Judge: Minn. farmer's raw milk caused outbreak

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HASTINGS, Minn. (AP) — A judge has ordered the destruction of state-embargoed food products from a southern Minnesota dairy farm linked to an E. coli outbreak.

District Judge Rex Stacey says he has "no doubt" that products from Michael Hartmann's farm near Gibbon caused the outbreak that sickened eight people last spring.

State investigators found the same strain of E. coli in both the victims and on the Hartmann farm. Hartmann maintained that his unpasteurized milk has not sickened anyone.

After the outbreak, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture prohibited Hartmann from selling the raw milk, cheese and yogurt he had in storage. Hartmann challenged the order in court.

The judge ruled the food be destroyed within 30 days. Hartmann's attorney, Zenas Baer, tells Minnesota Public Radio News Hartmann will cooperate with the court order.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.

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