Jury Deliberating in Raw Milk Case 20 Sep 12

A Minnesota man accused of violating the state’s raw milk laws was just the middle man in a voluntary arrangement of people sharing food.

Alvin Schlangen’s attorney argued that point Wednesday.

Schlangen, an organic egg producer in central Minnesota, is charged with three misdemeanor counts including distributing unpasteurized milk, operating without a food handler’s license and handling adulterated food. Minnesota law prohibits raw milk sales except directly to consumers on the farm when it’s produced.

A Hennepin County jury began deliberating the case Wednesday. After nearly an hour and a half, jurors recessed for the day and were scheduled to resume deliberations this morning (Thursday).

Schlangen, of Freeport, contends he doesn’t sell milk, but merely operates a private buying club that distributes raw milk to members, mostly in the Twin Cities. He says all he does is deliver the end product to members who lease the cows from Amish farmers.

The state Agriculture Department says Minnesota’s restrictions on raw milk sales are necessary to protect the public from serious diseases.