Farmer faces charges over raw dairyby Mark Steil, Minnesota Public Radio
WORTHINGTON, Minn. — Southern Minnesota dairy farmer Michael Hartmann and three others face criminal charges linked to an earlier investigation of sales of raw milk and other unpasteurized dairy products.
The charges filed in April include allegations that the four sold adulterated products.
Assistant Sibley County attorney Don Lannoye said the criminal cases are based on state evidence from two years ago that showed contaminated Hartmann products sickened more than a dozen people.
Investigators said Hartmann sold raw milk and other products contaminated with E. coli and other pathogens. The new charges build on the embargo the state placed on the farm in 2010. A nine-count criminal complaint filed in Sibley County District Court alleges that despite the embargo and other state actions, Hartmann has continued to sell unpasteurized milk and other products.
"In reviewing the events from 2010 that involved the people becoming ill, we felt that the evidence showed beyond a reasonable doubt that crimes occurred," said Lannoye.
Hartmann's wife Diane, his brother Roger and alleged business associate Linda Schultz were the others charged. Hartmann also faces a civil law suit over the raw milk illnesses.
Hartmann could not be reached for comment.
In a separate case, central Minnesota farmer Alvin Schlangen also faces criminal charges over raw milk sales. His trial is scheduled for July in Hennepin County.