Worthington, Minn. — State officials say a southern Minnesota dairy farmer accused of selling E. coli contaminated unpasteurized milk is in contempt of court.
The Minnesota agriculture department says Michael Hartmann has ignored department and court orders banning the sale or use of hundreds of food items at his farm.
When inspectors went to the Hartmann farm near Gibbon, Minn. last week they had a big surprise. Most of the embargoed food which Hartmann was supposed to be storing, had disappeared. A district court judge had upheld the embargo just last month, and ordered the food be destroyed.
In an affidavit filed in Sibley County District Court, state food inspection supervisor Greg Pittman says he went to the farm on Jan. 3 to carry out the judges order.
Pittman said he found only 2-1/2 gallons of milk, even though several hundred gallons were embargoed and were supposed to be in storage at the farm.
Read the documents filed in the Hartmann case.
Pittman also said he found no embargoed butter or ice cream, and all of the embargoed meat was gone.
The state says the missing food is reason enough to find Hartmann in contempt of court. In the state’s filing, they ask that Hartmann account for the missing food. He could also be fined.
Hartmann did not respond to a request for comment. No court date has been set yet on the contempt allegations.
Hartmann’s latest round of problems began last spring when the state traced an E. coli outbreak to his farm. The state alleged Hartmann’s unpasteurized milk and other dairy products sickened eight people.
When the state searched the farm they found unsanitary conditions and embargoed the milk, cheese, yogurt, butter, ice cream and other food products there.
Under the terms of the embargo Hartmann could not sell the products. Hartmann challenged the embargo in court. He lost his case last month when a district court judge ordered the food items be destroyed….”
Get the whole story on Minnesota Public Radio.
Food Poisoning Lawyer Bill Marler says, about this story:
“MPR Radio has become “Milk Public Radio” for its ongoing coverage of raw milk bad boy, Michael Hartmann, and his ongoing battle with state of Minnesota officials for raw milk sales and the customers sickened by E. coli, Campylobacter and Cryptosporidium….”