By Esme Murphy

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO/AP) — The trial of a farmer accused of selling raw milk, which was supposed to get underway Monday morning in Hennepin County, has been postponed one week.

Advocates of raw milk rallied outside the Hennepin County courthouse to support Alvin Schlangen, who was charged with food code violations for distributing unpasteurized milk.

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Schlangen, of Freeport, doesn’t produce raw milk himself, but buys the milk from Amish farmers and distributes it to 130 consumers, members of a private club in the Twin Cities.

Schlangen’s customers including Faith Whelan, a mother of three from Woodbury who says raw milk is better for you.

“I support food freedom and I support the right of all of us to make our own decisions as to what we put in our bodies,” she said.

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Minnesota allows sales of raw milk to consumers only on farms where it’s produced. Schlangen says he’s done nothing illegal because members of his private food club lease the cows.

“We are taking nature out of our food production as a rule and what we are doing is putting it back,” said Schlangen.

Among the demonstrators at the courthouse Monday was Lynn Maderich, of St. Paul, who says pasteurization destroys the nutritional benefits of raw milk. But public health officials warn that raw milk can harbor dangerous bacteria, including E. coli, salmonella and listeria.

Schlangen is facing four misdemeanor counts. His trial will begin next Monday in Hennepin County.

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Esme Murphy