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Minnesota raw milk case highlights deep national divide between raw milk and free choice advocates

Posted: September 20, 2012 |   Comments

MINNEAPOLIS - A Minnesota man accused of violating the state's raw milk laws was just the middle man in a voluntary arrangement of people sharing food, his attorney argued Wednesday.

Alvin Schlangen, an organic egg producer from Freeport, is charged with three misdemeanor counts including distributing unpasteurized milk, operating without a food handler's license and handling adulterated food. Minnesota law prohibits raw milk sales except directly to consumers on the farm when it's produced.

A Hennepin County jury began deliberating the case Wednesday. After almost an hour and a half, jurors recessed for the day and were scheduled to resume deliberations in the morning.

The case highlights a deep national divide between raw milk and free choice advocates - who contend it provides important health benefits to their families, such as relief from allergies and prevention of various illnesses - and officials who say unpasteurized milk can carry dangerous pathogens that cause serious and sometimes fatal diseases, such as E. coli, salmonella and listeria.

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