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Overreach: MN Judge Puts Crimp in MDA’s 10-Year Pursuit of Raw Dairy Farmer Hartmann


Minnesota’s relentless decade-long pursuit of dairy farmer Michael Hartmann finally ran off the road, when a state judge ruled earlier this month that the state conducted an illegal search of the farmer’s truck.

In a strongly worded 30-page opinion, Minnesota Judge Erica MacDonald ruled that a state trooper, with help from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, illegally searched Hartmann’s truck and seized raw milk and cheese after a stop in December 2012. The trooper was allowed to stop the truck when he couldn’t see the rear license plate, the judge said, but once he found that the plate was just dirty, and that there was a front license plate, he was obligated to send Hartmann on his way, since there was no violation of motor vehicle or traffic laws. Instead, the trooper called the MDA, which told him to search the truck and confiscate product.
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That Big Salmonella Outbreak: Chickens Coming Home to Roost on Bankrupt Food Safety Double Standard

Factory Chicken Farm

There’s an outbreak of illnesses from salmonella in chicken that is making national headlines --278 people in 18 states have been sickened. More alarming is the fact that 42% of those sickened have been hospitalized, and that the pathogen seems resistant to treatment with antibiotics. (According to estimates from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, less than one per cent of its estimated 48 million cases of foodborne illness require hospitalization.) 

The media is making much out of the fact that employees of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control are being called back from furlough to monitor the situation. But the media are ignoring the real dangers underscored by this outbreak.

This outbreak is a vivid example of the double standard applied to food safety--one set of highly permissive standards for corporate producers of factory food and a second set for small producers of artisanal nutrient-dense food. As if the favoritism shown the corporations that fatten politicians’ campaign coffers isn’t enough, we are now getting a bird’s-eye view (pardon the pun) of how the double standard is being allowed to truly endanger large numbers of people. It is a double standard I warn about and document in my book, Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Food Rights.
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Should You Be Able to Buy Food Directly From Farmers? The Government Doesn’t Think So


This would seem to embody the USDA’s advisory, “Know your farmer, know your food,” right? Not exactly.

For the USDA and its sister food regulator, the FDA, there’s a problem: many of the farmers are distributing the food via private contracts like herd shares and leasing arrangements, which fall outside the regulatory system of state and local retail licenses and inspections that govern public food sales.

In response, federal and state regulators are seeking legal sanctions against farmers in Maine, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and California, among others. These sanctions include injunctions, fines, and even prison sentences. Food sold by unlicensed and uninspected farmers is potentially dangerous say the regulators, since it can carry pathogens like salmonella, campylobacter, and E.coli O157:H7, leading to mild or even serious illness.
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