Raw milk man fined $55,000

Posted: December 08, 2008, 5:52 PM by Rob Roberts

Source of Article:  http://network.nationalpost.com/np/blogs/toronto/archive/2008/12/08/raw-milk-man-fined-55-000.aspx

By Melissa Leong, National Post

A southern Ontario milkman has been fined $55,000 for selling milk straight from a cow’s udder.
In October, Michael Schmidt, a 54-year-old organic farmer, was convicted of defying a court order by continuing to sell raw, unpasteurized milk from his 30 cows. He was informed of the fine — $5,000 on the charges and $50,000 for court costs — last week.
He said he intends to appeal the conviction and will continue to provide milk to his customers. “It takes more than that to stop me,” the raw-milk activist said today.
He will be holding a press conference Wednesday at Queens Park.
He faces 22 charges at another trial in January, following a raid on his farm by armed Ministry of Natural Resources officers in 2006.
The farmer, whose supporters say they have raised $120,000 for his defence, said he is eager to confront authorities about the public safety of milk.
For 14 years, Mr. Schmidt, who grew up in Germany, has struggled for the right to sell unpasteurized milk, forbidden under laws governing the production and sale of milk.
He said 150 families each own a share in cattle, who graze on pasture in Grey County about 200 kilometres northwest of Toronto. The shares allow each family to a share of a cow’s milk production.
Canada is the only country in the G8 that requires pasteurization of all milk, he said.
“People need to decide for themselves what is good for their body and what is not good,” he said. “Unpasteurized milk, compared to any other food, has a much higher safety standard than most foods.”
In May, 2007, applying the Health Protection and Promotion Act, a court ordered Mr. Schmidt to stop “offering for sale, selling or distributing, unpasteurized milk and unpasteurized milk products in the jurisdiction of York Region.”
Mr. Justice Cary Boswell of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice said York region did a “flawed” job of trying to prove Mr. Schmidt defied the order; they did not seize any milk products to be tested.
But Mr. Schmidt convicted himself, the judge said, with comments he made to the Toronto Sun proving that his farm still sells raw milk.
Conservative MPP Randy Hillier posted a note of support on his Web site for Mr. Schmidt, calling him a “man of conscience and conviction.”
He said the Ontario government has an obligation to review its legislation surrounding raw milk, which is has not been re-visited since 1939.



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