Monthly Archives: September 2011

Farmer convicted in raw milk case launches hunger strike — National Post

From Derek Amba at the National Post:

Farmer and raw-milk crusader Michael Schmidt has launched another hunger strike. in his nearly five-year legal battle to make Ontario the only province to legalize the sale of unpasteurized milk. Photo: Aaron Lynett/National Post

“Farmer and raw-milk crusader Michael Schmidt has launched another hunger strike in his nearly five-year legal battle to make Ontario the only province to legalize the sale of unpasteurized milk.

The move comes after the Ontario Court of Justice on Wednesday found Schmidt guilty of selling and distributing raw milk and raw-milk products. In a 77-page decision, Ontario Justice Peter Tetley convicted Schmidt of 15 of the 19 criminal offences charged under the province’s Health Protection and Promotion Act and the Milk Act.

In January 2010, Schmidt was found not guilty of 19 charges related to his cow-share business. This week’s decision essentially reverses the acquittal and now Schmidt may face fines, but is unlikely to see jail time. Continue reading


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Ontario dairy farmer Michael Schmidt vows to fight conviction for selling raw milk — Vancouver Sun

From Linda Nguyen in the Vancouver Sun:

Raw milk farmer Michael Schmidt of "Glencolton Farms" and "Our Cows" cowshares, with Alice Jongerden, former agister of "Home on the Range" cowshare in Chilliwack, B.C. Photograph from the Vancouver Sun. Photo was taken at a raw milk "drink in" outside the offices of Fraser Health.

“TORONTO — The Ontario Court of Justice on Wednesday found rural dairy farmer Michael Schmidt guilty of selling and distributing raw milk and raw-milk products — the latest development in a nearly five-year legal battle with the province about consumers’ rights to the illicit liquid.

In a 77-page decision, Ontario Justice Peter Tetley convicted Schmidt of 15 of the 19 criminal offences charged under the province’s Health Protection and Promotion Act and the Milk Act.

“It’s not really about me,” said Schmidt at his 100-acre farm in Durham, Ont., shortly after receiving the ruling late Wednesday.

“It’s about the principle. Do people in fact, have the right to make the proper decision, to have a cow in order to get their milk? That frustrates me because apparently we don’t have the right here in Canada to do that.” Continue reading


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Grey Bruce health unit boss Hazel Lynn considers enforcement options in the Michael Schmidt raw milk case

From Paul Jankowsky, in the Owen Sound Sun Times:

Dr. Hazel Lynn, MD, FCFP, MHSc - Medical Officer of Health, Grey Bruce Health Unit

A 1994 health inspector’s order that directs Michael Schmidt to stop “manufacturing, processing, preparation, storage, handling, display of unpasteurized milk and milk products” remains in effect even though three charges against the Durham-area farmer for breaching the order in 2006 have been dismissed, Dr. Hazel Lynn, the medical officer of health for Grey Bruce, said Thursday.

Whether the health unit will strictly enforce the order as Schmidt attempts to appeal other convictions related to his raw milk business remains to be seen, Lynn said.

In a ruling released Wednesday, Justice Peter Tetley overturned the findings of a justice of the peace, who in January dismissed all 19 charges laid against Schmidt in 2006 related to the production and distribution of raw — or unpasteurized — milk. Tetley convicted Schmidt of 15 charges but dismissed those relating to the 1994 health inspector’s order. Continue reading


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Michael Schmidt back on Hunger strike

Food Rights Declaration as result of the latest appeal ruling against Michael Schmidt — September 29, 2011

Michael Schmidt talks to supporters and media at last Tuesday's news conference

Agriculture has been the backbone of Canada. History has taught us that a healthy Agri-culture is able to feed all the people and therefore creates a healthy and socially stable enviroment.

At the turn of the last century 70% of our Canadian population was actively involved in farming.

Today we have only 2% of the poulation left working on farms and 80% of them have to have another job  to keep their farm going.

The average age of today’s farmers is 56 and hardly any young farmer can afford to start farming.

Corporate farming has taken over food production and multi national corporations control most of the farming inputs, food processing and distribution.

Food safety regulations and production standards are passed based on intensive lobby powers by those who control the current food chain. Continue reading


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Vote in CBC raw milk legalization poll

From Community Team, at CBC

Where the poll stood at 3:23 pm Thursday

“Durham dairy farmer Michael Schmidt was found guilty of selling and distributing raw milk on Wednesday, a decision that overturned his 2010 acquittal.

While it is not against the law to drink unpasteurized milk in Canada, it is illegal to sell it despite the niche demand in Ontario and other provinces.

Health officials maintain that milk must be pasteurized before it is sold, as it can contain pathogens like salmonella, listeria and E. coli – all harmful or deadly if consumed….”

The same poll, but 10 hours later.

[The Bovine editor’s commentary: As you can see in the second image, the percentage of respondents who voted YES has increase from 80% to 90%. You don’t have to be a math whiz to know that this is an overwhelming message from the public to the effect that raw milk SHOULD be legalized and that we should stop persecuting and prosecuting farmers like Michael Schmidt who make great personal sacrifices to enable people to exercise what they see as their right to decide what they should eat and drink. You can’t get much more basic than that. The poll seems to be still running, so if you haven’t voted yet, click on the link below and vote now!]

Read the whole story and vote in the poll on


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Mark McAfee brings the Cow Share Canada concept to America with the newly formed “Raw Milk Institute”

From Cookson Beecher on Bill Marler’s “Food Safety News”:

Raw Milk Institute logo

“The much-anticipated Raw Milk Institute has gone live.

The brainchild of Mark McAfee, co-owner of Organic Pastures near Fresno, CA, the institute introduced its website — — on Tuesday.

Simply put, the goal of the institute is to use science-based food-safety principles to shore up a strong foundation for the growing raw-milk movement.

Raw milk is milk that hasn’t been pasteurized to kill bacteria, some of which can make people sick or even kill them. These harmful organisms can be in milk from healthy animals as the result of contamination from fecal matter or unclean milking equipment. Continue reading

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Ontario judge affirms the Province’s dairy laws, convicts raw milk farmer Michael Schmidt on 15 charges

From David E. Gumpert, on the Complete Patient blog:

Michael Schmidt talks to reporters at a news conference September 27th in Thornhill, at the raw milk blue bus.

“While expressing sympathy for the arguments of raw milk drinkers and producers, an Ontario appeals judge has nonetheless reversed Michael Schmidt’s exoneration nearly two years ago on charges of violating the province’s dairy laws. It’s even conceivable, the judge said, that Schmidt could be jailed.

In the judge’s opinion, the legislature made a rational decision to ban the sale and distribution of raw milk, even if it might have discriminated against consumers who want raw milk. .

In his 77-page decision, Judge P.D. Tetley stated: “The balancing of the competing interests of preserving and maintaining public health on the one hand against the resultant limitations on the right to choose what we eat, on the other is… a matter for the legislature. The restrictions imposed on certain residents of Ontario, as far as the consumption, distribution and purchase of raw milk is concerned, are within the authorized ambit or scope of legislative authority. In view of the evidence presented at trial it cannot be concluded the law, as it presently stands, is overbroad from a constitutional perspective or too sweeping in its breadth. While it may effectively discriminate against non-farm dwelling raw milk consumers, that fact in itself does not necessarily render the law non-Charter compliant, particularly in relation to the Respondent who, as a dairy farmer, is not a member of the restricted group.” Continue reading


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Court convicts raw milk farmer Michael Schmidt on appeal — the Toronto Sun

From Terry Davidson, in the Toronto Sun:

Dairy farmer Michael Schmidt has been convicted by an appeal court of selling unpasteurized milk to the general public after being exonerated last year. (Toronto Sun files)

“A controversial and defiant dairy farmer north of Toronto has been convicted on multiple counts of selling raw milk to his customers.

Michael Schmidt, who has been fighting a battle to deal in unpasteurized milk at his Grey County farm ever since it was raided by government officials in 2006, was convicted on 15 of 19 charges after the Ontario Court of Justice reversed a lower court decision to acquit him last year.

Shortly after Schmidt’s acquittal, the province and the Grey Bruce health unit appealed the decision.

Justice Peter Tetley on Wednesday rejected Schmidt’s argument that selling raw milk to customers who are aware of any health risks was his legal right. Continue reading


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Ontario appeal court rules against raw milk dairy farmer Michael Schmidt

From Jessica Leeder, in the Globe and Mail:

“The future of Canada’s most prominent raw milk advocate has turned sour.

Dairyman Michael Schmidt was found guilty of 15 out of 19 charges related to distributing unpasteurized milk from his farm in Durham, Ont. The verdict, written by Mr. Justice Peter Tetley of the Ontario Court of Justice, reverses a decision made last year by a justice of the peace, who acquitted Mr. Schmidt of the same charges.

It is unclear what the decision means for the future of Mr. Schmidt’s farm, a cow-share operation in which raw milk and related products are provided to about 150 shareholders. Raw milk from the farm is not sold commercially. Continue reading


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Court rules against raw milk farmer

From legal affairs reporter Tracey Tyler, in The Toronto Star:

The Ontario Court of Justice has ruled against raw milk farmer Michael Schmidt, seen here holding up a glass of his milk prior to Wednesday's ruling. TRACEY TYLER/TORONTO STAR

“DURHAM, ONT.—Lola and the girls ambled close to the barn Wednesday, a bit prematurely.

Their keeper, Michael Schmidt, has always vowed to fight until the cows come home for the right to get raw milk into his customers’ hands.

But it looks like his battle will take longer than he expected.

At his farm in Grey County, a few kilometres outside town, Schmidt got a call late Wednesday afternoon from his lawyer, informing him he’d been convicted of 15 provincial offences relating to the sale of unpasteurized milk and could potentially face hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines. Continue reading


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