“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.”
In Canada, it is illegal to market, sell, distribute or deliver unpasteurized milk or cream. Yet it is legal for farmers and their immediate families to drink raw milk or to use it to make cheese.
Canada is the only G8 country to ban the sale of these products, which some argue have greater health benefits than the available pasteurized milk….”