Raw milk crusaders face court date for contempt

Cow-share group hopes legal fight leads to legalization and 'food freedom'

Ontario raw milk crusader Michael Schmidt faces a contempt of court hearing for the actions of a Lower Mainland cow-share operation.

Operators of a dairy co-op in Chilliwack accused of continuing to illegally supply unpasteurized raw milk to Lower Mainland residents face a contempt of court hearing Dec. 6.

Michael Schmidt, an Ontario raw milk crusader, and Gordon Watson, a Burnaby resident and partner in the Our Cows cow-share operation, are to appear in B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster.

Fraser Health alleges an inspection in August shows they kept distributing raw milk in contravention of a March, 2010 injunction banning anyone at the dairy from packaging or distributing raw milk or related products for human consumption.

Health officials maintain drinking raw milk is a serious public health risk because it is often contaminated with bacteria.

The cow share had sought to skirt the B.C. law that bans the selling of raw milk but allows farmers to drink it by arguing its members consume their own cows’ milk.

They have also tried labeling milk “not for human consumption” and recently claimed to be distributing cosmetics, not food.

Schmidt and Watson hope their court fight ends in the legalization of raw milk sales here.

Schmidt is also being prosecuted for raw milk sales in Ontario, where the top court rejected his arguments.

Supporters who claim raw milk has health benefits staged a rally for “food freedom” Nov. 23 in Vancouver.