Raw milk bad boy Mike Hartmann has managed to do the raw milk movement a general disservice over the course of the last year. His products have sickened over a dozen people with E. coli O157:H7 and campylobacter, and he has defied the State of Minnesota at pretty much every opportunity, despite running a dairy that was exposed as being a few notches below sanitary. And when his products were finally embargoed, they all disappeared, prompting a Minnesota state court to consider whether he was in contempt of its order to cease all distribution of raw dairy product.
In December, Minnesota state district Judge Rex Stacey ordered the Minnesota Agriculture Department to destroy the seized products, including 100 cases of raw milk, 20 cases of skim milk, 125 tubs of yogurt and 900 packages and four large boxes of raw-milk-derived cheddar cheese. On Jan. 3, when the state went to destroy the embargoed food, only five half-gallons of embargoed milk remained and the yogurt inventory had been whittled down to four or five containers, according to the affidavit. All embargoed meat products were gone, too.
When the matter came on for hearing today, Hartmann told the judge that all the food had been consumed by his extended family. No word on how large his family is, nor, apparently, how big their typical grocery bill is. The judge let Hartmann breathe, stating specifically to him in open court that he was “giving you a break here.”
What next for Mike Hartmann.