Alvin Schlangen, charged with violating the state’s restrictions on raw milk sales, was acquitted Thursday.
Schlangen, an organic egg producer from Freeport, was charged with three misdemeanor counts of 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.
The jury deliberated for about 4 1/2 hours before returning not guilty verdicts on all three counts in Hennepin County District Court.
Schlangen does not produce milk but runs what the defense described as a voluntary and legal association of consumers who lease cows from Amish farmers. The defense said his role is merely as a middleman.
Schlangen faces similar charges in Stearns County. That trial is scheduled for October 9th.
Minnesota Department of Agriculture officials issued a statement saying the ruling does not wipe away the fact that many children and adults have gotten dangerously sick from consuming raw milk, nor does it wipe away the other legal rulings that have upheld MDA enforcement actions.