6.29.2006

Finally an Amish Story!

Suitably Bland & Uninteresting...

Amish Milk Sting!

from Sploid

It's a scene right out of Prohibition: a stranger comes knocking, asking for a refill of his plastic jug. A wary vendor agrees to fill it up. As the tap is turned and the contraband flows, the stranger pulls two bills out of his wallet ... and then his badge.

Amish man Arlie Stutzman now finds himself fighting the state of Ohio for the right to sell raw milk. He says laws banning its sale - the likes of which exist in 25 states - violate his religious freedom by restricting his ability to share with those in his community.

"While I can and I have food, I'll share it," said Stutzman, who is headed to court on Friday to make his case before a judge. "Do unto others what you would have others do unto you."

Someone in the state's bureaucracy somehow got word of Stutzman's 250-gallon tank of black market milk. Who ratted him out is anybody's guess; officials say it was an "anonymous neighbor." In September, authorities sent an undercover agent from the Ohio Department of Agriculture to make a buy.

By February, the state had revoked Stutzman's license to sell milk because he had sold milk in an unlabeled container. In April, he was again given a license, but received a warning not to sell raw milk to people.

"You can't just give milk away to someone other then yourself. It's a violation of the law," said LeeAnne Mizer, spokeswoman for the department.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the American Dairy Association both claim that raw milk is too dangerous. They argue that without heating, milk may be teeming with bacteria, like E. coli. How it is measurably different from selling raw beef is unclear.

Others contend that raw milk is far healthier than the pasteurized stuff you get at your local market. The Weston A. Price Foundation says raw milk is far more nutritious and contains beneficial bacteria.

Now regulators are calling on Judge Thomas D. White to lean hard on the humble dairy man, ordering him to stop selling raw milk. Stutzman, like his Amish brothers and sisters, prefers not to deal with outsiders, but he refuses to be bullied by the man.

"He's going to do what he thinks is the right thing," said his attorney, Gary Cox.

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