“State inspectors who recently sought to seize and destroy products from rogue dairy farmer Michael Hartmann found that much of the raw milk and other products had gone missing, according to court filings.
The Minnesota Department of Agriculture claims Hartmann is in contempt of court, because a judge found last month that Hartmann’s products were produced under unsanitary conditions and ordered them destroyed.
Raw milk produced by Hartmann was blamed by the state for causing eight cases of E. coli O157:H7 in May, and seven instances in July and August of other bugs that can cause diarrhea and abdominal pain. Unpasteurized milk isn’t heat-treated to kill pathogens, and its sale is limited by state law.
In a statement through a spokesman, Hartmann said he denies “either knowingly or intentionally violating any court order and relied upon the advice of counsel and ongoing conversations with the court concerning practical compliance with the orders.”
Hartmann said he will respond to the state’s allegations in court.
The state last spring “embargoed” and essentially impounded hundreds of containers of dairy products and other food produced at Hartmann’s Gibbon farm. After finding unsanitary conditions in Hartmann’s barn, the state also ordered Hartmann to stop production, though Hartmann continued anyway.
The state sought the destruction of the embargoed food, but Hartmann fought back in court, saying his goods should be returned. While the court case dragged on, the condemned food remained on Hartmann’s property, which the state allows if it doesn’t have enough storage capacity…..”