Wisconsin raw-milk farmer acquitted on 3 of 4 criminal charges

May 26, 2013 at 3:36 PM
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BARABOO, Wis., May 26 (UPI) -- The acquittal of a Wisconsin dairy farmer on the most serious charges for selling raw milk products is a "victory for the food rights movement, his lawyer said.

The case of Vernon Hershberger, 41, has drawn national attention from supporters of the raw, unpasteurized milk movement, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported Saturday.

The Sauk County Circuit Court jury in Baraboo deliberated about 4 hours before returning a verdict of guilty on a charge of violating a holding order placed on products on the Hershberger farm following a raid on the farm in the summer of 2010, the Journal Sentinel reported.

Hershberger could be sentenced to as much as a year in jail and fined $10,000.

Hershberger was found not guilty of the other three charges, which included operating an unlicensed retail store selling raw milk and other products and operating a dairy farm and dairy processing facility without licenses.

The trial's outcome will establish a precedent, said the Weston A. Price Foundation, a raw-milk legalization advocacy group.

"This is a victory for the food rights movement," said Elizabeth Rich, an attorney for Hershberger.

Wisconsin farmers generally may not sell unpasteurized milk directly to consumers, as it may contain pathogens that result in serious illness, the newspaper said. Many people believe unprocessed milk contains bacteria that support the immune system and provide other health benefits.

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