A Minnesota man has been being acquitted of charges stemming from the state’s restrictions on raw milk sales.
Raw milk supporters hail the decision as a victory for consumer freedom, but state officials suggest that the decision does not eliminate the risks involved with raw milk consumption.
Alvin Schlangen, an organic egg producer, had been charged with distributing raw milk, operating without a food handler's license and handling adulterated food, according to a report from the Associated Press. The defense argued that Schlangen, who doesn’t produce milk on his farm, was the middleman for a voluntary and legal association of consumers who lease cows from nearby Amish farms.
After more than four hours of deliberation, a jury found Schlangen not guilty on all three counts.
Schlangen’s supporters claimed a victory for food freedom.
Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) officials also responded to the verdict through a statement available here.
“This narrow ruling does not wipe away the fact that many children and adults have gotten dangerously sick from consuming raw milk. It also does not wipe away the other legal rulings that have upheld MDA enforcement actions. Protecting the integrity of our food supply remains our top priority, and Minnesotans expect us to do that job using modern science and the law as our guide. We will continue to work in their best interests,” the statement said.