Police Raid Raw Milk Co-op in Minnesota

May 16, 2018 at 9:11 pm

Police shut down farm store, confiscate thousands of dollars in raw milk products

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture shut down a farm store that sells fresh, raw milk to hundreds of grateful customers in Minneapolis on May 3, confiscating thousands of dollars of nutrient-dense food in the process.

The Uptown Locavore is a private buyers club that connects farmers and club members, enabling consumers to obtain unpasteurized health foods they cannot find in retail store.

All of the customers are 100% aware of the risks of drinking grass-fed, raw milk, and have deemed it safer than pasteurized factory-farmed milk. There were zero complaints of illness made against the store’s products.

Officials from the state Ag Department, the Minneapolis Health Department and a police officer showed up for an unannounced inspection that quickly turned into a raid.

They seized every food product they came across, including the personal food items of the store owner, Will Winter, and posted an “Unlicensed Business” notice stating that “further operation of this business is a criminal act and subject to criminal complaint and/or arrest.”

This wasn’t the first time Winter’s had been raided. In 2010, state and city officials shut down his former farm store/buyer’s club called Traditional Foods Warehouse, which provided  1,800 members relied upon for “real food.”

Along with Winter’s co-op, they raided his farmer partners Mike Hartmann and Alvin Schlangen and a club member named Rae Lyn Sandvig, whose driveway served as a co-op dropsite.

Three armed policemen and two city officials showed up Sandvig’s bedroom door at 8 a.m. ordering her and her children to go downstairs to the kitchen, and then proceeded to search the family refrigerator. Sandvig kept none of the co-op foods in her refrigerator other than those for personal consumption.

“It makes me very unhappy to be American,” Winter told the Weston A. Price Foundation.

He argues that he has the right under the federal constitution and a more specific right under the Minnesota state constitution to “sell and peddle the products of the farm” without licensing.

“This is about control and preserving industrial Ag’s market share by denying freedom of choice,” writes Pete Kennedy, a lawyer for the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund.