Judge rules against Michael Hartmann; a call for standards in raw milk farming

Latest news from David E. Gumpert at the Complete Patient blog:

“Michael Hartmann’s legal challenge to Minnesota authorities over confiscation of his dairy farm’s products last May was totally rejected by a state judge.

The case was tried over several weeks last August, but the judge only yesterday decided on behalf of the state–that the 120 cases of milk, 900 packages of raw cheddar, and 125 tubs of yogurt, among other items that were confiscated, must be destroyed.

Though Hartmann customers who attended the trial last August felt the judge was engaged and fair-minded, there’s not a single encouraging word in the entire 23-page decision for Michael Hartmann or the six consumers who were “intervenors” on his behalf. In fact, adding insult to injury, Hartmann and the consumers must pay the cost of the product destruction.

The judge, Rex D. Stacey, accepted completely the findings of the Minnesota Department of Public Health that the Hartmann Farm was almost certainly the source of eight illnesses attributed by authorities to the milk.

The only possible glimmer of light in the whole case is that the ruling applied only to the products seized last May. There was no finding about products produced since then, about the appropriateness of the continued quarantine of the farm’s products, or of whether the farm might have improved conditions in the interim. Thus, the products seized by the state a few weeks ago in the video confrontation weren’t covered in the ruling.

But in light of the illnesses in May, the judge seems very much inclined to listen to the state’s assessment of the situation much more seriously than it is to that of Hartmann….

Read it all on The Complete Patient blog.

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