Farmer won't be punished for selling raw milk while on probation after plea deal

Author:
Updated:
Original:

A Minnesota farmer, on probation for pleading guilty to illegally selling raw milk two years ago, will not be punished after he was found transporting unpasteurized milk – a violation of his probation, KEYC reports.

At a hearing in Sibley County District Court, the judge opted not to punish Michael Hartmann for those violations, KEYC says, saying he made a "good faith effort," and more action against him was unnecessary.

According to MPR, a county assistant attorney disagreed with the decision, saying letting Hartmann off the hook "takes away all meaning" from the original plea agreement.

Minnesota statutes say unpasteurized milk can only be sold for human consumption from the farm where it was produced.

This embed is invalid

History of Raw Milk Challenges

Hartmann has butted heads with the state for years over raw milk.

Way back in 2010, a judge ruled that his unpasteurized milk led to an E. coli outbreak, MPR reported. Eight people became ill after consuming his products, and the state argued the conditions at his farm were unsanitary – meaning they had the right to ban him from selling the products, the station said.

The judge, MPR noted, ruled all of the product at Hartmann's farm to be destroyed.

Then in October of 2012, he pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor counts related to selling food without a license, and selling raw milk, the New Ulm Journal reported at the time. The plea netted Hartmann a $585 fine and six months of unseupervised probation, including getting his Sibley County farm in compliance with Minnesota food laws, the Journal reported.

Just two months later, Hartmann had his vehicle searched by a Minnesota state trooper, who discovered improperly labeled cheese and raw milk, for which Hartmann as charged with misdemeanors, the New Ulm Journal reported. The paper said a search of his farm the following month turned up more violations.

In August, Hartmann was stopped by a state trooper in Anoka County, and was again found to have raw milk, MPR reported.

Two months later he agreed to the plea deal.

Beneficial, or Dangerous?

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture says unpasteurized milk doesn't provide any "significant" health advantages compared to pasteurized milk – but does offer more health risks, because it's more likely to contain harmful bacteria and pathogens. The department says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, American Academy of Pediatrics and more health institutions have warned consumers of the health risks.

Proponents of raw milk – such as the Real Milk campaign – argue the product is perfectly safe if produced under clean, sanitary conditions, and asay raw milk contains "built-in protective systems" that destroy bad bacteria.

Farm-to-Consumer says the sale of raw milk is banned in 17 states, and restricted in some sort in 22 other states.

Next Up

Screen Shot 2020-11-25 at 7.34.43 AM

Watch: Drunk squirrel in Minnesota captures the world's attention

The squirrel was immediately cut off after nearly tipping over.

Screen Shot 2020-11-25 at 7.15.09 PM

Small town gym refusing to close facing lawsuit from attorney general

The gym is facing a lawsuit and a temporary restraining order to halt their operations.

credit card, payment

Money Gal Coaching: Bouncing back after living your best life

Kelly Blodgett started Money Gal Coaching after paying down nearly $50K in debt in 18 months.

flickr-mall-of-america-mitchell-hirsch-march-2019

When do stores open on Black Friday this year?

Many major retailers will be open Black Friday, some for extended hours.

police tape, crime scene

Man found dead outside home near Cass Lake

The man was reportedly shot outside the property.

Minnesota_Welcome_Sign_-_Minnesota_Welcomes_You_-_Taylors_Falls_(28269804891)

Gov. Walz announces $1M in grants to boost Minnesota tourism

The money will be used for marketing efforts to attract people to Minnesota's hard-hit tourist spots.

coronavirus, ICU

Nov. 25 COVID-19 update: 72 deaths ties Minnesota's single-day high

A COVID-19 update will not be provided on Thanksgiving Day.

Texa-Tonka

Revival to open its fourth Twin Cities location

The fried chicken and smoked meat maestros are moving to St. Louis Park.

Duluth and Case Recreation Center

St. Paul to open two extra temporary shelters for homeless people

Mayor Melvin Carter announced the new shelters will be opened in the event of excess demand.

vote, election

Minnesota once again had the highest election turnout in the country

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, a record percentage of voters also sent in absentee ballots.

Related