Raw Milk Provider in the Dock in Wisconsin: Who Decides What You Can Eat?


The Fractured Paradigm blog reports on a forthcoming "food liberty" case involving sale of unapproved dairy products out of Wisconsin, where dairy is a very big deal indeed:

Raw milk drinkers are outraged that Wisconsin DATCP [Department of Agricultural Trade and Consumer Protection ] is bringing criminal charges against a farmer who serves a private buying club. Do citizens have a right to contract with a producer and grow food to their own standards? …..

Cream Drop
Photo credit: Kyle May / Foter.com / CC BY

Food rights activists from around North America will meet at the Sauk County Courthouse in this tiny town on May 20 to support Wisconsin dairy farmer Vernon Hershberger and food sovereignty. Hershberger, whose trial begins that day, is charged with four criminal misdemeanors that could land this husband and father in county jail for up to 30 months with fines of over $10,000…

DATCP has charged Hershberger with, among other things, operating a retail food establishment without a license. Hershberger repeatedly rejects this, citing that he provides foods only to paid members in a private buying club and is not subject to state food regulations.

Hershberger says:

There is more at stake here than just a farmer and his few customers — this is about the fundamental right of farmers and consumers to engage in peaceful, private, mutually consenting agreements for food, without additional oversight.

……Hershberger, and other farmers around the country, are facing state or federal charges against them for providing fresh foods to wanting individuals. In recent months the FDA has conducted several long undercover sting operations and raids against peaceful farmers and buying clubs….

Vernon has faced a lot of pre-hearings and postponements already. Legal concerns are mounting. Printable flyers and an account from his May 7th hearing appear here.

I was talking to a reporter from a big national magazine about the Pauls just yesterday and I was asked why "raw milk" is such a big deal to the Pauls and many of their fans. Well, you know, it's hard to explain–some people just are regrettably lacking that bureacratic-managerial outlook on life that says, well, pasteurization and legal restaurant inspectations certainly are conducive to greater public health and are very scientific and rational and thus what sane person could argue with enforcing rules regarding them with men with guns who have the ultimate power to kill you if you decide at any point that you don't want to cooperate and should be able to manage your own life your own way and make trades with willing customers.

Some people just believe you should have more control over your life than that. Who knows why, it's just the wild attitude that some people have.

Reason on raw milk.