The same Minnesota farmer acquitted in Minneapolis this past December for raw milk-related violations was convicted last week in St. Cloud for a related list of offenses. Alvin Schlangen of Freeport and his Freedom Farms Co-op did not fare anywhere near as well in his home county last week as he did in the big city last winter.
After a three-day trial in a Stearns County court and about four hours of deliberations by the six-member jury, the organic egg farmer was convicted, this time on all counts. Included among the misdemeanor convictions were: operating without a food handler’s license, storing eggs at unsafe temperatures, violating a food embargo, distributing adulterated and/or misbranded food and selling custom-processed meat.
The convictions could have resulted in 15 months in jail and fines totaling $5,000. However, the judge doing the sentencing gave Schlangen a suspended 90-day jail sentence and a $1,000 fine with $700 suspended.
Along with taking his own organic eggs to co-op members in the Twin Cities, Schlangen also delivered raw milk and other food items. His supporters said they are troubled most by the one-year probation that requires Schlangen to abide by Minnesota law or else authorities will immediately enforce the suspended jail time and fine.
In a post-trial comment to the raw milk-friendly Website called “The Complete Patient,” Schlangen stated, “This organic farmer did not realize that supporting the operating efficiency of our only local store for organic food would put him in line for jail time.”
While it might seem prudent for Schlangen to stay away from raw milk during his year-long probation, he concluded his comment by stating, “This is only getting warmed up. Be well, Alvin.”© Food Safety News