Thanks to Joanne for bringing this story to our attention. Here’s an excerpt from a recent report from Minnesota Public Radio news:
“Worthington, Minn. — The state’s raw milk investigation apparently has expanded beyond the farm linked to an E. coli outbreak that sickened eight people.
State investigators have contacted a Minneapolis business that serves as a selling point for locally produced foods. They also have searched the home of a customer of the farm linked to the E. Coli outbreak.
The original raw milk investigation centered on the Michael Hartmann dairy farm near Gibbon, blamed for the E. coli outbreak. The state now is investigating a business called Traditional Foods Minnesota.
On the Traditional Foods website, the list of businesses selling at its Minneapolis location includes the name of at least one dairy producer advertising raw milk.
A farmer who sells at Traditional Foods Minnesota said the state investigation is linked to the raw milk issue. But so far the Minnesota Agriculture Department has not indicated there is a link.
“It is an on-going investigation,” said Nicole Neeser, who is leading the agriculture department’s raw milk E. coli probe.
The state also executed a search warrant at the home of a Twin Cities resident who is a Hartmann customer, though not sickened in the E. coli outbreak. Neeser wouldn’t say what investigators were looking for there, but it appeared attention is turning to the distribution system for raw milk.
Consumers can legally buy unpasteurized milk if they pick it up at the farm where it’s produced. But some farmers deliver raw milk to drop sites in the city, a practice the state said is illegal.
Neeser said the state does not know where those sites are. People using them are careful to conceal their locations, she said.
The state acts against drop sites only when investigators have concrete information, like an address and name, Neeser said.
Neeser also said the state has warned stores that sell raw milk products like unapproved types of cheese to stop selling the products.
The state investigation has made producers nervous.
“Oh, it’s hurt us quite a bit. A lot of people are scared,” said a raw milk dairy producer who agreed to talk with MPR News on condition of anonymity for fear of becoming a target of investigation. “We’re doing a lot of thinking right now. How we’re going to go forward with this.”…”