The Vultures Circle MN Raw Dairy, But What’s the Real Story? Hey, FDA, Why Not Call Troops to SC?

Google the terms “Hartmann Farm, Gibbon, MN” and you’ll get a good five pages of lawyer and media sites writing that three of four people have become ill from E.coli 0157:H7 in raw milk sold by the dairy. Nearly all the articles are based on an announcement by the Minnesota Department of Health that the illnesses have been “traced to raw milk” from Hartmann Farm, citing as evidence not only that they drank raw milk, but have the same genetic versions of the E.coli 0157:H7.

The lawyers are re-purposing the announcement because they are elbowing each other to be first in line when the families of those who became ill possibly select a product liability lawyer to seek damages. The media are pouncing on the announcement as evidence that the public health community is correct that raw milk is inherently unsafe.

No one seems to have asked the dairy owner his version of what happened. I spoke with the owner, Michael Hartmann, earlier today, and he tells a somewhat different tale. He says he’s been making raw milk available for the last ten years, and has never had a hint of illness. (He pasteurizes his dairy’s skim milk.) He contests the publicized version of events on two counts:

1. The public health authorities apparently haven’t found the E.coli in his dairy’s milk or anywhere else that directly connects the dairy. As a result, his dairy was raided yesterday by sheriffs deputies followed by two Minnesota Department of Agriculture agents and two Department of Health investigators. They came with a search warrant, and spent six-and-a-half hours searching his dairy and taking manure samples from his forty Dutch Belted cows, along with pigs and sheep. Clearly, the authorities were on the prowl for evidence of E.coli 0157:H7, to make a connection with the E.coli found in individuals who became ill–a connection they apparently haven’t yet definitely made.

2. He says he’s heard from the parents of two children who became ill–including one who has hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS)–and both told him that it was only the adults who drank raw milk, that the children hadn’t been drinking it, and thus, as far as the parents were concerned, the children hadn’t gotten sick from the milk.

This is definitely a story in progress. While it doesn’t seem accurate to conclude the illnesses have been “traced to” the Minnesota dairy, it certainly seems possible that will be where the trail ends. If authorities find the same version of E.coli they’ve found in the patients, that’s very conclusive. And to explain the fact that the children haven’t consumed the milk, E.coli 0157:H7 can be transmitted among family members.

Interestingly, the Minnesota Department of Health uses its announcement to cite various statistics from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control about illnesses and outbreaks from raw milk (including the “two deaths” we know were really from “bathtub” queso fresca cheese), but it seems somehow to have overlooked one relevant fact, which is noted by the Minneapolis StarTribune article: If it turns out the Minnesota dairy was the source of the problematic E.coli, this would be the first raw milk outbreak in Minnesota in at least 15 years. Wonder how the public health people could have missed that.

Cows at Milky Way Farm in South Carolina, target of an FDA warning letter on raw milk.Another raw dairy in the news is Milky Way Farm in South Carolina. It was reported to have received a warning letter from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration last month claiming the dairy was “causing to be delivered, selling, or otherwise distributing raw milk, in final package form for human consumption, in interstate commerce.”

As evidence, the FDA said it had determined from the dairy’s web site that it sells raw milk to a co-op in Augusta, GA. And as usual, the news stories on the warning letter provided no comment from the dairy.

I spoke with L.D. Peeler, the dairy’s owner, and he says any co-ops mentioned on his site aren’t his, but rather, “Just groups of families that cooperate so they wouldn’t have to spend money on gas” to pick up their milk. “I do not go out of state with my milk.”

Peeler says he engaged a lawyer, who answered the FDA warning letter, to explain the correct situation, and he hasn’t heard back yet from the FDA.

Peeler does acknowledge dropping milk off to several hundred buyers who cross into South Carolina from North Carolina and Georgia, where raw milk is illegal. He says the FDA letter seems to be suggesting he ensure he sells only to South Carolina residents. “I can’t determine where they’re from and I’m not going to.”

I asked Peeler why he thought the FDA was coming after him, and not after the consumers who were crossing the state borders to pick up milk from his dairy. “They’d need a lot more than the 1,200 troops they’ve sent to the Mexican border to try to stop the raw milk,” he says. 

Bingo, Mr. Peeler. If the FDA was serious about enforcing the law, it would go after every individual who carries raw milk across state lines, rather than try to use a farmer as the equivalent of a police agent. These people are violating the law, aren’t they? But the FDA knows that if it tried to enforce the law, it would have an insurrection on its hands. What a cowardly pathetic bunch that would pick on owners of small farms struggling to earn a living and use them to enforce laws it is afraid to enforce.

A Milky Way Farm customer wrote on the Raw Dairy listserve: “They’re trying to take away my milk…” Yes, they are. That’s exactly what they’re trying to do. ?If you live in the North Carolina or Georgia areas of Milky Way Farm, send the FDA a message and support L.D. Peeler by crossing over to South Carolina and buying all the raw milk you can carry back.

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31 Comments on "The Vultures Circle MN Raw Dairy, But What’s the Real Story? Hey, FDA, Why Not Call Troops to SC?"

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Concerned Person
May 28, 2010 4:54 am
Mark McAfee
May 28, 2010 7:54 am

The Hartmans have said that they "low temperature pasteurize" their organic milk and do not sell raw milk.

Can someone define what the Hartmans do???….the grey area that is being discussed here is critical. It is either pasteurized or not. If it is a low temp pasteurized milk ( thermalized and not actually PMO pasteurized ) then this is the stupidist thing I have ever heard of…..this is dangerous milk. Thermalized milk can be very dangerous and it should only be made into aged cheese if anything. This "tweener" ( neither raw nor properly pasteurized ) process allows heat resistant pathogens to thrive while the competitive back ground bacteria are killed.

Whooops…..what is the real story here??? It is clear that in the past when ever a pasteurizer fails the FDA and everyone associated with the incident blame it on raw milk.

One more time people…..there are "Two Raw Milks In America". One for people and one that really needs to be properly and thoroughly pasteurized.

Do not blame tested, regulated, pasture fed and inspected raw milk for the problems associated with pasteurized milk when the pasteurizer fails. You handle your own issues and handle your own PR challenges.


Concerned Person
May 28, 2010 8:02 am

Mark, read the link I posted. It answers all of your questions.


Mark McAfee
May 28, 2010 8:32 am

CP….it far from aswers my questions….this is "an intentional smoke screen of war!"

In California it is illegal to bring raw milk intended for human consumption into a pasteurization plant. You are mixing bad Karma and the wrong ecosystems if you do.

It is a dangerous and illegal practice.

When milk is pasteurized, the PMO standards and other sterilization practices must be used. Sterilized or mostly sterilized milk and the processes and cleaners ( like quats and residual sanitizers ) that are used to create this dead milk also create an environment that loves listeria & psuedamonas and heat resistant pathogens. These bad boy pathogens are looking for a place to live.

That is why it is illegal in CA to bring raw milk for humans into a pasteurization plant… is forbidden.

This is a big no no….!! Any raw milk that is going to a place that pasteurizes must not be confused with raw milk that is intended for human consumption.

This is a pasteurizer failure… not confuse the Two Raw Milks in America. This confusion has been the convenient excuse used to blame raw milk for everything that is wrong with pasteurized milk.

Two standards
Two practices
Two origins
Two laws
Two different worlds
The two do not mix!!

We have grown beyond that "Industry, PMO, FDA, abused excuse".


Bill Anderson
May 28, 2010 9:07 am

Hey Mark, let’s not forget that pseudomonas can often contaminate pastuerized milk and other high pH dairy products from the water, especially chlorinated municipal water lines. And it grows best (least competition) at the cold temperatures they require PMO dairy products to be stored at.

Not that it matters to the food fascists.

In the EU quats are banned because of all the toxic residue they leave behind. Why aren’t quats banned in the U.S.?

Food fascists.

Mark McAfee
May 28, 2010 10:20 am

WI Raw Milk Consumer….you are so right. Actually the USDA organic standards say no to quats….

None the less….the raw milk that was taken to the Hartmans creamery at their farm was intended to be pasteurized and not intended to be drank raw.

Where is the testing, standards and safety program. The PMO has exactly zero tests required for pathogens when milk is intended to be pasteurized.

There are "Two Raw Milks In America"…..and never forget it. Do not ever let the FDA deny it or bury this fact. No longer can we allow raw milk that is produced intentionally as intended to be consumed raw take the whipping for the other raw milk. This is the CDC data mixing trick and the oldest trick in the book to cover pasteurized milk filth.


Concerned Person
May 28, 2010 10:49 am
Concerned Person
May 28, 2010 11:15 am

The point of setting up a farmer owned creamery was to capture the processing and marketing profits for the farmer owners. So, when it was clear the big creamery idea wouldn’t fly as well as a barn yard chicken, the Hartmans decided to build a creamery for their thirty-five cows on their farm.

As in any business, customers and marketing are vital. M.O.M’s marketing program is as diverse as the rest of the farm. They sell to food co-operatives, grocers and a farmer owned marketing co-op. They also sell to consumer managed buying clubs. And, although most of their markets are in Minneapolis and St. Paul, they have a home delivery route in the nearby town of New Ulm.

M.O.M’s can’t sell milk straight from the bulk tank. But their goal is to get certified organic dairy products to their customers that tastes as close to the sweet, fresh taste of "straight-from-the-bulk-tank" as processing rules allow. That includes lower pasteurization temperatures, minimal agitation, no homogenization of bottled milk and careful handling of the finished product.

In Minnesota, raw milk is restricted to "occasional purchases directly at the farm where the milk is produced," Kassenborg said.

State officials aren’t sure where the Hartmann raw milk was purchased. But some of it may have been purchased at a metro-area "pickup point," Danila said without elaborating.
One Hartmann Dairy customer, south Minneapolis resident Julie Colby, said she picks up raw milk weekly at a neighbor’s house through a "milk club." Several families belong, and Colby said she pays Hartmann directly. The arrangement appears to be common.
The Minnesota Agriculture Department is investigating Hartmann Dairy, which Kassenborg said was cited by her department in 2004 for violating the state’s raw milk sales law, a misdemeanor offense. She said the state turned the case over to prosecutors in Hennepin County — where the milk was apparently sold — but they declined to pursue charges.
The state revoked Hartmann Dairy Farm’s license to produce Grade A milk in 2001 for "general unsanitary conditions," Kassenborg said.
Mark, between the two articles, this is what I read:
1. It is a family farm with 35 cows and their own creamery.
2. They are supposed to pasteurized milk that is sold to people (illegal to sell raw milk), but they dont.
3. In 2004 they were cited for breaking the states raw milk laws.
4. In 2001 their Grade A license was revoked for unsanitary conditions.

Now they have an outbreak. What a surprise! I dont know what you are so confused about.


Blair McMorran
May 28, 2010 2:03 pm

The Bacteria Swat Team nonpareil…when we will ever learn?
Industry News – AM
Antimicrobial-resistance discovery concerns USDA microbiologists

By Tom Johnston on 5/28/2010

Using an advanced genetic screening technique, USDA’s Agricultural Research Service microbiologists discovered more than 700 genes that give bacteria such as E. coli and salmonella the ability to resist antibiotics.

ARS said in a news release that researchers used DNA microarray technology to detect the resistance genes in a wide range of bacteria that also included campylobacter, listeria and enterococcus, among others. Such organisms can cause food poisoning and thereby present major public health concern.

"Researchers are concerned that some of these organisms have acquired genetic resistance to the antibiotics used to kill them," ARS said. "Finding the genes that confer resistance is an important step for scientists looking for new ways to control these organisms."

All genes identified in organisms are logged into GenBank, a gene database managed by the National Center for Biotechnology Information at the National Institutes for Health. ARS microbiologists searched the database for genes annotated by other scientists as likely to encode resistance.

ARS microbiologists selected some 1,000 unique genes from among 5,000 found in GenBank that included the words ‘antimicrobial resistance’ in their description. They then designed a microarray, or a small glass slide, of more than 700 DNA probes to detect the resistance genes.

The work was published in the science journal Microbial Drug Resistance.

Ron Klein
May 28, 2010 7:56 pm

The presence of DNA sequences used as probes in PCR analysis using microarrays indicates the presence of DNA from the sample organinsm that contains those sequences. That does not mean that an fully intact gene is present, nor that the specific gene is expressed. These data indicate that the sequences are present and provide a basis for futher study to confirm antibiotic resistance. When we used similar probes looking for resistant populations we actually did biological studies to show resistance, screened with probes to different segments of a specific gene, also probed messenger RNA-precursor to making the specific protein, and then used the probes to isolate and sequence the genes to prove that they were indeed present. also note that classifications in GenBank are via similarity of both DNA sequences and the translated protein sequences of potential encoded genes…..

The use of PCR and microarrays can identify populations of specific strains of bacteria, the relationship between a DNA profile and cause of infection can be another matter. Additional studies are always called for in the laboratory. I think it is important to realize that a DNA fingerprint-by itself, (and I’m talking here as a scientist not attorney) can as suspect as the unscientific basis of fingerprint analysis ( the Truth of fingerprints as been burned into our psyche).

There must be other’s on this list conversant in the science who would like to know what protocols are used, data generated and how it is confirmed. What exactly are these investigators doing? What is the cosistency of confirming the data?

Just thinking about what happened at Forest Grove recently–circumstantial evidence–was there ever any confirmation of any organism associated with the farm? And had their been how would finding a sample in a single cow pattie be conclusive?

Of course there is the matter of what and how a jury will respond……

Just some thoughts…..late for milking…….

Don Neeper
May 28, 2010 10:29 pm

I apologize for the length of the quoted article below, but the PA-based agricultural trade weekly Lancaster Farming has continued its tradition of supporting raw milk from pasture-fed dairies.

Buying Clubs Sour Massachusetts Raw Milk
Submitted by Editor on Fri, 05/28/2010 – 10:57am.

Guy Steucek
New England Correspondent

BOSTON, Mass. When the Boston Globe prints an editorial State shouldnt be cowed by raw-milk aficionados (22 May, 2010) it is evident that public interest in raw milk is on the rise and raw milk regulations have soured.

Over the past several decades, the numbers of dairy farms in Massachusetts have tumbled from over a thousand to just over a hundred. Today the interest in real milk or raw milk has been a lifeline for nearly a third of the remaining farms. Also, the local food movement with emphasis on organic grass-fed animals has stimulated the sales of raw milk. Raw milk at the farm fetches $6 to $9 per gallon. Scott Soares, Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) said raw milk sales are up 170 percent over the past four years.

At some point there was tacit agreement between the dairy farmers and MDAR that raw milk sales would take place only at the farm. Over time, as sales increased and green mores developed, raw milk customers carpooled to the dairy farms for the raw milk prize. Then neighbors and friends picked up raw milk for each other. More recently buying clubs developed to ease the burden of driving to the farm for raw milk.

Early this year the MDAR sent letters of cease-and-desist to four of the clubs: Granny Bs, Berkshire Coop Market, Just Dairy and Mr. Tarzan Farm Fresh Buyers Club. That incited the public interest in the controversy.

According to Winton Pitcoff, principal of NOFA-Mass, The language for Massachusetts raw milk law is not really all that tight; it has been the same for 17 years. Buying clubs adhere to the law; a person pays for the same product before it is purchased.

MDAR has a different opinion. Once the milk leaves the farm they have no control over how it is handled by the buying clubs. According to Scott Soares, these buying clubs are illegal in that they are commercial businesses. Retail outlets are under the purview of the Department of Public Health. Legal experts will argue this point. (See NOFA-Mass at and Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund at

MDAR scheduled a public hearing on proposed changes in the milk law for Monday May 10 at 10 a.m. On Friday May 7 after 5 p.m., MDAR withdrew the language and canceled the proposed meeting. To the credit of Scott Soares, a public hearing was scheduled to take testimony for two hours on the proposed changes in the law. The hearing lasted three and a half hours. Fifty testifiers were heard all in favor of buying clubs for raw milk.

One should study the nature of the dairy farms selling raw milk to get a sound perspective of the raw milk issue in Massachusetts. Of the 27 farms certified to sell raw milk, only three have milking herds over 40 animals, and some are in the single digits. The median dairy herd in Massachusetts is about 60 cows.

While some are certified organic, the vast majority are organic in spirit in that they use organic practices. With the exception of a few larger farms, these operations are grass-based sustainable operations where animal health is of paramount importance. These farms have focused on the quality of the milk they produce. Furthermore, most of these farms are diversified and directly market vegetables, meats and other value-added products.

Food recalls are common in the media, and have many on a food safety alert. Those selling raw milk say they are well aware of the hazards associated with the potential impact of pathogens and go way beyond the call of regulations to ensure that their raw milk is free of human pathogens, and that their animals are in the best of health.

Beth Cook of Cook Farm in Hadley said We didnt want to get into it, but customer demand for raw milk started us in raw milk sales. We will not sell to someone who is ignorant of the hazards of raw milk. I have everyones phone number so we can contact people if there is a problem.

Clifford Hatch of Upinngil Farm in Gill said Our grass-based milk with somatic cell counts of 26,000, 4 percent butter fat, 3.5 percent protein and 5 percent lactose is in demand with a very solid customer base. This milk under refrigeration has a longer shelf life than store milk, our customers know it.

Customers are invited to Upinngil to view the animals and facilities in part of an educational effort.

The loss of buying clubs, says supporters, would be devastating to some dairy farms where a substantial portion of their income from raw milk sales facilitated by buying clubs.

Raw milk supporters agree that conventional milk, as they define it produced by cows in confinement operations, that are fed a variety of byproducts/wastes from food industries, and then pooled from a variety of sources, and trucked long distances should be pasteurized before it is sold.

This milk product, they argue, is a far cry from the raw milk produced on certified raw milk farms in Massachusetts. Limiting retail sales to the farm with the aid of buying clubs seems reasonable in comparison with the more commercial marketing system.

While farmers are willing to discuss raw milk sales, state officials are far less willing to discuss the issue. Lancaster Farming contacted the public relations personnel at the Department of Public Health, but they were unwilling to discuss the topic and offered this position statement:

Seventy-one percent of all dairy related foodborne illness is the result of consumption of raw milk or raw milk products. We regulate the sale of milk to retail outlets. DAR regulates farms. We are working closely with DAR to give farmers opportunities while protecting the publics health.

When asked the source of this statistic, they did not reply. Raw milk advocates argue that since 1999, Massachusetts has not had any illnesses from raw milk, whereas three died from pasteurized milk in 2007.

According to Soares, The raw milk regulations are under examination. We plan to announce a series of listening sessions next week. A lot of clarification needs to be made. I dont expect legislation will result from the raw milk issue at present.

Soares realizes that raw milk sales have enabled a number of family farms to remain viable and provide citizens with products they demand. In addition, he delights in the notion that the current regulations get the raw milk customers to the farms the best way to promote agriculture.

May 28, 2010 10:42 pm

The presence of any unusual population of one type of bacteria in food is a good indicator that the normal ,common commensal bacteria have been suppressed by something,most likely a chemical or physical attempt to eliminate "spoilage organisms"(lactic acid bacteria). Opportunistic bacteria are quick to develope resistance to our attempts to kill them and so their population explodes when the competition is eliminated.Opportunistic bacteria can be an indicator of some problem in food handling.Salmonella in produce is often an indicator that the produce has been rinsed in a chlorine solution.Salmonella population explosion in our gut would indicate NOT that we have consumed salmonella(it is already present),but that we have consumed something that suppressed the commensal bacteria in our gut.

All of the fuss about identifying the type of bacteria that caused the illness is a diversionary tactic to keep us from seeing what the conditions were that enabled one type of opportunistic bacteria to take over.It is not a matter of which "pathogen" was injested,it is a question of what upset the balance between commensal and opportunistic bacteria.This can be caused by something that was injested,most commonly a bacteriacide(antibiotic,preservative,sanitizer,etc.).Or the imbalance can even be caused by stress of many different forms.

Mark McAfee
May 28, 2010 10:49 pm


Can you and I agree that the raw milk that made the consumers sick from Hartmans may have been purchased from a local store or directly from the Hartmans?

Either way, the Hartmans own and operate a creamery that pasteurizes ( or says that they use low temp pasteurization, what ever that means, and is supposedly PMO compliant ) and that the Hartmans do not have a specific raw milk production business?

My point is simply this…..raw milk for human consumption is not a side business and raw milk for human consumption should never come into a pasteurization plant. This practice is dangerous and illegal in CA.

My last point is this….the only standards that prevail at Hartmans is the PMO and the PMO is for pasteurization not human raw milk consumption.

This is a pasteurizer related raw milk outbreak not an outbreak related to a failure of inspected and retail approved and inspected raw milk.

All of the Hartmans ( even if it is super yummy !! ) is intended to be pasteurized!! What ever incidental raw milk sales they do is off protocol and can not be compared to a fuly dedicated raw milk for human consumption facility.

No comparison….there are no safety systems or testing or standards in place.


Concerned Person
May 29, 2010 1:35 am

It sounds like Bob is Michael Hartmann’s long lost twin.

GIBBON, MINN. — The organic farmer who
produced raw milk linked to illness in four
Minnesotans, including a toddler who
remained hospitalized Thursday, has for
years fought the government’s efforts to
regulate him.

Michael Hartmann, whose dairy is just
outside this town of 800 people, last had a
license to sell Grade A milk in 2001. He has
kicked inspectors off his property, refused
to tell a judge his name in court and asserted
he is a "natural man" with a constitutional
right to raise and sell food without
government interference.

Randy and Kathy Ahlbrecht run a nearby
dairy farm and have known the Hartmanns
for decades. She described Michael Hartmann
as a generous, church-going man who is
always fighting the government. "He tells my
husband that you don’t have to pay your
taxes," she said. "He’s got this big book he
walks around with that’s all about how to get
around your government." She said she
doesn’t share his views.

Sibley County feedlot officer Greg DeVries
said he witnessed Michael Hartmann’s anti-
government views first-hand in 2000, when
he tried to inspect the farm.

"He said, ‘You can’t do it. You have to show
me why you are out here.’ He basically got
angry with me and I left," DeVries said.
County officials later got a court order to
inspect the farm, and sheriff’s deputies came
along with inspectors, who found no feedlot

That incident provoked one of Hartmann’s
many legal challenges against the
government, in which he declared himself a
"natural man" and "an heir of the Organic
laws of the Land and Nation." He has been
fined and jailed for zoning and building
permit violations. He unsuccessfully sued a
bank in 2007 when it attached an IRS levy of
$463,443 to an account under the name M.O.
M.’s Dairy Trust.

May 29, 2010 4:10 am

CP, let’s ban cars… they cause many more deaths to all ages of people than any milk, 37,000 fatalities a year in the U.S. alone… and that doesn’t even include injuries, probably many times 37,000:

Concerned Person
May 29, 2010 5:10 am

There are regulations for those who choose to drive: you must have a drivers license, insurance, use seatbelts, car seats for infants and toddlers, booster seats for children, and cant drive while talking on a cell phone. If you speed or break any other driving rules you receive a ticket. If you drive drunk, you can go to jail. All of these regulations make driving safer.
Im not about banning raw milk. I believe it needs to be regulated. Raw milk needs to be made as safe as humanly possible.

Bill Anderson
May 29, 2010 5:26 am

Hey folks,

I hate to be the spoiler here, but I really do think we need to distance ourselves from quacks like Michael Hartmann if we expect the general public to take us seriously.

Its one thing to be anti-government or anti-establishment. Its another to be a conspiracy theorist and whack job.

Bill Anderson
May 29, 2010 5:32 am


If you really believe in making raw milk as safe as possible, then why did you not fight against big dairy, and support the WI raw milk bill, which included pathogen testing (in addition to regular PMO Grade A milk testing) and a recall procedure for raw milk?

Instead big dairy got their way, and raw milk in WI will remain an unregulated "grey market" commodity, where it is more likely to make someone sick.

Food safety regulations are one thing, but you cannot expect these regulations to be taken seriously by raw milk farmers when the whole system is controlled by big corporations trying to put them out of bussiness.

Once you understand that the real problem is monopolostic dairy processors, then we can start talking about real food safety. Their idea of food safety is obviously very perverse — chlorine, anti-biotics, bovine growth hormone, and quaternary ammonia sanitizers are OK in the pastuerized milk supply, but farmers selling fresh whole organic milk directly on the farm should be bnaned? Say what?

I’m all for food safety. Problem is, the milk processing corporations are getting in the way of it when it comes to raw milk.

Sophie Lovett
May 29, 2010 6:15 am

Wi-RMC: I beg you to reconsider your statement:

I really do think we need to distance ourselves from quacks like Michael Hartmann if we expect the general public to take us seriously.

They inspected his farm and didn’t find the E.coli. Two of the parents said their kids didn’t drink the milk. We’ve seen situations like this time and time again. His is not the first small farm to get set up and raided for nothing. At what point can we say that Big Ag is in cahoots with the government and NOT be labeled as conspiracy theorists and whacko nutjobs?

I think it’s more than likely that Hartmann was specifically chosen precisely because he is an anti-government rebel. He’s an easy target to marginalize.

I must be a whacko nutjob because I want to see irrefutable scientific evidence that the E.coli that was found in those consumers is from his farm before I distance myself from him. If there’s no proof, I want to see retractions all over the place and some compensation paid to Hartmann.

And a question for the knowledgeable: David wrote, "And to explain the fact that the children haven’t consumed the milk, E.coli 0157:H7 can be transmitted among family members." How does the E.coli get transmitted?

samantha stevens
May 29, 2010 7:29 am

i totally agree with sophie about michael hartmann that he was chosen because he ‘s an easy target and the rest of comment i agree with too

Sylvia Gibson
May 29, 2010 8:18 am

"How does the E.coli get transmitted? "

"* The E. coli 0157:H7 bacteria can be found in a some cattle farms, and can live in the gut of healthy animals.
* The bacteria can get onto the meat during slaughter, and then can become mixed into the meat when it is minced (ground).
* Meat which has the E coli germ in it smells and looks normal, so you can’t tell that it is unsafe to eat from the appearance or smell.
* Eating meat, especially minced meat that has not been thoroughly cooked enough to kill E. coli 0157:H7, can make people ill.
* Other foods that can be affected include dry cured (uncooked) sausage (eg salami), alfalfa sprouts, lettuce, unpasteurised milk (the germ can get onto the udders of cows), undercooked beef, and unpasteurised fruit juice.
* People can also get the infection from swimming in water that has been in contact with sewerage.
* The bacteria can also be spread during contact with farm animals, including farm zoos.
* Bacteria from an infected person can be passed from one person to another if hygiene and handwashing is not good enough. This is a risk for young children who are not yet toilet trained (eg in a child care centre).
* Research into prevention methods during slaughter and mincing of meat is being done."

It can be anywhere, I don’t know how long it can live on objects.

Steve Bemis
May 29, 2010 8:48 am

Me too (in reference to the wait-and-see on Hartmann). The EPI does not look real convincing at this point.

Bob "BubbaBozo" Hayles
May 29, 2010 10:30 am

cp…I disagree with some of Hartman’s specific gripes and remedies, but, in general, I’ll take the comparison as a complement.

Bob BubbaBozo Hayles

PS…for those here who visit my blog, JuicyMaters has been extensively re-worked over the last two weeks and navigation should be much easier.

Bill Anderson
May 29, 2010 10:37 am


I suppose I shouldn’t rush to judgement just because of what the media says. I don’t know Michael Hartman. I do know, however, that some people on our side (pro-raw-milk, who also don’t know him) are playing up his "anti-establishment" credentials as a good thing.

I agree that the authorities are overzelous. They are looking for blood, because the dairy industry wants to make sure that they do damage to raw milk.

As far as the milk goes — Not finding the organism in the milk does not mean the milk wasn’t the vector. Lab tests are imperfect.

Of course, even if it was the milk, it was an intermediate vector. What we really need to know is the actual source of the E. Coli., in other words — how did the bad E. Coli get into the milk? If one of the animals is a carrier, we need to understand how that animal got the bad strain of E. Coli in its gut.

Not saying that it was the milk. That has yet to be seen. We just need a reality check.

I personally do not believe that the constitution has anything to do with raw milk, and would never use the constitution as a basis to argue for food soveriegnty. There are much more compelling reasons that local communities need to the right to democratically control our food, agriculture, and economic systems. These reasons are global in scope. They are not exclusive to the U.S., or to people who practice Christianity, etc… there are plenty of food soveriegnty struggles going on throughout the world. Raw milk just happens to be a major struggle we deal with in our locale and climate.

And let’s be honest — We also need to take food safety more seriously. The dairy industry is just waiting and hoping for outbreaks like this so they can get the government to shut down the competition.

My apologies to Michael Hartman. We will see what happens as this case unfolds.

Lisa Jacobson
May 29, 2010 12:36 pm

My hope is that a producer from the Raw Milk dairy community is invited to speak as a panelist at this event. The previous workshops in Iowa and Alabama drew attendance of 450 and 750.

PUBLIC WORKSHOP – DOJ Antitrust Division
Agriculture and Antitrust Enforcement Issues in Our 21st Century Economy

June 25, 2010 – Madison, Wisconsin
Dairy Industry
Specific areas of focus may include concentration, marketplace transparency and market dynamics in the dairy industry.

I wrote to the DOJ:
"Since the pasteurized milk debate is a VERY highly charged & contentious issue right now in Wisconsin, it is my hope that panelists have been carefully chosen by DOJ & USDA to represent all sides of the dairy industry table for a robust discussion with fresh ideas."

"Pasteurization is definitely one of the many issues related to market dynamics, control, anti competition, monopolization, etc."

May 29, 2010 8:39 pm

"Now, its one thing to put the kibosh on my swimming, as Steve Bemis did in nifty fashion with his mouth-watering description of chlorine chemicals (following my previous post). But to suggest that we may be capable of producing our own E.coli 0157:H7? Miguel does as much in his comment on my Friday post. When I summarize it, it sounds like something out of a science fiction movie, but Miguel puts it much more elegantly:

Why is it easy to believe that cattle on the range can be free of e-coli 0157H7 and become infected when changed to a diet that is mostly grain? Where did the e-coli 0157H7 come from?

When common e-coli reproduce by dividing into two new cells , they can produce variations on the original cell or a different strain of e-coli.. This the strength of these microbes. They can adapt very quickly to a changing environment. The strain 0157:H7 is more successful in the acid environment of a grain-fed cow. Or in a grain-fed person.

A few readers were left shaking their heads, but look at it this way: The Centers for Disease Control estimates that 76 million Americans contract a food-borne illness each year, with most of the victims and their pathogens never being identified. Might human-produced E.coli 0157:H7 be the missing link? Does a Nobel Prize lurk here?"

My question to everyone out there is:Why do you insist that the ecoli 0157:H7 had to come from outside the digestive system?It is clear that common ecoli,which we all have inside of us,can and do produce 0157:H7 occasionally when they divide.If we can admit this,then we can see that it is the environment of our gut that needs to be controlled so it is a hostile environment for the 0157:H7.We cannot prevent common ecoli from occasionally producing 0157:H7 but we can make the odds that the 0157:H7 will live to reproduce very small.

Avoiding food poisoning is more a matter of what you are feeding the bacteria in your gut than it is avoiding food with bacteria in it.Feed the commensal bacteria,don’t poison them with bacteriacides or a diet that results in acid conditions that favor the survival of opportunistic bacteria.

lola granola
May 29, 2010 10:12 pm

I don’t mean to change the subject back to Organic Valley, but check out this article. Some good food for thought (pun intended):

"Today, May 28, 2010the same week of the raw milk announcementanother announcement was made concerning a $1 million dollar federal award to the city of LaFarge WI, the headquarters for OV for its business partner (OV) principally. This is to build infrastructure (roads, sewers, utilities) for a project that does not even yet exist around their headquarters in La Farge WI. One of the primary requirements to receive this grant is to cooperate with federal, state and local governments (and Regional partners) and their corporate business partners (OV) in the economic sector (in this case, it means the organic dairy industry)."

Barney Google
May 30, 2010 2:24 am

First of all I do not know this gentleman, but it sounds like this Hartmann understands the law very well. We had a guy like that here in my area many years back. Everybody thought he was a nut, turns out he was right and that what he believed and was fighting for was right. He never got any support from the public. But now I know better.

But everyone will think Hartmann’s a nut, because they don’t know the truth, and instead of researching the truth, would rather call names. MSM is particularly good at this.

This is the kind of guy we should be learning from. Judges and lawyers don’t like pro ses or any lay people who understand the law, because they are a threat.

The only way you’re going to beat the officials is with their own laws. And if you know someone, or are one, who’s not connected to the BAR (British Admiralty Registry, practicing maritime law), you can use the laws and rules against them.

Give this guy a chance. A mighty oak is just a nut that stood its ground.

Janeen Covlin
May 30, 2010 3:39 am

I think miguel’s post about grain-fed cows AND grain-fed people being a welcoming mat for ecoli is right on!

Last week my 11 month old got diarreah really bad, it was bloody and just burning his but off! and even I was starting to doubt what I know (and I’m a WAPF chapter leader with our own Jersey) but I was really doubtfull that if I went to the hospital they wouldn’t just pull out the only tools they have – antibiotics & steroids (the very things that wrecked my health!) and I was more scared to do that! So I got the the best kind of Colloidal Silver you can get (INVIVE1100- a stable kind), a good brand of acidopholus and homemade yogurt, pure aloe vera juice and white oak bark to help the bowl inflamation – less that a day later he was fine!

Whew! – once again I was reassured about what I believe!

What did he have and why did he get it when no one else did? I don’t know! we all eat & drink the same grass-fed milk, meat and eggs. Some times the kids get to eating more starchy carbs than is healthy and I need to be more strict, maybe it’s part of still being a baby with out a strong immune system yet.

What ever it was, I’ve learned not to freak out and give the public health people a reason to jump down "raw milk’s throat" but feed ezyme rich REAL foods and just keep some tried and true good-quality remedies always on hand!

Does any one else have knowlege of colloidal silver and probiotics working in food borne illness situations? I belive it personally("anecdotal evidence" – of course!), but is it consistantly effective enough to be able to tell people?? I think this blog might have people that have had experience with this – please let me know if you do!

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July 9, 2010 11:36 am

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July 9, 2010 12:00 pm

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