Humorless might be a good word to describe the mood of regulators who find it in their karma to deal with those contemporary messianic figures whose mission involves producing, promoting and distributing raw milk on this fine continent of ours. I’m sure a lot of what gets their back hairs standing on end is that, unaccustomed as they are to dealing with folks who don’t bow down to their authority, it’s doubly annoying to deal with people who have a sense of standing on the moral high ground, as many of our raw milk advocates do. I mean, isn’t that why Bill Marler calls David Gumpert the Pope of raw milk? It’s like raw milk is some sort of heretical cult, and the public health officials whose duty it is to reign them in, fall inevitably into the role of inquisitors. So have you heard the latest from the Holy See? Here’s an excerpt from the “imprimateur” of David E. Gumpert’s blog, “The Complete Patient”:
“The public health community would like us to think that it goes after small dairies and food clubs in the interests of food safety. But in more places, regulatory and enforcement actions are looking like nationally coordinated grudge matches, a settling of old scores.
Certainly the piling on of charges against individuals involved with the Rawesome Food Club has taken on that appearance. Indeed, a prosecutor in Ventura County argued in favor of high bail for James Stewart because he had the audacity to resist previous public health efforts to shut down Rawesome, based on the fact that Rawesome was a private membership-only organization.
Now, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture has re-directed its ongoing rage against raw dairy farmer Michael Hartmann to his wife, Diane Hartmann. The agency earlier this month sent her a “Notice of Administrative Hearing”(HartmannLtr002.pdf), in which it said it was “contemplating legal action against you for selling food without a license and other violations of state statutes including illegal sales of unpasteurized milk and dairy products as well as uninspected meat.” It threatened possible “criminal prosecution…”
Diane Hartmann has submitted a written response. Her husband has been as protective as most of would be, wanting to tell them: come and get me all you want, but leave my wife out of this….”