Header graphic for print

Food Safety News

Breaking news for everyone's consumption

Minnesota Court Asked to Cut Number of Raw Milk Violations

The Minnesota farmer who was acquitted on charges of selling raw milk in Hennepin County last year now wants a court in Stearns County to throw out similar charges in that jurisdiction.

If successful, that would cut the number of charges Alvin Schlangen faces in Stearns County to just three, down from six. He will likely face another jury trial there in 2013.

A Hennepin County jury acquitted Schlangen last October of selling raw milk, operating without a food handler’s license and the handling of adulterated food. The Stearns County resident is an organic egg producer who picked up and delivered raw milk and other products to Minneapolis area residents.

After his Hennepin County win, Schlangen explained his program to Food Safety News readers: “We were all members, by private contract, of a small local club that had a legal private lease of all of the animals of this chosen Amish dairy, chicken and hog farm. The farmer could not manage this farm without our support and we could not have the quality of food that we demand, without the mutually beneficial trust.”

Even if Schlangen is successful in his motion to dismiss the three counts, he will face a jury trial on three additional misdemeanor counts stemming from practices on his farm. Those charges include failing to maintain proper temperatures for organic eggs being prepared for sale, selling meat he should not have possessed and removing or disposing of food embargoed for disposal by state food safety inspectors.

Stearns County Judge Thomas Knapp Thursday gave each side three weeks to file written arguments on the defense’s motion to dismiss the three charges.

Nathan M. Hansen, the defense attorney, said the charges Schlangen was acquitted of in Minneapolis court should be dismissed as part of “one continuous indivisible court of action motivated by a unity of purpose.”

Judge Knapp did not set a trial date for the Stearns County case.

© Food Safety News