (3850 West Irving Park Road, Chicago, IL. 60618), to be distributed in support of food freedom. There they will be joined by food freedom advocates from around the country, local and national press, and possibly the FDA and law enforcement. After the first freedom ride on November 1st in Maryland, the FDA issued a statement saying, in part, that they do not “intend” to target individuals transporting raw milk across state lines for their own, individual use. This subsequent ride intends to expand the challenge and assert the right to ask a friend or neighbor to obtain food from a farm just over state lines in the same way that someone may ask a friend to pick up an extra gallon of milk for her from the grocery store down the street. The Food Rights Network will be in attendance, filming and reporting as events unfold.
- Canadian Dairy Farmer Michael Schmidt in Court Today: On Wednesday, raw milk advocates rallied across Canada in support of Michael Schmidt, who recently survived a long hunger strike in support of raw milk. Today, he is in court “for sentencing on 15 counts related to the sale and distribution of unpasteurized milk. In September, Justice Peter Tetley overturned 15 of 19 acquittals Schmidt had received in a lower court in 2010. Schmidt’s Durham, Ont.-area farm was raided in November 2006 by officers from the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Ontario Provincial Police. . . . Schmidt will face contempt of court charges in Vancouver on Dec. 5, in connection with a cow share in Chilliwack, B.C.” (CTV News, 11/25).
- E. coli Linked to Washington State Dairy: The Washington State Department of Agriculture has recalled dairy products from Cozy Vale Creamery in Tenino, WA after allegedly finding E. coli in the milking parlor and processing area, and claims that “three illnesses have been reported in Cozy milk customers since August,” according to The News Tribune (11/24). Reports do not mention whether or not the pathogen was found in any product samples. Products were sold in the on-farm store and seven small retail outlets in the area (mostly food co-ops). This falls on the heels of the recall and quarantine of Mark McAfee’s Organic Pastures Dairy Company products in California, also for E. coli that the California Department of Food and Agriculture alleges sickened five but that, as of this writing, has not been found on farm premises or in tested dairy samples (USA Today, 11/21).
- Raw Milk Revolution in the U.K.: For an update on how the raw milk movement is going across the pond, where its distribution is legal in England and Wales but not in Scotland, read Jon Henley’s article in The Guardian (11/23). One raw milk drinker he interviews calls the blending, homogenization, pasteurization and standardization of milk “a travesty.”