Michigan is the latest state to crack down on farmers who produce and sell raw milk. A Business Week article from today calls enforcement actions by Michigan health authorities "inappropriate," but does include a quote from the Michigan Department of Agriculture spokeswoman on why enforcement is necessary:
"We’ve had an investigation for several months now," says Katherine Fedder, director of the Michigan Agriculture Dept.’s food & dairy division. The investigation, she says, began with a report from a local public-health department last spring about children who had become sick who " had consumed unpasteurized milk." She noted, though, that the children’s illness was never traced back to raw milk or any other specific food. In any event, a department inspector joined the co-op to purchase milk and expand the investigation.
"Our concern is that there’s a violation of the Michigan law to distribute misbranded products and unpasteurized dairy products out of an MDA-licensed food establishment," Fedder says, adding that the investigation of the computers, records, and milk products confiscated will likely take "a few more weeks before we have a clarification."
Then, Hebron and/or the co-op could be charged with "a whole variety of things" under a Michigan food law and a dairy law.