“Durham-area farmer Michael Schmidt will be charged now that laboratory tests have confirmed that milk distributed at a rally last week was unpasteurized, a Grey Bruce Health Unit official said Monday.
Schmidt, reached at his farm Monday, said he is not surprised that the health unit plans to lay charges against him.
“They seem to be just full of vengeance to get me. It has nothing to do with the safety of people,” he said.
The health unit is still bitter because it “couldn’t get its way in court,” he said.
The health unit says raw milk is unsafe to consume.
Chris Munn, director of operations and program development, said the health unit has 30 days, from the time Schmidt allegedly distributed the raw milk to his supporters, to respond.
“Once we did receive the lab notification that it definitely was unpasteurized milk that he was distributing, then we have that information to use to determine how we are going to enforce,” he said.
The health unit’s lawyer now has the file and will determine “which legal procedures would be the best route to go,” Munn said. He was not sure of the specific charge that Schmidt could face, but said it would relate to distribution of unpasteurized milk in contravention to a 1994 health unit order.
Test results from a public health lab in Toronto were received by the local health unit Monday afternoon. The tests detected phosphatase, an enzyme that is eliminated in the milk pasteurization process, in the sample, Munn said.
Health unit inspectors confiscated a cup of milk that was being distributed at a raw milk rally Friday outside of the Grey Bruce Health Unit building.
The rally was held to show support for Schmidt, a raw milk advocate who said he is on Day 17 of a hunger strike to protest the prosecution of farm share operations in Ontario and to push for a credible dialogue with provincial officials to create regulations so people can legally obtain raw milk in Ontario….”