Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Schmidt tangles with health unit – again

York Region Health Unit is apparently ready to re-ignite the raw-milk issue with dairy farmer Michael Schmidt.

The health unit’s inspectors tried to seize a van full of milk Schmidt was delivering to members of his “collective” farm in Maple, north of Toronto.

Schmidt objected and they then came with a search warrant, but instead of seizing all the milk, they took a few samples.

Schmidt told CBC News that “we are definitely prepared to not back down.”

In 2011 he faced 13 charges under the Ontario Health Protection and Promotion Act and the Milk Act, was convicted and fined $9,150.

He appealed up through the court system until August when the Supreme Court of Canada refused to hear his appeal of his conviction.

The health units are concerned that unpasteurized milk contains bacteria that could sicken people.

Schmidt says there is no proof that anybody has been sickened as a result of consuming milk from the cows at the “collective” farm he operates.

He set up the “collective” so bout 120 people taking delivery of milk “own” the cows that produce the milk.

If they were to buy milk from cows owned by Schmidt, there would be an issue with the supply-management system that requires farmers to hold quota under the Dairy Farmers of Ontario milk marketing board.

Schmidt told CKNX News in Wingham that surveillance cameras have been set up near his farm and he wonders whether there is a connection between that and the events at Maple this week.

He said so far no charges have been laid and he wonders who might be charged, given that there are 120 members involved in the dairy operation.