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Raw Milk Farmer Convicted

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GAYLORD, Minn. -

A raw milk producer in southern Minnesota pleads guilty to unlawful sales that may have resulted in 12 E. coli cases in the Twin Cities back in 2010.
Michael Hartmann of rural Gibbon, seen here at a civil trial back in 2011, originally faced 9 counts involved with sales of raw milk and raw milk products.

A plea deal led to most of those being dropped, with just the selling of unpasteurized milk and food handler license violation charges drawing convictions.
Assistant Sibley County Attorney Don Lannoye says, "We felt it was in the public interest to insure Mr. Hartmann was in compliance with the state regulations because we felt that would be the best way to insure that consumers were being protected."

Hartmann must pay a $585 fine and renew his food handler's license within 60 days.
Prosecutors also dropped charges against Hartmann's wife, brother and business partner in exchange for the plea deal.

However, raw milk has a lot of followers, and Hartmann a lot of supporters.

He can still sell raw milk from his property, per a protection in the Minnesota state Constitution, but if he starts acting like a wholesaler, as is the case here...

Lannoye says, "The powers that be have determined that if you're going to sell your product in the commercial market place, it needs to be subject to regulation so everybody can be ensured that it's safe."