Farmer Michael Schmidt working with Conservatives and disgruntled cream producers to pave the way for wider legal access to raw milk in Ontario

This is an excerpt from the latest newspaper story on the Michael Schmidt case, from the Owen Sound Sun Times:

Spotlighted here by a power point projector, Michael speaks here to a rally of over 200 supporters in Newmarket last month following his not-guilty court verdict on nineteen charges related to raw milk.

“…..Karen Selick, a spokesperson for the CCF, in a media release following Schmidt’s recent legal victory said that consumers who want freedom of choice expect their government to make the transition to the 21st century and respect their rights.

The legislation banning the sale or giving away of raw milk is more than 70 years old.

Schmidt said for now the constitutional challenge is on the back burner unless there’s an appeal of the recent court decision. In the meantime he plans to take his case for change to the Ontario legislature.

“We’re definitely working with the (Progressive) Conservatives because they were the only ones who had an open mind to deal with this issue. I’m trying to meet with them,” he said.

“There’s no sense in pushing this underground. It’s not going away . . . when you hear Hazel Lynn there is no other way and when you look at Europe how many countries have legalized raw milk,” he added.

Schmidt noted that the recent ruling is now case law and opens the door for others to start up similar co-operative ventures. He would like to see a system of accreditation for raw milk producers that includes standardization and testing procedures.

“I want to present that to the government before they think they have to appeal . . . I would rather see government-approved guidelines — that’s how we can move forward,” he said.

Schmidt would like to see the Dairy Farmers of Ontario — the agency that regulates milk sales in Ontario — sanction the public sale of raw milk as a niche market and establish guidelines and testing standards as it has done for other small farm commercial operations such as yogurt making.

“It’s all fine and dandy to celebrate our legal victory but it opens the door for an unregulated market without guidelines. It’s not that I’m asking for more regulations, I’m asking for guidelines. I have no problem if a licensed dairy inspector would come into my premises and do inspections,” he said.

Schmidt met on Saturday with the Independent Dairy Producers of Ontario whom he described as disgruntled former dairy farmers and very disgruntled cream producers; some of whom are involved in the underground raw milk movement.

“I think there is an incredible flourishing underground market,” he said.

After that he planned to travel to Vancouver in time to be in court today Monday morning (Feb. 1) with Alice Jongerden and Gordon Watson of Home on the Range, a cow share dairy operation in Chilliwack B.C.

The local health unit is seeking a permanent injunction against the 350-member cow-share co-op. Home on the Range was handed cease and desist orders by two health authorities in December, with authorities forcing bottles of its milk to be dumped and giving dire warning for owners if they handled the product ever again.”

Read the whole story on the Owen Sound Sun Times website.

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