MINNETONKA, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota agricultural officials confiscated hundreds of gallons of milk delivered to a house in the latest development of their crackdown on unpasteurized milk.

Investigators on Tuesday confiscated about 400 gallons of milk that Roger Hartmann was delivering to a house in Minnetonka, where customers were waiting to pick up their orders, according to search warrant documents cited by Minnesota Public Radio.

The state has tried repeatedly to stop Hartmann and his brother Michael from selling unpasteurized milk. Agriculture officials towed the brothers’ truck to a state building.

The search warrant said officials received an anonymous tip last month that the home had served as a raw milk drop site in the past.

Department officials declined to comment on the milk seizure.

Michael Hartmann said he has a constitutional right to sell dairy products.

“There was 30 to 40 of our consumers up there, protesting,” Hartmann said. “They didn’t have a warrant at all; they just stopped us. And they had no right to do that. And it’s just totally violating all the rules of law.”

In the search warrant document, state officials say they requested the warrant after observing Roger Hartmann unloading the milk, and the warrant was delivered electronically to several locations including the Minnetonka address.

State health officials have blamed the Hartmann Dairy Farm in Sibley County for illnesses associated with an E. coli outbreak earlier this year that sickened several people. State inspectors reported problems including rodent droppings and possible manure contamination in the milking facilities.

Michael Hartmann has said his farm is just as sanitary as other dairy farms.

In their search warrant documents, state officials say they have reason to believe the Hartmanns are selling “an adulterated substance with the intent to cause death, bodily harm or illness” because they know some people have become sickened by drinking raw milk.

Michael Hartmann insisted his products have not sickened anyone.

State officials have said anyone selling adulterated food could face felony charges and fines, but haven’t said whether they intend to pursue criminal charges. They embargoed Hartmann food products this summer, but Hartmann contends the embargo applies only to food products found on the farm when it was inspected in May and June. The two sides argued the issue in court, but a judge hasn’t ruled yet.

(© Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Comments (53)
  1. John says:

    Where I grew up almost everyone I knew got their milk direct from Farmers. I never knew anyone who got sick from unpasteurized milk. I have know several people who have gotten sick from store bought milk though

    1. Zee says:

      I grew up on a dairy farm and we always went straight out to the tank and got fresh milk. Never got sick once. I figure that’s how I grew to 5’11” have great teeth :o)

  2. CommonSenseRambler says:

    This is a case of government gone mad. The MN DOA has a personal vendetta against these guys ever since they took them on in 2005 all the way to the supreme court and these farmers won the case that asserted their constitutional right to sell their milk directly to the public without a state peddlers license.

    They just can’t get over this and have gone against that supreme court ruling for th last 5 years, looking for every opportunity to shut these guys down. Several surprise inspections, more than 300 tests run on their products and they have never found any contaminants in their food.

    These regulators must be fired

  3. Jim says:

    My aunt had ongoing health issues for her entire life resulting from her drinking raw milk from her own dairy farm

    1. John says:


      Does everyone in her family have the same health issues as her?

    2. seth says:

      Yes, it is difficult to understand the truth with our Fear Based Media who refuse to review both sides of a story and print the Truth. To date the Dept. of Ag did not come back with any positive results for e.coli. Wow, what a wives tale the Star and Tribune came up with this summer….let’s feed the frenzy, shall we?

      1. seth says:

        They’ve matched the strains that made the people ill to the Hartmann’s. Oh, well.

  4. Zachary DeBoer says:

    I grew up drinking raw milk… I am quite healthy. I don’t want to drink it now but I think that I should have the right to if I wanted to. I mean, you can drink alcohol and smoke poison filled cigarettes so why are we stopping people from drinking a product that effects nobody but themselves? This liberal “nanny state” is out of control and now it just got worse with a new liberal Governor Dayton so hold on to your rights as hard as you can people or more will be taken away before you even notice!

    1. annmartina says:

      Just like it’s illegal to give alcohol or tobacco to a child, a concern is protecting children from things like listeria from raw milk.

      1. Sally says:

        Oh for gosh sakes, get a grip on the statistics. Do you put a helmet on your child when you buckle them into their car seat? Why not? Protect the children!

      2. Martin Ann says:

        The statistics are low because not many people drink this type of stuff..

  5. Jeff says:

    When I was a kid in the 1960s, the eldery doctor next door wore metal leg braces and used crutches to walk as the reuslt of a childhood sickness caused by drink raw milk. There are good medical reasons to Pasturise

  6. Mn Okay says:

    It may be a small risk, but why is it worth it?

    Some information from the UofM College of Veterinary Medicine:

    Between 1993 and 2006, researchers identified 69 U.S. outbreaks suspected or proven to be associated with raw milk, resulting in 1,505 reported illnesses, 185 hospitalizations and two deaths. Between 2000 and 2010, five outbreaks were reported in Minnesota.

    1. rebeccakarlendalmas says:

      You are using information presented by a system, the very system that wants to destroy healthy food and support incredible burdens via health care costs and health insurance. Until you actually go and look a the specific data and example used to make accusations against a product you have no standing.

  7. Deb says:

    We, as consumers, have the right to choose and eat what we feel is the best for our own good health. That is all we are asking to do. Support our choice to do so!

    1. Shigella says:

      And your choice to burden our hospitals?

  8. djrother says:

    How is this any different than getting organic food from a farmers market? I loved drinking raw milk at my grandma’s farm. I would run down to the bulk tank with a pitcher before dinner. It’s all the preservatives and added junk in “processed” foods that has America as one of the fattest countries. Well, that and general lazyness.

  9. marasou says:

    Folks this is pretty simple: IT IS NOT ILLEGAL TO DRINK RAW MILK — or to give it to children. Let’s not be confused about this issue. This agency, the Dept of Ag, has an opinion but they do not make law.

    Also did you know that the agency representatives arrived at the house in Mtka — with the help of the Mtka Police — and placed a blockade so the Milk Man could not leave, BEFORE A WARRANT WAS ISSUED! That doesn’t sound legal to me!

    1. Bob says:

      His farm had been linked to over a dozen illnesses. This isn’t about his raw milk. This is about his bacteria.

  10. Christine says:

    This story makes it sound like the Hartmanns are doing something illegal, which they are not. Yes, the house was a dropsite – and that’s not illegal! Yes, the milk is unpasturized – also legal!

    Raw milk is not without risk, but neither is anything anyone does or buys. What if the peanut butter or peppers at the store are contaminated again? What if you have a car accident? What about obvious harmful things like tobacco? The point is that people still have the freedom to do/buy/sell things that contain risk. The USDA has arbitrarily decided that raw milk is a risk that we customers are not allowed to take. Unfortunately for them, the law is on the side of the Hartmanns and their customers. It is unconstitutional for the USDA to continue to deny both parties their right to buy/sell.

    1. Reality says:

      Their milk was embargoed because their farm had been linked to many illnesses. So.. it was illegal.

  11. Becca says:

    Considering the “risk” that’s involved in eating ALL foods in our present age (ie. spinach, eggs, meat, etc.), how is it that the MN DOA has targeted a worldwide practice that is thousands of years old to be deemed as “dangerous?” I’d imagine that those who have chosen to go out of their way to pick up milk from the Hartmann’s rather than the convenience of a store nearby, have done their research to know the health benefits of this product.

    Also, who deemed the Dept of Ag to be more of an expert that any other citizen with common sense and researching capabilities? I want to choose what I eat, not a tax-payers funded department that “thinks” they know what I should eat.

    1. Umm. says:

      Hmm.. maybe it was all the people that ended up in the hospital as a result of the Hartmanns.

  12. Cheryl says:

    This is a case of the government harassing a farmer whose just delivering what his customer’s want. Everyone should have the choice of what type of food they feed their family. Remember the egg recall a few months ago? They recalled over a half billion of “pasteurized” eggs and the government didn’t shut any of those placed down. Oh wait, that’s big business for them. They’re just interested in harassing the small people.

    1. Cheryl says:

      Oh, wait.. the eggs weren’t pasteurized. Guess that was a mistake.

  13. David Shoemaker says:

    It is a human right to have safe food. Conventional milk is adulterated with pesticides, herbicides, chemical fertilizers, antibiotics, bovine groth hormone and who knows what else. Then they cook the heck out of it to kill any last remaining good in it . This is what the state in all its special interest wisdom calls good unadulterated milk. Its insanity!!!!!

  14. Jim Jones says:

    Sometimes the government has to protect idiots from themselves. You have the right to drink what you want, just like they did in Jonestown. They even had enough Kool Aid for the children.

    1. John says:

      Jim Jones

      Maybe we should let the governnment choose each of your meals for you each night. Go ahead and smoke a carton of Cigs and Drink a bottle of booze to wash it all down. The Government must believe that those are safe because they are legal. Oh ya they are both the largest contributors to them !!!!

    2. Becca says:

      Jim Jones – “government has to protect idiots from themselves.”

      So are you calling yourself an idiot? Do you believe that you yourself are incapable of deciding what is good or bad to eat for yourself?


      Are you saying that everyone else is an idiot and you are the exception to the rule and believe yourself to be correct in all of your food decisions?

      Just a couple of honest questions.

  15. Jim Jones says:

    The government puts warning labels on things that are legal for adults. Don’t feed any lead paint chips to the kids with dinner even though the lead paint is banned, you still want to protect your right to eat lead paint chips!

  16. Craig Larson says:

    The state investigators are violating MN constitutional law, which guarantees the rights of consumers to purchase from farmers.
    Also, in an ongoing suit against the Hartmann farm, the state tested confiscated milk 266 separate times and were not able to find ANY disease bacteria. I have personally consumed Hartmann milk for 2 years with no problems.
    For anyone interested in learning more about the health benefits of raw milk and the science behind it, feel free to attend the 3rd annual international raw milk symposium held at Macalaster college in St. Paul on January 28-30th, 2011. see http://www.consumerfreechoice.com for more information.

  17. Outraged says:

    At this rate, the government will soon outlaw breastmilk. There are many benefits to raw milk, and isn’t it our right to choose if we want to drink it or not? What about the week old leftovers in my fridge – is that against the law too?

    1. YorTeech says:

      Breastmilk = good. Cow poop = bad.

    2. John says:

      I hope not – It comes in such cute containers

  18. Debbie says:

    God/Nature intended for us to drink RAW milk. It’s got to more risky to get in a car every day than drink raw milk, but I don’t see anyone trying to convince people to not drive. (That wouldn’t be “good” for the economy!)

  19. Carol says:

    Why are these poor farmers being harrassed while the Iowa farm that sickened thousands was not shut down one day?????

    1. Carol says:

      Oh, wait. It was shut down for many days. Guess that was a mistake then..

  20. djrother says:

    Jim Jones,

    Are you talking about The Jonestown Massacre? Is the the Kool-aid?

  21. Christine says:

    I’m sure “Jim Jones” knows his comparison of raw milk and poison is just ridiculous.

    Really every American should be outraged by this whether he has an interest in raw milk or not. The USDA is interfering with a farmer and citizens performing a LEGAL activity. What if the news line were “this is the latest in an investigation and crackdown on chewing tobacco”? Or “crackdown on walking dogs at night” or “crackdown on taking children to amusement parks”? Of course that’s dumb because those are legal activities. We all need to be concerned when legal rights are messed with by government officials.

  22. Consumer says:

    Why is this farmer being harassed, Farmers can bring their wares to a farmers market without being confiscated. This farmer works hard for their products and to have them stolen and shutdown the farm for so many months is downright mean and definitely illegal. If they have taken all the tests (surprise testing times) and never has anything harmful been found how is this government official still able to harassing them.

    I want to have a choice in what I purchase and not be limited to what I can grow or buy from a grocery store. Please give me that right back.

  23. Elisabeth says:

    Even my children understand that their body belongs to them, and they can put it it what they see fit (under their parents’ guidance). Since when is it the government’s job or RIGHT to tell me how and what to eat. Maybe we should be looking at our water. Has anyone considered what chemical levels are deemed “safe” to be in our water. Who needs a pharmacy when there’s the local water supply.

  24. Lactose Intolerant says:

    I began drinking raw milk in Germany, where it it just as legal as in Minnesota! The farms simply labeled the milk as raw. Customers could purchase as much as they wanted, and many cities now have coin-operated automat dispensers. For the first time in 40 years, I was able to drink milk, without the usual problems lactose-intolerant people like me face. The big industrial dairies don’t want people to get a taste for unprocessed milk, because only smaller farms can effectively produce it. Big dairies are full of diseases, and antibiotics, and the animals produce inferior milk that must be pasteurized. Louis Pasteur invented his process for wine, not for milk.

  25. Richard Hegg says:

    This farm was closed down this summer for selling contaminated milk and food products. I have not heard if they have gotten an ok to sell anything. They have to be recertified to sell.

  26. Friend of the Farmers says:

    I know the Hartmans and several other small Minnesota farmer that use Sustainalble/ Organiic/ Free-Ranging/ Grass-Fed farming practices. They love their land and their animals, and they stirve to produce the best, most nutritioius, and safe product possible. I have used their products for over 10 years and have NOT EVER had a problem or complaint. Nor do I have any first hand knowledge of anyone else who has.

  27. Susan says:

    There are several references to Hartmanns causing illness–The “problems and sicknesses” spoken of are MEDIA REPORTS–every been buffalo’d by the media before?? In detailing the Dept of Ag’s position and allegations of e-coli contamination, I hope you get the position of the Hartmanns. There is a court case pending to determine if the Dept of Ag’s allegations were factual. If you review the court records for the case, you will find tests of their milk and derived products have NOT found ANY e-coli. (yes, clean of E-coli). The samples that the Dept of Ag is using to support their ‘allegations’ were found in the feces of their cattle, which is not a revelation since E-coli occurs naturally in feces of cattle, pigs, dogs, cats, you and me…. The Ag falsely accused Hartmann of producing contaminated or adulterated milk, and after conducting 266 tests of multiple dairy products, failed to establish by any test result, any adulterated content in any fresh, unprocessed milk. They failed to produce any evidence that meets the necessary causational link between production and any human illness. This is a fact which no media outlet has fairly reported.
    They say Hartmanns fresh milk is “adulterated”….what about agricultural products that are contaminated with herbicides, pesticides, GMO grains, Round up and other toxins, antibiotics and rBGH—are those called “adulterated”?

  28. Guest says:

    Sorry, but E. Coli O157:H7 does NOT occur naturally in your feces or mine. If it did, we’d both be having some serious problems with our red blood cells.

    I fully support people’s right to sell food. I don’t think it is their God-given right to sell pathogenic bacteria. If you raw milkers took half the time you spend on making wild conspiracy accusations and unscientific health claims and spent it instead on keeping the poop bacteria out of your milk, you might not find yourselves in court.

  29. Jim Jones says:


    You want to compare this to a legal activity like walking your dog at night or taking children to an amusement park? Then let’s do that:
    To legally walk your dog at night, you’d probably have to walk the dog on the sidewalk with the streetlights. The government provided these things for your safety along with the requirement that your dog have a rabies shot. These requirements reduce risk in an effort to keep people safe. The government also requires the amusement park to have safe rides. They don’t allow you to put your child on a ride that has height requirements showing only taller children can ride safely. Christine can take her children to the amusement park to enjoy rides that the government deemed safe and she can also buy her children milk there that has been pasteurized because the government has required it for public safety.

    Why not walk your dog safely on the sidewalk instead of in the middle of the street? Why not follow the amusement park rules of height restrictions for safely enjoying the rides instead of ignoring the rules and falling off the ride? Why not drink pasteurized milk with less risk instead of raw milk with increased risk of bacteria and chance of contamination?

    People want to compare drinking raw milk to your right to smoke and drink alcohol? Let’s do that too:
    Let’s put warning labels on the raw milk so people know there is an increased risk when consuming it. You have to be 18 to drink it knowing that it may harmful to you otherwise we’d call it child abuse.

    Some people have to be protected from themselves I guess. I’ll let the government do that because I can’t help it if Christine wants to give her child chewing tobacco or poison milk.

    1. You Can Stop Digging Now says:

      Jim, you’re digging yourself a big hole here. We’re talking about a pure natural product called milk. It IS labeled and every single customer whom buys it has entered into a deliberate voluntary contract with this farmer to accept all the risks associated with it. You act as though we just stumbled accross it in the dairy isle and inadvertantly picked some up not knowing anything about it. Anyone who can prove a sickness from contamination has retained all their rights under the law to bring a lawsuit upon this supplier, which holds him accountable. The state can even act on behalf of the injured in the lawsuit, happens everyday. It hasn’t happened here, however, because there has been no such injury or even a claim of injury.

      It’s simply about freedom of choice, you have the choice not to drink it and no one is forcing you to drink it. You also will never ever be harmed in any way by anyone who would choose to drink it. What is your real vested interest in trying to remove that freedom of choice? The government can regulate all it wants to. Their role is not to protect individuals, their role is to prevent one individual from harming another. That’s called liberty. They are not there to protect us from ourselves. We have the freedom to be as self-destructive as we choose to be. Let us destroy our bodies with this dangerous poison and we’ll let you nourish your body with those god-given foods like twinkies and potato chips. We’ll see who lives longer and consumes less health care costs. Eat up and enjoy

      1. Guest says:

        15 ill and linked to his farm.

        Those who drink raw milk have a greater likelihood of contracting a sickness which can effect them their whole lives. That’s just a fact.

  30. Gym says:

    I haven’t heard of 15 ill linked to twinkies and chips before though. Maybe if the Twinkies were raw I guess? Raw chips are called potatoes.

    1. djrother says:

      We shoudl stick with Olive Juice.

  31. Jackie Marvel says:

    I have seen Mike Hartmann’s farm firsthand. It is an unbelievable, filthy mess and always has been. It is truly unsanitary. He has made people sick in the past, did nothing to clean up his farm, made more people sick, and continues to unashamedly sell contaminated product that could LITERALLY kill young children. He also thinks that the US has been under martial law since 1860. I personally don’t care if people want to drink raw milk – my dad grew up on a dairy farm and drank it all of the time. I just don’t think using Mike Hartmann as the poster boy for the “Right to Raw Milk” campaign is a good idea. He is most likely mentally ill and refuses to clean up his act. In this case, the Dept of Ag is most definitely acting in the best interests of the public. If you don’t believe me, go look at his farm. You will be shocked.

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