Raw milk showdown at Osgoode Hall

From the Canadian Constitution Foundation blog, “The Justice Report”, by Derek From:

Photo credit: National Post.

On February 5th, 2014, the Canadian Constitution Foundation will ask the Ontario Court of Appeal whether the government can take away your freedom to eat foods to promote your health when those foods cause harm to no one.

CCF client, Michael Schmidt, grew up in rural Germany where the sale of unpasteurized milk is legal. He obtained a masters degree in agriculture in 1978, writing his thesis on bio-dynamic farming—an early form of modern organic agriculture. He developed the “cow-share” concept in Germany for the purpose of reconnecting consumers and producers to ensure a safe milk supply.

After farming for 10 years in Canada, he received “an ever-growing call by those with food allergies, especially those with lactose intolerance who apparently were unable to drink or consume pasteurized milk.” He was also approached by people who had begun to “question the food safety of mainstream large scale food production. Young parents especially with great concerns for the well being of their children kept knocking on [his] door and requested raw milk.”

The sale, distribution, and delivery of unpasteurized milk is illegal in Ontario, but it is not illegal for individuals to consume unpasteurized milk if they can acquire it.

To that end, Michael revived his concept of a cow-share program at his Canadian farm. The purpose was to give individuals who purchase a share in the dairy herd legal access to unpasteurized milk. Michael’s wish was to bring cow-share members into compliance with the law, not to evade the law.

But unknown to Michael, secret agents from the government had began investigating him. And on November 21, 2006, inspectors from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Public Health executed a search warrant on Michael’s farm. Michael was charged with various offences related to the sale and distribution of unpasteurized milk….”

Read more on The Justice Report.

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