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Ontario farmer fights order to stop selling, distributing raw milk

Brandon Swanson/The Chronicle via AP/File

OTTAWA – An eastern Ontario farmer who has been ordered to stop selling raw milk is hoping to persuade the province to let him continue the practice.

Michael Ilgert has been offering unpasteurized milk through a cow-share arrangement at his farm near Golden lake, Ont. since May 2010.

In November 2016, the Renfrew County and District Health Unit issued a cease and desist order, saying Ilgert must stop selling the milk or making it available to clients.

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The Ontario government insists unpasteurized milk poses a significant public health risk and has outlawed its sale and distribution, though not its consumption.

Ilgert is appearing before the Health Services Appeal and Review Board today to challenge the order and argue that raw milk is a healthy option that’s much in demand among his customers.

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He will be joined by Michael Schmidt, a Toronto-area farmer whose fight for the right to sell raw milk reached Canada’s highest court.

In 2014 the Supreme Court refused to hear Schmidt’s appeal of an earlier decision which convicted him on 13 charges under the Health Protection and Promotion Act and the Milk Act.