Ottawa Farmer Appeals Raw Milk “Cease and Desist” Order
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By Liz Reitzig
Michael Ilgert appeals his case to the Health Services and Review Board
OTTAWA, ONTARIO, CANADA — Ottawa-area farmer Michael Ilgert is the current target of government action to curb raw milk sales. In December of 2016, Renfrew County and District Health Unit ordered Ilgert to “cease and desist from selling, offering for sale and distributing, milk that is not pasteurized.” Ilgert is now entering an appeal of the order to the Health Services Appeal and Review Board. A hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, February 28, 2017 at 10 am in the Indigo Room at the Metcalfe Hotel, 123 Metcalf Street, Ottawa, Ontario, K1P 5L9.
Ilgert is asking supporters or raw milk and food choice to show up at the hearing, call or write letters to defend consumer choice and access to farm fresh milk. See Ilgert Hit with Cease and Desist Order.
“With consumers looking for fresh, local farm foods, it is up to all of us to come out and speak up on behalf of farmers. This is especially important when our food sources are threatened and our farmers challenged,” says Elisa Vander Hout, president of Our Farms Our Food Coop, another Ontario farm which has undergone serious legal challenges for many years.
“This is the first step in what could be a long struggle for the survival of my farm. Many families depend on the food we produce,” says Ilgert.
Michael Schmidt, of Our Farms Our Food Coop, is well known for his struggle to provide raw milk to his food coop. Over the past 20 years he sacrificed valuable acreage to fund his legal costs and endured raids, seizures, and lost precious time on his farm to attend multiple court trials and hearings.
Ilgert hopes a favorable verdict on his appeal will help him avoid the same fate. “People need access to the foods of their choice from the producer of their choice. Even if those foods include farm fresh milk. I won’t back down. My job is to nourish people,” declares Ilgert.
Our Farms, Our Foods Coop is a 200 member cooperative formed for the purpose of boarding personal cows with a responsible dairyman. The group is just one of the many interested stakeholders in changing Canadian policy on raw milk. For additional information on raw milk realmilk.com For more on this case see The Bovine blog.