What Does "Grudge Enforcement" Look Like? MN's New Campaign Against Hartmann; Upcoming MN Protest; Claravale Back

James Roettger of the MN Dept of AgricultureThe public health community would like us to think that it goes after small dairies and food clubs in the interests of food safety. But in more places, regulatory and enforcement actions are looking like nationally coordinated grudge matches, a settling of old scores.

Certainly the piling on of charges against individuals involved with the Rawesome Food Club has taken on that appearance. Indeed, a prosecutor in Ventura County argued in favor of high bail for James Stewart because he had the audacity to resist previous public health efforts to shut down Rawesome, based on the fact that Rawesome was a private membership-only organization.

Now, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture has re-directed its ongoing rage against raw dairy farmer Michael Hartmann to his wife, Diane Hartmann. The agency earlier this month sent her a "Notice of Administrative Hearing" (HartmannLtr002.pdf), in which it said it was "contemplating legal action against you for selling food without a license and other violations of state statutes including illegal sales of unpasteurized milk and dairy products as well as uninspected meat." It threatened possible "criminal prosecution..."

Diane Hartmann has submitted a written response. Her husband has been as protective as most of would be, wanting to tell them: come and get me all you want, but leave my wife out of this.

Michael Hartmann has been most famously associated with a dozen or more illnesses back in 2010, allegedly by raw milk from his dairy, tainted with E.coli O157:H7. I was one who suggested Hartmann should acknowledge the convincing evidence that his dairy was at fault, and seek to improve his dairy's operations; many of his loyal customers didn't take well to my criticism. Hartmann endured a state-ordered embargo on his farm in 2010, and has moved on.

What's less well known is that Hartmann has been battling the state for well over a decade. About ten years ago, the MDA took him to court for selling uninspected meat without a license. The case went all the way to the Minnesota Supreme Court, with Hartmann arguing that a clause in the state's constitution clearly allows farmers to "peddle" their products and products.

A majority of justices on the Minnesota Supreme Court agreed with Hartmann to a significant degree, ruling he didn't need a license. They said that such products could be subject to regulation, however. The Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund has a good analysis of the case, and a link to the court's opinion.

Given that there haven't been any illnesses alleged against Hartmann since 2010, it seems pretty obvious that this current investigation has more to do with the 2005 Supreme Court ruling than any illnesses.  He is now being harassed apparently because he had the audacity to challenge the MDA in past years, most notably in the 2005 decision.

Interestingly, the recent letter to Mrs. Hartmann was signed by James Roettger, an MDA compliance officer, who achieved notoriety in December 2010 while personally carrying heavy loads of milk from the Hartmann dairy truck, and loading it into his car, which displayed a "Handicapped" placard. I took some heat for criticizing Roettger (nicknamed "Beret Boy" by some here) for misusing a handicapped placard--I was told he was a decorated military veteran who had injured himself jumping out of a plane.

Well, now Roettger, the tough guy soldier, has found a new target to vent his hostility on--the wife of a farmer. In the process, Minnesota retains the distinction of being one of the most aggressively hostile (together with neighbor Wisconsin) against raw dairy and privately available nutrient-dense food . It is putting another farmer, Alvin Schlangen, on trial May 14 for allegedly selling food to members without proper licenses.

One of the notable positives out of all the Minnesota hostilities has been the support provided by hundreds of consumers. Some have organized the Food Freedom Project, as part of the Minnesota Natural Health Legal Reform Project. They feel the latest action against Hartmann "shows a pattern of harassment” says Kathryn Berg of the Minnesota Natural Health Legal Reform Project. “We would like legislators to review the history of state actions against the Hartmann family farm and then ask themselves if this history presents a pattern of harassment. We feel that there is a threat to our food supply, but the threat is the biased, over-zealous state regulators and not the farm that these regulators continue to target.”

The Raw Milk Freedom Riders are planning protest activities in May by organizing a "Rights Workshop" the afternoon of May 13, and then planning to demonstrate in support of Alvin Schlangen beginning on May 14, at his trial in Minneapolis. More info upcoming, but it's not too early to make your plans to be in Minneapolis.


Claravale Farm has been cleared by the California Department of Food and Agriculture to ship raw milk and other products, the Associated Press is reporting.

It had been forced to recall products and shut down because the CDFA found campylobacter in a sample of its cream; its milk had been potentially associated with illnesses from campylobacter.


Thanks to Mike Adams of Natural News for the kind words about me, in picking up on the Ventura County "rampage," as he labeled it. Much appreciated.


Handiest example of what 'grudge enforcement' looks like is the Order slapped on our farm today, March 29 2012 by the Fraser Health Authority. Despite a formal pronouncement in court and a press release, a year ago, that they wouldn't enforce the regulation which prohibits raw milk being distributed for human consumption while our constitutional challenge was pending, they came at us again

Probably because things went sideways for their lawyer, last Tuesday. A preliminary hearing in our court case didn't happen because no judge was available. The trial co-ordinator said, of BC's system : "it's a diaster" While waiting around, I gave Prosecutrix Susan Beach an earfull in the halls of Justice, pointing out she's got a handfull of nothing for evidence, with 3 weeks to go to trial against Michael Schmidt and I, on the contempt charge, for supposedly continuing to package / distribute raw milk for human consumption. Fraser Health knows that all milk & products the Our Cows herdshare ships, since Sept 14, 2010, have been cosmetics, and labelled as such. The federal agency - Health Canada - put on official stationery its legal opinion that cosmetics produced by a herdshare for the private, exclusive use of its members, are not caught by the Food + Drug Act RSC

July of 2008 was when they first came at us. But we shoved back, and we'll do it some more ... jamming them up within their non-sensical regulatory process .... the REAL MILK is flowing here today, Praise God !

joelie hicks's picture

Praise God indeed.
When things seem insumountable, guess who can surmount them. Miracles happen.

joelie hicks's picture

David, is there any way we can share this post? I am hoping I can be in Minneapolis in May. That is only a few hours from here.

David Gumpert's picture

Joelie, at the bottom of the post, there are options for sharing the post via email, Twitter, and Facebook.


joelie hicks's picture

Duh, it was so big, i missed it. Thank you.
I must also say i have had a couple of issues w/the new website, but the webmaster could not have been more helpful. There are some really good features that were missing before.

Sylvia Gibson's picture


"Dr. Elisabeth Hagen, under secretary for food safety at the USDA. Hagen assured the public that the product is safe to eat, but still refused to answer any questions from ABC News after the news conference. ABC News has been asking to speak with Hagen for three weeks, but she has declined to speak, claiming a tight schedule. "

Seems no one wants to answer questions...and they want to "return pink slime to Americas grocery stores" ...surprise surprise.

(Iowa Gov) "Branstad, who received $150,000 in campaign contributions in 2010 from the founders of BPI, organized the governors' tour and press conference, but told ABC News that the contribution played no role in his decision to hold the event. "

If you believe this, there is a bridge you can buy....

"Until recently, the lean finely textured beef, known to critics as "pink slime," was added to America's fast food, school lunches and 70 percent of all ground beef sold at grocery stores. "

I bet most was not aware of this. My son thought the ground beef in the store was just plain ground beef and the slime was in the fast food joints.

"Nancy Donley, president of Safe Tables, an organization dedicated to preventing foodborne illness, lost her 6-year-old son in 1993 from E. coli. Donley warned that doing away with lean finely textured beef will make the meat supply more dangerous. "

As always..follow the money. She lost all credibility supporting pink slime.

"its milk had been potentially associated with illnesses from campylobacter."

Is that like being 'sorta pregnant?'

Sylvia Gibson's picture

I had never heard of Nancy Donley, so I googled her. http://www.kcautv.com/story/17290786/mother-who-lost-son-to-ecoli-fiercl...

This is a person who experienced a tragedy and I believe has tried to inform others to prevent repetition of the tragedy. Unfortunately she is pushing her own agenda on others and has the potential of causing others to have no say in what they want. Now, there are those who would say, "if you don't want pink slime, don't consume it." The same can be said for those who don't want raw milk, don't consume it. So, place the large labels on ALL foods so people can see where they come from,how it's processed, ALL ingredients, and ALL potential side effects.

"she showed her unwavering support for BPI's ammonium hydroxide-treated 'lean, finely textured beef'. "

mark mcafee's picture


When the government says the words "SAFE to EAT"....it does not mean the same thing that all of us think about when we think and say "SAFE to Eat".

They mean: processed to death, antibiotic filled, hormone injected, CAFO raised, irradiated, grain fed mixed with frozen Ammonia and dead....dead = safe.

We mean organic, natural, living and whole.

We must remember the differences as language gets spun arround and abused to defend the guilty as hell.

Sylvia Gibson's picture

Mark, When the gov says anything, I disbelieve them until proven otherwise.

Sylvia Gibson's picture


"A family farm in rural Michigan may be shut down by a Government Entity who has passed a law stating that the breed of hogs they are raising are a threat to neighboring croplands. In truth, the Big Pork Industry has been planning this campaign to take down all family farms with hopes to eventually siege complete control of the American Food Supply. This short-film was created with hopes to inspire the public to take action.

The Baker Family website is www.bakersgreenacres.com and their battle has just begun. Please join in their fight."

Prove big corps aren't in change....It isn't just about raw milk, it is ALL our foods.

Deborah - Pacifica's picture

Yep, Sylvia, that's exactly what I was talking about in my previous post. The reason being used by the state of MI is absolutely ludicrous!! There is nothing feral about other breeds of pigs just because they are a different breed. They need to look up the word feral & re-educate themselves on what that word actually means. Feral is ANY animal living in the wild, doesn't matter if that animal had been domesticated or not, and that have become potentially dangerous, heck there are feral cats, feral dogs, etc! Feral animals have nothing to do with farm animals at all. In fact, if the state of MI is worried about possible feral animals, then they need to look to the CAFO processing facilities because that is where you could possibly, might come across a feral animal.

mark mcafee's picture

I am really risking alot by saying this...but I am going to say it anyway.

Why is it that the Midwest area of the US has the most oppressive food regulations and regulators and the most Monsanto abuse??

Why is it that these conservative Americans gave away their rights so early and so easily???

What is in the midwest water? What caused the conformity and compliance mindset in the midwest. Is it the Bible Belt. If it is the Bible Belt....the Belt came back to beat the believer.

The problem is in the weakness of the American citizen. We allow things to happen to us. We can dollar vote out of anything. We sit on juries....we are the deciders!!

Why are we so darn weak? Look no farther....it is "we the people". If we "all decided" tommorrow to do something in unison, there is not a thing that government or corporations could do about it.

Sleeping Sheeple. Awaken or get what sleeping sheeple get.

the simplistic answer is = because of the drug brand-named "social-ism", which issued from the poisoned fountains of the Baal barns. Those whose minds had been addled by the heresy peddled as 'the social gospel', when they migrated from Europe, were easy pickin's for bureaucrats who followed in the footsteps of the false teachers, obtaining signatures on adhesion contracts for govt. "benefits"

if you're really serious about abandoning the sinking ship of the United soviet-ized States of Hammerica : avoid the rush = revoke your Social Security number. Bear in mind, though, self-government is only for those who can govern themselves

Sylvia Gibson's picture

Mark, I am currently in Little Rock, AR. From seeing the foods in the local grocery stores, and that includes Whole Foods and Fresh market, I can see why there is a weight problem. I have not been able to find any non-homogenized milk at all, (raw cows milk is taboo here) most milk is the high heat pasteurized swill. The produce is mostly potatoes, a few greens, some onions, a few packaged mushrooms. .There is some 'organic', ..the quality of all produce leaves a lot to be desired. There is an awful abundance of processed phoods here. I have NOT seen where healthier let alone healthy eating is promoted.

Back in the 60s my grandmother lived in Okla across from the state line of north west Arkansas, she worked at one of the chicken processing plants in Arkansas. She said for years that she would never eat any of those chickens. May have been tyson, I'm not sure.

David Gumpert's picture

It's interesting that both MN and WI--the two most repressive states on raw dairy--both have liberal heritages. MN was the home of Hubert Humphrey, after all (long-time happy liberal senator who lost presidency to Nixon in 1968). WI in the early and mid 1900s was a bastion of progressive politics. But I suspect that these days the FDA plays all the states like a violin. It uses its ample $$$ to leverage existing policy and get enforcers in these places to tighten the screws according to FDA wishes. So in CA that may involve going after herdshares, in MN going after permitted farmers, and in WI in totally eradicating raw milk. This is a national program, so the variations from state to state are only variations on a theme.


Mary McGonigle-Martin's picture

Better Safe Than Sorry: A focus on Food

Mary McGonigle-Martin's picture

I forgot to mention there is a Martin and a McAfee in the story. LOL

Janeen's picture

Can't get away from the feeling that things were somehow safer when one farmer only fed 12 people instead of 155..."progress" has had it's consequences that's for sure. Can't wait to get my green house producing all my food instead of ANY from California (sorry! :) )

Janeen's picture

did I mention...diverse-specied, manure-composted, mulched, high-brix, organic greenhouse!

Of course changing the production model isn't an option for improving flavour (that wouldn't make food cheap anymore!)...nooo...we must find the "GENES"!!

one more textbook example of double-speak : in every venue, the nation is being propagandized to accept that "diversity is our strength" ... while mono-culture overspreads the land.

Sylvia Gibson's picture

If they were trying to "improve the quality of food" they would eliminate factory farming, cafos, etc...

mark mcafee's picture

It is tragic to see tax dollars being spent at WIFSS at UC Davis. It is a classic example of big money science trying to chase nature. When the university can trump mother nature that will be the day that human life on earth is dead....and bacteria eat the meat off our extinct stupid bones. I know all about Mike Payne at WIFSS. His boss is Rob Atwill. This is the government UC extension that is designated to hate raw milk and be the raw milk experts and the official word on how bad raw milk is. I have seen Dr. Mike Payne in action. He is the guy that is sent to do the dirty work for CDFA when they need an expert to testify against raw milk.

Food Inc revolving doors are very much swinging round and round these days.

As far as STOP is concerned....they are one mixed up group of emotionally upset moms. They think that sterilized food and irradiation is the way forward. They think that the human body is sterile. They think that all bacteria are horrible. How do I know this? I spoke with their Masters degreed science expert and she became irate when I suggested that STOP look into the science of the human immune system and the cold hard fact that bacteria play a huge part in our health. She went nuts and hung up on me. I was being as nice as pie....If I had been sweeter my teeth would have cracked.

STOP is the crazed antichrist of real food and human immunity. It is horrifically sad that these are the moms that have lost children from CAFO induced anti-biotic resistant pathogens that are found in our Standard American Diet. STOP is taking the family down with them as they advocate for life in a "bubble of sterility" and the autism rates skyrocket. More like...."Buddle of Trouble".

Sick world.....I am saddened that our congress does not hold real hearings to get to the bottom of this. Someday this will happen. The video provided above is a real eye opener. Testing every few feet in an open lettuce field for ecoli is crazy....discarding an entire field when a pathogen is found...sheer madness.

I found what Rob Atwill said to be utterly disingenous. We all know exactly where anti-biotic resistant pathogens come from...they come from where anti-biotics are abused. CAFOS and hospitals.

Oh... I forgot....CAFO's and GOT MILK? money fund WIFFS at UC Davis. Dead serious.

Food Inc is a truth. Wake Up America. Dollar vote immediately and safe your life.

Forgive me David for posting about this but I wanted to give this group a chance to step up to the plate and support what they all talk about so often. Walter Jeffries, of NoNais.org, is starting his own slaughter house/butcher shop and has launched a Kickstarter project to finish the funding. I'd ask you all to at least visit the project - http://kck.st/Hv4gjx - and hopefully decide to be a backer. If nothing else you might want to consider any backing to be in solidarity with the Michigan swine farmers.

David Gumpert's picture

No problem, Sharon. Walter Jeffries' project is an excellent reminder of the food rights' movement's ace in the hole: economic development. Remember, the FDA and its state lackeys are fighting us at the behest of Big Ag, which fears most the loss of market share to the Walter Jeffries of the world. What's especially scary to them is that his approach is not only sustainable agriculturally and environmentally, but economically. Each Walter Jeffries serves as an inspiration to other farmers to go private, go direct, and ditch the commodity factory system. Thar's gold in them thar fields, and the FDA/USDA want to intimidate farmers from seeing the glint. If Jeffries can make Kickstarter work, it could be an excellent model for other like-minded farmers.


Deborah - Pacifica's picture

Wow, what a great story, thanks for sharing this SharonZ. Why can't this be done in other states!? Why is it that other states refuse to allow this!? This project would be a great example for others to follow & it would increase the availability of better, much higher quality, safer nutrient food. I would love to see that here in California!

Ora Moose's picture

Thanks for bringing that to our attention Sharon, just donated. It's websites like this one and communities like ours that make this possible, and it makes the world a better place. I'm proud to help these kinds of efforts vs. throwing my money away on poisoning the world.

mark mcafee's picture

Breaking News....
The FDA has declared RAW Milk an effective treatment for asthma and has adopted standards used in CA for use nationally for production of raw milk under the PMO.

John Sheehan ( FDA dairy food safety Tsar )resigned....and Bill Marler joined RAWMI after donating $1 million dollars for raw milk medical benefit and food safety research.

Happy April 1st.

Deborah - Pacifica's picture

Oh Mark, wouldn't that just be wonderful is that could happen?!! Maybe some day, maybe after we make our voices heard loud & clear enough!! Happy April 1st to you, too!

Ora Moose's picture

More amazing still, this blog changes it's name to the Incomplete Impatient, and people posting here stop spreading innuendos about safety of the one food in particular that they have a vendetta against. Fecal material according to a recent study, turns out to be a great inoculator and people start everywhere taking cow poop pills as a supplement. Consumers everywhere flock to buy CAFO products because after all, they ARE full of shiet. A new cult is formed claiming that all food is extremely dangerous and promoting fasting as the ultimate diet for the future. Hope your sense of humor hasn't been dulled by today's inevitable exposure to the absurd, and have a nice 4/1, what's left of it.

Ken Conrad's picture


I think your cow poop pills are a great idea and aught to be marketed as a premium probiotic. Better that then the current trend towards genetically modified probiotics marketed by the biotech industry.



Many of the probiotic supplements produced today are as well grown on high fructose corn syrup and soybean-based culture mediums from corn and soybeans that are in all likelihood genetically modified.

Purposefully incorporating genetically altered organisms with the naturally occurring organisms in our gut is unwise. Unfortunately as a result of crony politics, self-serving regulation and a gross disrespect for human and animal rights it is becoming increasingly difficult for us to avoid such insidious substances.

To paraphrase Joan Gussow, “I trust cows and their natural products more then biochemists and their unnatural concoctions”.

Ken Conrad

Sylvia Gibson's picture

Where is the labeling for this? It's misrepresentation at its fullest! Where can we get true "natural/organic" probiotics?