A crusader for the right to drink raw milk has been convicted of more than a dozen provincial offences relating to the sale of unpasteurized milk and could face hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines.
“I can’t believe it,” Michael Schmidt said yesterday at his farm in Grey County.
In a 77-page ruling, the Ontario Court of Justice dismissed every one of his arguments that distributing and purchasing raw milk was a well-informed consumer’s constitutional right.
The province’s successful appeal of a Jan. 21 ruling in Schmidt’s favour was the latest chapter in the farmer’s four-year battle to keep milk flowing from his raw
milk operation, which he described as a fight for “food freedom.” The sale of untreated milk is illegal across Canada.
Schmidt runs a co-operative venture near Owen Sound with about 200 cow-share members, who buy a portion of a cow and pay to board the animal at his Glencolton Farms. Ontario’s raw-milk laws do not apply to farmers, who can legally drink their own cows’ milk.
But health officials maintain unpasteurized milk can contain deadly pathogens, including salmonella, listeria and the same strainof E. coli that killed seven people in Walkerton in 2000.
The Ontario health ministry says there were 145 cases of reported enteric illness associated with unpasteurized milk in Ontario between 2005 and 2009.
If you have been thinking of supporting the Raw Milk War: THIS IS THE TIME
Cigarettes are dangerous with lots of known health risks yet people not only have a right to smoke, and by doing so, a right to inflict their choice on to others when they smoke in the presence of people who choose not to. Also, the health risks and costs associated with smoking related illnesses does not appear to be enough of a concern for the government to step in. I don’t understand why we can not choose to drink raw milk. My choice to do so does not put others at risk, certainly not to the extent that something like smoking does. I don’t know why big business is so concerned as I believe most people will continue as they do now and just buy milk from the supermarket that is mass produced and makes money for the these companies. This is just another case of greed and hypocrisy on the part of the government and big business. Whenever there is an e-coli outbreak, or Lysteria or something along those lines with other foods or processing procedures, I don’t recall there being an outright ban on these products as being unsafe for human consumption. Instead, these companies apologize, change something about their operating procedures and go back to selling the same thing to the same people. If the government is truly interested in the well being of the majority perhaps they should consider the source and effects of some of the crap and garbage in our food that they want us to believe is safe.