Mike Hughlett of the Star Tribune reported last night that the Minnesota Department of Agriculture has seized more raw milk-based products produced by embattled farmer Mike Hartmann of Gibbon, Minnesota.
On Tuesday, state agriculture investigators armed with a search warrant seized "hundreds of gallons of raw milk," along with cream, yogurt, cheese and meat from Roger Hartmann, Mike Hartmann’s brother, said Gary Wood, executive director of the Foundation for Consumer Free Choice, an advocacy group to which the Hartmanns also belong.
At the time of the seizure, Roger Hartmann was meeting with customers in Minnetonka, delivering products that had been ordered last week, Wood said. The Agriculture Department declined to comment, saying its investigation into Hartmann is still in progress.
Mike Hartmann entered the wider raw milk lexicon early last summer when at least 8 people were infected by E. coli O157:H7 after consuming raw milk produced at the Hartmann dairy farm in Sibley County. Environmental and animal samples tested positive for the same strain of E. coli O157:H7 as had infected the outbreak victims. Minnesota state health officials also collected animal and environmental samples that tested positive for campylobacter and cryptosporidium.
On October 28, 2010, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture issued a news release disclosing that seven people with a recent history of consuming raw milk were sickened by campylobacter (3 people) and cryptosporidium (4 people). At the time, several of the cases reported exposure to Hartmann raw milk products, prompting Minnesota Department of Health Foodborne Diseases Unit Supervisor Dr. Kirk Smith to state, “We’re concerned that people are continuing to get sick after consuming products from this farm. We’re also concerned that some people who became ill were given the Hartmann dairy product by friends or neighbors who did not tell them the source.” Testing on bacteria isolated from the cases in the October outbreak shared the same genetic profile as campylobacter and cryptosporidium test results taken from samples at Hartmann farm this summer, suggesting a persisting source of infection at Hartmann farm.