NEWMARKET, Ont. — A small Newmarket, Ont., court is crowded with spectators today to hear details of an orchestrated, armed raid on a farm by about two dozen officers and government officials investigating the sale of raw milk.
The Crown says it will disclose evidence of a clandestine, undercover investigation in 2006 into the illegal sale of dangerous substances stored on the farm, sometimes on clear display.
The illicit product, which spawned 20 charges against farm owner Michael Schmidt, is unpasteurized milk, and he’s in court defending peoples’ right to drink it.
In fact, he drank a big gulp from a mason jar in court during a recess.
While raw milk is legal to drink, it’s illegal to sell across the country, and Schmidt has been charged in connection with selling it to about 150 customers.
In an attempt to get around the law, he runs a so-called cow share program, in which customers pay to share ownership of a cow, and they are then entitled to some of its milk.
Schmidt is representing himself in court and said in an opening statement that shows “the respect to the individual’s freedom has been lost or wilfully ignored.”
He insists raw milk has been proven safe over generations, despite what Health Canada says, and is against conventional thinking that food “will kill us unless we process it to death.”