A Hennepin County jury Thursday found a Stearns County farmer not guilty of violating the state’s food safety laws when he distributed raw milk from an Amish farm to Twin Cities customers.
Alvin Schlangen of Freeport was charged with three misdemeanor counts, including selling unpasteurized milk, operating without a food license and handling adulterated or misbranded food. After three days of trial, the jury began deliberating on Wednesday afternoon and resumed deliberations Thursday morning.
Schlangen, an organic egg farmer, doesn’t produce milk himself but operates a private club called Freedom Farms Co-op with roughly 130 members who buy various farm products, including raw milk. Schlangen picks up milk products from an Amish farm and delivers them to members who lease the cows.
Raw milk is unpasteurized, meaning it hasn’t been heat-treated to kill pathogens. Under Minnesota law, it can be sold directly to consumers only on the farm where it’s produced.
During closing arguments, Schlangen’s attorney, Nathan Hansen, argued that Schlangen was not operating a business, rather a private food club, and that no one got sick from the raw milk.
Assistant Minneapolis City Attorney Michelle Doffing-Baynes said food safety laws are in place to prevent people from getting sick.
Several Schlangen supporters, their small children in tow, filled the courtroom throughout the trial. Schlangen and members of the co-op testified on his behalf.
- Jury returns not guilty verdict on raw milk farmer Alvin Schlangen in MN (thebovine.wordpress.com)
- Raw Milk Trial Underway In Minneapolis (minnesota.cbslocal.com)
- Deliberations Resume In Minn. Raw Milk Trial (minnesota.cbslocal.com)
- Jury trial for MN raw milk farmer (thebovine.wordpress.com)
- Minn. Jury Begins Deliberating Raw Milk Case (minnesota.cbslocal.com)
- FDA payoffs to MN regulators for harassing small farmers like Alvin Schlangen, who is now in court? (thebovine.wordpress.com)
- Farmer’s raw milk sales trial is on hold (jsonline.com)
- Is Raw Milk Safe? (everydayhealth.com)
- Rule change would allow some raw milk sales in Wyoming (billingsgazette.com)
- Rule change would allow some raw milk sales in Wyoming (rapidcityjournal.com)