Farmers Fight Raw Milk Delivery Ban

Minnesota farmers are challenging a state ban on raw milk delivery, with some opposing the measure so strongly that they continue to sell in the face of criminal charges.

Minnesota farmer Alvin Schlangen is an organic egg farmer who operates a club called Freedom Co-op, whose members sign contracts to buy and consume raw milk. Schlangen picks up local raw milk products and delivers them to members of the co-op. His ongoing efforts have landed him in hot water and he currently faces trial for violating the state’s food safety code.

Recent debates over raw milk have erupted in several states across the country. While many states do not explicitly ban the production or consumption of raw milk, many severely regulate its sale and transportation, often forbidding it to be delivered across state or county lines. Minnesota’s law allows raw milk to only be sold directly to consumers on the farm where it is produced.

Raw milk advocates claim that the pasteurization process kills helpful bacteria, destroying important nutrients. Opponents say that the pasteurization process is necessary to kill harmful bacteria and prevent to spread of foodborne illnesses.

Schlangen and his lawyer are using his upcoming case to present raw milk in a favorable light, hoping that it becomes a flashpoint for raw milk farmers nationwide. Schlangen’s lawyer recently attacked state agricultural officials, saying, “We have a bureaucracy that’s intent for whatever reason on making sure people aren’t able to get raw milk.”

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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer