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.
That was done “mostly because we didn’t actively enforce the order after 1997,” Lynn said. “There was a reason for that.”
After the 1994 convictions for breaching the Health Protection and Promotion Act and the Milk Act with his raw milk business, Schmidt was fined $3,500 and put on probation for two years. The health unit “actively inspected his premises every month” during his probation period, Lynn said.
After that “we kind of reverted to what we would do normally, which is answer complaints because we don’t go looking for people. We wait until there’s a complaint or an injury or an infection and then we investigate,” Lynn added.
“So that’s what we had reverted to. We hadn’t actually gone in and inspected his store since then . . . He (Tetley) did say in the ruling he felt the order from 1994 is a permanent order and so we’ll have to decide what . . . we will be doing our best to uphold the law.”
Discussions will be held with the Crown and the health unit’s own lawyer “as to what should be our response as to this . . . how much enforcement we want to do,” Lynn said.