By Darcy Wintonyk, ctvbc.ca
An unprecedented court decision in Ontario upholding the legality of raw milk co-ops may help the legal battles of a B.C. farmer and force Canadian regulators to legalize the sale of unpasteurized dairy, according to raw dairy experts.
Durham, Ont., farmer Michael Shmidt was found not-guilty on 19 charges related to selling unpasteurized milk Thursday.
The sale of raw milk has been prohibited in Canada since 1991, with health agencies saying it is a health hazard. Cow share operations sidestep the law by allowing members to buy into their organization — making them part owners of the animals.
Justice of the peace Paul Kowarsky took two-and-a-half hours to read his verdict in the Newmarket, Ont. He said the case was part of a “search for contemporary justice.”
“[Members] are fully informed that the milk is not pasteurized,” Kowarsky said in his ruling, adding the product is only sold to coop members who are well aware of health risks.
Outside the courthouse supporters cheered as Shmidt held a glass of raw milk.
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