GUILTY: Justice Peter Tetley finds raw milk farmer Michael Schmidt guilty today on 15 of 19 charges following an appeal by the Ontario government

The following news release is from the Canadian Constitution Foundation. Karen Selick, litigation director of the Foundation, defended Michael Schmidt in court during the appeal hearing.

Raw Milk Farmer Suffers Setback, Vows to Continue Fighting

Raw milk farmer Michael Schmidt.

Newmarket, ON: Dairy farmer Michael Schmidt suffered a setback in his campaign to legalize raw milk today when the decision of Justice Peter Tetley of the Ontario Court of Justice reversed a lower court decision and found Schmidt guilty on 15 of the 19 charges. Schmidt had been acquitted of all charges by Justice of the Peace Paul Kowarsky in January, 2010. The Ontario government and the Grey Bruce Health Unit appealed that decision. Justice Tetley allowed their appeal on some, but not all charges.

All claims that the legislation violated the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms were dismissed.

The text of the decision will be posted imminently on the website of the Canadian Constitution Foundation at

Schmidt said: “This is just a temporary setback. We will continue to fight, both through the courts and through the legislature, for the rights of individuals to decide what they put into their bodies. The public supports us on this issue.” An Ipsos Reid poll taken shortly after Schmidt’s 2010 acquittal showed that 70 percent of the Ontarians polled believed it should be legal to purchase raw milk.

Schmidt’s lawyer, Karen Selick of the Canadian Constitution Foundation, said: “We are still reviewing the decision in detail. It’s 77 pages long. However, we have already notified the Ontario government that we will likely be seeking leave to appeal. We have asked for their promise not to raid any farms so long as this case is wending its way through higher courts. The damage done to farmers and to cowshare members could be irreparable if they ignore this request.”

In November, 2006 Schmidt’s farm was raided by 24 armed officers from the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Ontario Provincial Police. A survey of 2,185 Ontario dairy farmers in 2009 found that 88.7 percent of respondents affirmed that they or members of their families consumed raw milk from their own farms.

Raw milk can be sold legally in 26 states of the United States and most European countries. It is even sold in vending machines in France, Italy, Switzerland and Slovenia. Said Selick: “We had evidence available from witnesses who had recovered from very serious health problems and who attributed their recoveries to raw milk. The government fought to prevent this evidence from being heard by the court, then argued that there was no evidence of health benefits to consuming raw milk.

Meanwhile, we know that pasteurized milk can also be unsafe.” Two scientific papers published after Schmidt’s trial in 2009 showed that the shiga toxins produced by the bacterium e‐coli O157:H7 are not inactivated by pasteurization even though the bacteria themselves may be killed. The studies followed an incident in North Cumbria, England in which 114 people became ill and 28 required hospitalization after consuming pasteurized milk.

The Canadian Constitution Foundation is an independent, non‐profit registered charitable organization whose mission is to defend the constitutional freedoms of Canadians through education, communication and litigation.


Read Justice Tetley’s 77 page decision here (499 Kb pdf file)


Filed under News

12 responses to “GUILTY: Justice Peter Tetley finds raw milk farmer Michael Schmidt guilty today on 15 of 19 charges following an appeal by the Ontario government

  1. Royce Hamer

    Again we see just how deep corruption runs in most levels of government. They ignore the facts in order to produce the decision that may be defended according to the rules of law. I am still voting by secret ballot and someone is going to suffer at least one vote.

  2. Pingback: Pat Winter is camped out at the Ontario Superior Court of Justice waiting for the Michael Schmidt raw milk verdict which was promised for “sometime tomorrow” | The Bovine

  3. It’s hard to be polite after this decision, when all I want to do is scream at the top of my lungs! Why do people continue to bury their heads in the sand? When will we have the right to choose what we want to consume when the evidence of benefits far outweigh any risks. Many people owe their recovered health to raw milk. We are sick of being sick and fed up with a government that does not listen!

  4. Karen Selick

    I regret to say that the initial press release was inaccurate. Michael was actually convicted on 15 of the 19 charges.

  5. Sib

    This ruling is extremely disappointing and wrong on so many levels – especially on a day when we hear that in Canada the Our Compliments brand smoked ham has been recalled due to listeria concerns, and listeria-infected cantaloupes have killed 13 people and sickened 72 in the U.S. Especially when 45,000 people in Canada die from tobacco-related illnesses every year. These are the real health and safety issues that need to be addressed. Also “All claims that the legislation violated the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms were dismissed.” Really? That is the crux of the entire matter. Do I have the right to choose what I put into my body even after extensive research? Apparently not. The battle will continue and we raw milk drinkers will continue to support Michael Schmidt and all other conscientious raw milk farmers so that we can continue to have what we know is nutrient-dense, fresh, real, raw milk from healthy pastured cows.

  6. Donna

    Meanwhile in other headlines, 73 become ill from listeria in cantaloupes and Compliments brand honey-ham is being recalled due to listeria. Will those foods be banned too?

  7. thebovine

    On his Facebook page, Michael Schmidt says:

    “If anybody thinks that this the end of the battle. No this is the beginning, this is a call to to active resistance, this is not abou me, this is about our fundamental rights. Kowarsky had the guts to recognize the need for justice, Tetley was over his head. Friends no despair we know where we have to go and what we have to do. Resist, resist, resist with love”

  8. Allan Pulker

    What is the real reason the Ontario government is prosecuting Mr. Schmidt? It obviously has nothing to do with health. Is the dairy lobby behind this or the pharmaceutical industry? Does anyone know?

    • Ann

      Ya, as far as I can tell its big dairy. Although hard to see how this small amount of raw milk is a threat, but it is a much superior product (with smaller profit margins because produced with so much care) so I guess they are against it for economic fears.

  9. Tiny

    We have to understand that the Government Officials are Not at All Interested in the Supreme Health Benefits of Raw Milk, instead it’s all about the Money Machine. If they were interested, they wouldn’t allow Imports from China, Mexico etc. As it stands, Corporations run the Country. What ever happened to:”The Government is for the People and are the People”.
    It seems that may have to take the advice of Winston Churchill; “Never…Never…Never…Give Up!”

  10. Pingback: Hope For The Raw Milk Industry

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