GAYLORD, Minn. (AP) — A judge has dismissed a contempt of court allegation against a south-central Minnesota farmer accused of sickening 15 people with contaminated raw milk products.

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture had embargoed food products on Michael Hartmann's farm after an E. coli outbreak was traced to the Gibbon area farm last spring,

District Judge Rex Stacey had ordered the embargoed food destroyed. But when state inspectors went to the farm in January to carry out the judge's order, they found most of the food was gone.

At a hearing Thursday, Hartmann said he and his extended family ate the food. State Agriculture Department attorneys argued that while it was all right for Hartmann to use the food, he did not follow state instructions on how to do that.

Minnesota Public Radio News reports the judge told Hartmann "I'm going to give you a break here" and dismissed the contempt charge.


Minnesota Public Radio News' report can be found at:

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.