Tuesday September 28, 2010

Local News

Elixir Or Toxin?

Crying over raw spilled milk 75 gallons a day of it

Staff/Voice photos


Michael Schmidt (L) and Alice Jongerden from Home on the Range Dairy hoist a glass of milk to toast FHA in front of the office on Menholm Ave. Tuesday.

ot milk? Ontario milk activist Michael Schmidt does. He's got 75-gallons of pure unpasteurized milk a day to deal that he's prepared to pour it down Fraser Health's throat after picking up the fight to consume raw milk where Home on the Range ajister, Alice Jongerden, left off.

Milk can breed salmonella, E, Coli and listeria. People who produce milk privately are allowed to consume their own products but Canadian law doesn't allow sales of raw unpasteurized milk. On the other hand, advocates of the $15/bottle raw milk say it has good bacteria, minerals and enzymes that are destroyed by their germ-killing treatments in pasteurized milk.

In late December 2009, Fraser Health slapped a Cease and Desist order on operations at Home on the Range dairy farm cooperative located on Prairie Central after testing revealed fecal contaminants in the milk. The BC Centre for Disease Control also issued health warnings for people not to consume dairy products from the 20-cow farm.

Jongerden, who managed the operation, that also boasts of a 450 membership base, said she was asked to resign her position after her last court date and the co-op hired Schmidt and assistant John Schnurr, to help fight the order in BC Supreme Court October 14 in Vancouver.

"I'm no longer taking care of the cows, they brought Michael in and he's the better man to do it," said Jongerden.

Although Jongerden has not been to jail, she doesn't rule out that possibility with contempt of court charges that were laid on her for distributing milk after the injunction was in place on the farm. She said they complied with orders to properly label the milk "not for human consumption" but the it states they are "to cease production and packaging of raw milk period."

"They have not threatened me with jail," she said. "But when I went to the contempt hearing, they said although jail was not usually the fine, however it is a possibility."

It's been a lot of time and effort on Jongerden's part in making the dairy productive.

"You sit there and look back for three-years and you think of all the work that's been put in and somebody else is doing it now, but I'm a fighter and I'll find something else."

At home in Ontario, Schmidt faced orders similar to the one laid against Jongerden for distributing unpasteurized milk and he won an acquittal. He says because the issue effects all Canadians, the precedent has already been set by his case and that the cease and desist order should be withdrawn.

Schmidt said there has been no due process because Fraser Health has side-stepped the required legalities using dictatorial methods to railroad Home On The Range out of business and "the last three-years of Alice's lifework has been destroyed."

"We want to declare that pasteurized milk is a health hazard for people," said Schmidt. "If the courts of Canada take the position that raw milk is healthy then FHA should not have the right to interfere in that."

"I was properly charged in Ontario with exactly the same charges, it went through the proper legal process and I had the chance in front of the court to defend myself and after three-years I was found not guilty because I was working within the legal framework in Ontario and Alice was not properly charged because the FHA used a very very disturbing procedure through a court order and basically had no chance to defend herself and no chance to argue her case in front of a proper judge."

He called the system a "Beaucracy of Dictatorship" adding that Canada has 250,000 regulations in place now.

Schmidt said Jongerden followed the order and that the judge overstepped his boundaries when declaring that she was actually selling the milk.

Jon Los tries the milk later saying it was "great."

The farm doesn't have excess milk so it doesn't sit around long before its either bottled or turned into another dairy product such as cheese and yogurt that the membership shares.

"We have a program for excess milk," she told the Voice. "So the members get their milk and if there is extra, instead of wasting it, they process it into something and then they just pay us a processing fee and every time they (FHA) stop us, it just goes down the drain."

In order to sell to big dairy, they have to meet a certain quota for output and the farm doesn't measure up.

Schnurr's business card says he is President of Upper U.S. Holdings in Warton, Ontario, said that he was there to help Schmidt and that he drinks raw milk daily, swearing by it's health benefits.

"I have cardio pulmonary disorder and raw milk helps me breathe otherwise I can't breathe," said Schnurr.

Until court, Home on the Range will be crying daily over spilled milk. all 75-gallons of it.

Fraser Health was not available for comment.

To support Alice in her fight for food freedom and to contribute to the Legal Defence fund, all donations can be made to: Raw Milk Legal Defence Fund, Box 323 Rosedale BC V0X 1A0

The legal defence fund is by managed by two Home on the Range Sharemembers. One of these sharemembers is a practicing lawyer.

For most current information visit www.thebovine.wordpress.com


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