August 14, 2022

Raw Milk Farmer Dodges Justice

Michael Hartman, a farmer from Gibbon, Minnesota sells raw milk. He sells it without a license and seemingly without worry about causing another outbreak like the one four years ago that gave 12 people who drank his milk E.coli poisoning.

Milking a CowHartman made a plea deal to get charges related to the outbreak dropped, but that doesn’t change the facts. The specific strain of E. coli0157:H7  taken from those poisoned by the milk was also found in cows and at multiple sites at the Hartmann farm. The genetic fingerprint for the that strain of E. coli had never been previously found in Minnesota.

The October 2012 plea deal stipulated that Hartman comply with state licensing and labeling laws that forbid the off-farm sale of raw milk and put him on unsupervised probation for six months. He was fined $585.00.

But Hartman continued to sell raw milk which was discovered during a traffic stop. State investigators say Hartmann illegally delivered raw milk to people in the Twin Cities area, which violated his plea agreement. In addition, they found 300 gallons of bottled raw milk during a search of his farm in January 2013.

In April, Judge Erica MacDonald ruled Hartman had violated his probation, but in a  hearing Wednesday she ruled no penalties were warranted and discharged him from probation. Hartman said he plans to continue to sell raw milk.



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