Mike Hughlett at the Star Tribune reported today on another Minnesota resident (this time, not Mike Hartmann) making a point about the law by disobeying it–more specifically, the laws that prohibit him from selling raw milk and other food and dairy products that he was not licensed to produce and sell. 

Alvin Schlangen was believed to be selling raw milk, which by law can only be sold directly from farms, from a south Minneapolis natural food warehouse and at a drop-off point on Snelling Avenue in St. Paul near Macalester College, according to a search warrant affidavit recently filed by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture.

Last June, the state accused Schlangen of selling raw milk from the same south Minneapolis natural food warehouse, as well as illegally selling custom-slaughtered meat. In a June administrative meeting with state regulators, Schlangen was told to discontinue both practices, the affidavit said.

In December, during an inspection of his farm, regulators found that he was selling food without the proper license, and told to halt that practice, too, the affidavit said.

Schlangen says, of the State’s attempts to shut him down, “Our [Minnesota Department of Agriculture] does not recognize our right of access to the foods of our choice,” he said in an e-mail Monday. “It is time for [Minnesota] consumers to stand up for their rights and stop settling for nutrient deficient, subsidized commodity food.”

Minnesota State Department of Agriculture’s hand is being forced.  State laws can and should be enforced when somebody who believes he is above licensing requirements, and the safety requirements inherent in them, acts in purposeful contravention of those laws.  Better food safety requires the committment of all in the chain, whether it be committment to the laws or the practices they require.