Welcome to the evolving website for the Food Rights Alliance
Mar. 11, 2014

This website is published by the Association for Free Choice in Quality Foods, for the Food Rights Alliance (contact: info@foodrightsalliance.ca)

For up to date news on the raw milk scene in Canada and abroad, read The Bovine blog at http://thebovine.wordpress.com

NEW: March 11, 2014 Ontario Court of Appeal Verdict on the appeal of Justice Tetley's conviction of Michael Schmidt.
June 5, 2013 Michael Schmidt and Gordon Watson convicted on contempt of court re "Home on the Range" cowshare (309K pdf file)
Jan. 21, 2010 Court Decision in Favour of Michael Schmidt and Cowshares
Ready for some heavy-duty legal reading? Download a pdf file of the 41 page judgement (28.4 Mb)
Join Cow Share Canada as a consumer to be kept informed of when new cow share farmers will be starting up in your part of Canada
Justice Peter Tetley's decision dated Sept. 19th, 2011, (but released Sept. 28th), finding Michael Schmidt guilty on appeal (499Kb pdf)
Report on May 2011 Prague Raw Milk Conference (629 Kb pdf file)
Cowshare College Level II Application Form for June 18, 2011 session (pdf file)| Course details
Attorney General's Factum for April 13th Appeal of Michael Schmidt's acquittal (5 Mb)
Defense factum for April 13th Appeal of Michael Schmidt's acquittal -- from Karen Selick (278 Kb)

Crown's "factum" for April 13th appeal of Michael Schmidt's acquittal (1.62 Mb)

Canadian Cowshare College One-Day Basics Course March 19th, 2011 | Application Form
International science of raw milk conference in Prague May 20, 2011 -- Michael Schmidt will be among the guest speakers. (pdf file 711 Kb)
Emergency kit for Health Canada raids -- from nhppa.org (308K pdf file)
Milk War documentary about raw milk and Michael Schmidt showing in Vancouver February 6th, 2011. Click to download a pdf poster with details.

Alice Jongerden's Constitutional challenge in B.C. court January 19, 2011 -- related documents:

Michael Schmidt will be the featured speaker at the North Central Region Biodynamic Group Winter Gathering January 21 & 22, 2011 (pdf file 1 Mb)
See Michael Schmidt's Power Point presentation from the National Farmers Union convention in Saskatoon, Dec. 2010 (File size: 6.1 Mb)
Note: you'll need to have power point or equivalent software on your computer to view the downloaded file
Cow Share College 2011 Events | Cow Share College Level 2 Application Package | Cow Share College Workshop Selection Form
Goat Milk Seizure in Calgary December 2010 -- the long version, along with supporting documentation (pdf file 514 Kb)
Can farm milk consumption prevent allergic diseases -- a scientific study from Switzerland and Germany (7 page pdf file, 94 Kb)
Download petition for legal raw milk in Saskatchewan (MS word file)
Reasons for Judgement in case of Alice Jongerden's contempt of court trial, Dec 2, 2010 (pdf file 47K)
Canadian Institute of Public Health Inspectors Power Point on the Raw Milk Issue (pdf file 392 Kb) posted Nov. 7, 2010

October 2010: Another round of Cowshare College course are being offered by Michael Schmidt through Cow Share Canada, both basic and advanced. Program details here. | Application form here. | PDF-format brochure with application form

Sept. 20, 2010: TIME magazine story on raw milk (247 Kb) | History of Milk article from Food and Drink magazine (1.67 Mb). If you're in Ontario in September or October of 2010, drop by your local LCBO (Liquor Control Board of Ontario store) to pick up your own free copy of Food and Drink magazine. If you've got good high speed intenet, you might prefer to download this higher quality pdf of the History of Milk article from the LCBO's Food and Drink magazine (3.16 Mb)

Read the life story of a woman who grew up in Somalia in desperate conditions, but still has perfect teeth. Did raw milk play a role?
Invest in the future of raw milk in Ontario -- help finance the purchase of farmland for Glencolton Farms -- nine-page prospectus, Summer 2009 (3.8 Meg)
Final Arguments now posted in Michael Schmidt's raw milk Charter of Rights and Freedoms challenge case: The Crown Case | Michael Schmidt's case
FOR LATEST NEWS ON Michael Schmidt and Raw Milk SEE: "The Bovine" blog at http://thebovine.wordpress.com
January 2010: Download, sign, get your friends to sign, and mail in a PETITION to the government to legalize raw milk in Ontario.
Thanks to James McLaren for this initiative. Mail completed petition to James. Address at bottom of page. Thanks!
May 2009: Contrasting the cases of Michael Schmidt and Michael McCain (Maple Leaf Foods). From Green and Organic Lifestyles Magazine
December 9, 2008 decision of the tribunal looking into the question of exemptions on milk quota transfer assessment
US Almond Growers to sue USDA over compulsory pasteurization. This story raises fundamental questions about intentions behind these regulations.
News Flash: Quebec Now Allows Raw Milk Cheese Sale (aged less than 60 days). Link is to the Globe and Mail story from August 1
Michael Schmidt's Contempt of Court Hearing Postponed until September 10, 11 & 12, 2008 (as a result of July 31, 2008 hearing in Newmarket)
"The Revolution will not be Pasteurized" Read this excellent article by Nathanael Johnson, from the April 2008 issue of Harpers Magazine, outlining a lot of key issues and perspectives from all sides in the ongoing debate about the relative merits of raw and pasteurized dairy products.

Pictures from the Queen's Park Press Conference November 21, 2007:

One Year Later:
Michael Schmidt and his cow share owners,
present a proposal to regulate underground raw milk trade
Wednesday Nov 21st, 10:30 am
Queens Park Press room

This coming Wednesday, Michael Schmidt along with his cow share owners are presenting a proposal to regulate the underground raw milk trade at Queens Park in the Press room Wednesday Nov 21st at 10:30 am. Raw milk supporters will deliver this proposal to every MPP in Ontario throughout the day.

Also at the press conference, Schmidt will announce the very first International Raw Milk Symposium "the Raw Facts about Milk" which will take place in Toronto May 31st 2008. International experts from around the globe will be part of this Symposium which will all coincide during Schmidt`s trial set for May 23. You can log on here for more details: www.glencoltonfarms.ca.

Confirmed to attend this conference on Wednesday are:
MPP Bill Murdock
MPP Randy Hillier
Judith McGill, Consumer
James McLaren, for the Natural Milk Organization
Jamie Kennedy, on behalf of Slow Food
Pam Killeen, member - Weston A. Price Foundation.
 
November 21st marks the first anniversary of the raid on Michael Schmidt's dairy farm. Over 20 armed officers of the Ministry of Natural Resources , Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Health, and local Health Unit searched the farm for over seven hours to obtain evidence and proof that Schmidt in fact distributes raw milk to consumers via a cow share owner program. Subsequently, Schmidt went on a 30 day hunger strike, in order to force the return of all his equipment, documents and to ensure that there would be no further harassment until the matter has been dealt with in court.

Shortly after the raid, Greg Sorbara the former Finance Minister came out to say that he was a cow share owner in Schmidt's operation. Within three weeks, MPP Bill Murdock put a motion forward in Parliament to study the issue of raw milk regulation in Ontario, considering that there is a growing consumer demand and black market throughout Ontario which is not regulated. The bill was defeated.

Clayton Ruby was retained by Schmidt and the trial has been set for May 23, 2008 in Newmarket. Since last year’s raid, Schmidt has continued to provide raw milk to his cow-share members. The York Regional Health Unit has forced the issue further by a superior court order to stop Schmidt from entering York Region to deliver raw milk to his cow-share owners. Despite the court order, Schmidt continues to make his weekly trip to Richmond Hill to provide raw milk to his cow-share owners.

For Media Info, Set Up An Interview, you can reach any of the following:
Michael Schmidt 519 369 8137 glencolton@bmts.com www.glencoltonfarms.ca
Judith McGill 416 997-3311
James McLaren 613 889 1990 www.naturalmilk.org


MPP’s BRIEFING SUMMARY: PROPOSAL TO LEGALIZE THE SALE OF RAW MILK, November 21, 2007

Raw milk is a health hazard because of government policy. In Ontario, there are no regulations in place to govern raw milk production. However, there are such systems, as in England, France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland and California, and in these jurisdictions consuming raw milk is rendered safe. (See the Reference section for their raw milk regulations).

This package is being presented to all Ontario MPP’s in order to offer concrete facts as well as to call for reform of the regulatory system that currently prohibits the production and sale of raw milk. It is possible for Ontario to follow other jurisdictions and to reform the system in such a way as to provide for the safe human consumption of raw milk. The government of Ontario must consider its responsibility in regulating raw milk especially in view of its knowledge of the extent of the burgeoning “black market” for raw milk in Ontario.

Michael Schmidt’s trial date is set to begin May 23, 2008. It is a true David and Goliath story and has generated intense consumer interest and in-depth media coverage and commentary on all aspects of the raw milk debate. Health conscious consumers rights organizations and all raw milk advocates feel strongly that raw milk has been made unsafe in Ontario because of government policy. If a monitoring system were to be put in place, then raw milk becomes safe. All you have to do is look at examples from other jurisdictions that have done so.

Ontario introduced its mandatory pasteurization legislation in 1938 in response to problems caused by milk-borne pathogens. Pasteurization was chosen because it was economical, easy to implement and suited the large-scale mass distribution of milk into cities. There was, however, a known alternative to pasteurization, but it required the use of common sense hygienic production practices, which was more costly and did not lend itself as easily to mass distribution. The American Association of Medical Milk Commissions and its predecessors have been publishing methods for safe Certified Raw Milk since the 1893.

Even after the 1938 legislation, consumption of raw milk in Ontario continued. Dairy farmers were permitted under the law to consume their own raw milk and most do so to this day. In 1996, Dr. Joost Harwig, Director, Bureau of Microbial Hazards, Health Canada, presented Senate Committee evidence that raw milk consumption in Canada is about 1% of all fluid milk consumed. In the USA, in 1998, the CDC posted a survey of 7,493 adults that showed 1.5% consumed raw milk. In England, where raw milk is legally distributed, about 0.01% is consumed raw.

From time to time, individuals and/or groups have made attempts to change the 1938 law. Their efforts have gone by largely unnoticed. Very little, if any, media attention has been drawn to their efforts and the little that was generated typically denounced raw dairy consumption and supported the pasteurization laws. On November 21, 2006, this all changed with the raid on Michael Schmidt’s farm, with front page headlines and in-depth coverage of all aspects of raw milk consumption by all the major media nationally and abroad.

In recent years there has been more and more media focus on health and diet with open and balanced discussions on many topics including vegetarianism and raw food diets. This reflects the public’s rising consciousness about food and health and the link between the two. Raw milk fits squarely in the middle of this discussion having many clear long-term health advantages over pasteurized milk, which are all largely ignored or denied by the pasteurization advocates, who focus primarily on the short-term health risks. These short-term health risks are all a matter of government policy and can be effectively eliminated with a suitable regulatory regime.

Pasteurization however accommodates modern corporate and large-scale economic production. It supports and fosters large-scale concentration of farming, trucking, processing and distribution systems. Raw milk production does not. Rather, it supports small-scale production and direct interaction between producer and consumer. This situation pits an ever-growing segment of savvy consumers against interests vested in pasteurization. The issue and the struggle will therefore not go away, particularly with recent media attention. As more and more consumers become educated, there will only be more demand for change. Local food systems are now proposed and even promoted by the provincial and federal government.

England has always permitted the sale of raw milk. Since 1984, their government has tried to eliminate the sale of raw milk three times. But each time, it backed down in the face of sharp consumer and producer resistance, even though the consumers in opposition were quite small in number. In Ontario, health conscious consumers and raw milk advocates are now organizing and mobilizing to bring about the necessary changes. MPP’s are therefore being asked to recognize this movement and institute raw milk regulation here in Ontario. Otherwise they will face an ever growing resistance by consumers that will only gain momentum and members until it eventually succeeds.

We have included in the Reference section the raw milk regulations from England, France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland and California. These raw milk jurisdictions have a combined population of 258 million. Surely this is a large enough test bed for the safety of raw milk under a proper regulatory system. We recommend the adoption of the regulations from England for use in Ontario. This will put to an end, the hardships endured by Michael Schmidt and others, who only want to bring to consumers, the benefits of nature’s most perfect food in its most natural form. It will also support the right of informed consumers to choose what to consume to promote their own health.



How do they regulate raw milk safety in other jurisdictions?

England | Switzerland | France | Germany | Austria

Six Months after the Raid, What's been happening? Read all about it.
Check out the pdf version of the recent brochure "Fresh Milk is Alive", which descibes a new quality-assessment method using light emission measurements. This is the same brochure that was made available at the January's Guelph Organic Conference (2007).

Photo: Michael Schmidt at the Big Big Benefit Concert in February 2007

See more photos from this event

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