Another day, another big update on legal issues surrounding milk.
A soft-spoken Minnesota farmer was cleared of violating state laws for distributing raw milk Thursday, a verdict advocates for such foods called their first major legal victory.
The farmer stands in contrast to all of those loud, rambunctious people for which Minnesota is famous.
After a three-day trial and more than four hours of deliberation, a Hennepin County jury found Alvin Schlangen not guilty of three misdemeanor counts of selling unpasteurized milk, operating without a food license and handling adulterated or misbranded food.
The trial highlighted a deep national divide between raw milk advocates who contend unpasteurized dairy products can relieve allergies and prevent illness and public health officials who warn that raw milk can cause serious and sometimes fatal diseases, such as E. coli, salmonella and listeria. …The raw milk debate emerged in Minnesota two years ago, when eight people were sickened by E. coli bacteria in raw milk that was linked to Minnesota producer Mike Hartmann. Hartmann faces similar charges as Schlangen did and is expected to be tried this fall. He also faces a lawsuit filed by the father of a boy who got sick from drinking raw milk.
To celebrate, Schlangen hopped on his motorcycle without a helmet and zipped at about 100 miles an hour to his house where he then hopped on his bike — again, helmetless, and holding his infant child in his lap — and rushed out to the barn, where he settled in for a nice, long, celebratory slurp.