Alvin Schlangen, a Minnesota farmer who was charged with five criminal misdemeanors relating to the handling and distribution of food, was found guilty on August 15th of all five counts. This is Schlangen’s second jury trial relating to violations of the state’s food and dairy code; he was previously charged and acquitted of three similar charges in a neighboring county in September 2012.
Schlangen’s second trial ended with the jury finding him guilty of five charges: operating without a food handlers’ license; storing eggs at temperatures above the mandated 45 degrees; distributing adulterated or misbranded food; violating a food embargo; selling custom processed meat. The charges carried penalties of up to 15 months in jail and $5,000 in fines, but the prosecution chose to sentence him only on the first count. Schlangen was ordered to pay $1,000 in fines ($700 of which is suspended) and given a 90-day jail term (also suspended with one year probation). If Schlangen violates his sentence, he will be sent to jail and forced to pay the balance of $700 in fines.
Schlangen runs a private buying club, Freedom Farms Co-op, which provides its members with farm-fresh products including organic eggs and raw milk. Interestingly, just before the trial the prosecution decided to remove the specific charge of selling/distributing raw milk from the criminal complaint.
Raw milk advocates aren’t sure whether to view this trial’s outcome as a qualified loss or a measured victory. “Did we win? Is it a loss? I don’t know, you tell me,” says Nathan Hansen, Schlangen’s attorney.
Read more about the trial and its outcome here:
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