Schlangenfamily-300x211Farm to Consumer

Alvin Schlangen sentenced to fines, 1-year probation and 90 days in jail suspended.

Stearns County, MN, Aug. 19, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Long-time farmer, Alvin Schlangen, was convicted by a jury of 6 on five charges related to feeding his community. The conviction came on August 15 after a 3-day trial.

Schlangen offered members of the private buying club, Freedom Farms Co-op, the benefit of his volunteer delivery service as he picked up members’ food items, including raw milk, from other farms and delivered it along with products from his Freeport farm.

The criminal charges brought against Schlangen in Stearns County included operating without a food handler’s license, storing eggs at temperatures above the mandated 45 degrees, distributing adulterated or misbranded food, violating a food embargo, and selling custom processed meat. Alvin was facing up to $5,000 in fines and up to 15 months in jail.

During the trial, the prosecution spent the first day calling witnesses, including the state veterinarian, who testified about different foodborne illnesses to associate Schlangen with a foodborne illness, yet the state did not present a shred of evidence that food delivered by Schlangen has ever made anyone sick.

Attorney Nathan Hansen represented Schlangen with the support of the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund. Sentenced only on the charge of handling food without a license, Schlangen was fined $1,000 ($700 of the fine was suspended) and given a 90-day jail term which was also suspended with one year on probation; if he violates probation, he will be sent to jail and be required to pay the balance of $700 in fines.

“It’s a sad day when a hardworking farmer who has dedicated his life to feeding his community quality food and benefited the health of hundreds of families is judged to be a criminal,” says attorney and president of the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund (FTCLDF), Pete Kennedy. “The Minnesota Department of Agriculture did not have this case brought against Alvin to protect the public health; the department’s purpose was to get control over the private distribution of food, denying Minnesota residents their right to obtain the food of their choice from the source of their choice.”

In September 2012, Schlangen was acquitted in Hennepin County on three charges alleging violations of the state food and dairy code, including a charge of operating without a food handlers license.

The Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund defends the rights and broadens the freedoms of family farms and artisan food producers while protecting consumer access to raw milk and nutrient-dense foods. Those concerned can support the FTCLDF, a U.S. based 501(c)(4) nonprofit, by joining or donating online at or by calling 703-208-FARM (3276).


Background on the case:MN Cases: Alvin Schlangen

Previous Press Release about this case:  Minnesota Aims–Again–to Jail Peaceful Farmer

For additional information on raw milk: and

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7 Responses to “Minnesota Jury Convicts Peaceful Farmer on Five Charges”

  1. Pastured Egg

    An egg shell is very porous and has anywhere from 3-6,000 pores covering the entire surface! (source) When the hen lays an egg her body does one last thing to protect the egg before hitting the air: she deposits a natural anti-bacterial mucus membrane called the bloom. The bloom comes out wet on the egg but then dries quickly, filling in all those little pores on the egg to protect it against things like bacteria and outside gases or chemicals.

    Industrialized Egg

    With industrial eggs since the bloom is washed off, the pores are then exposed. This creates open airways to allow any kind of bacteria (think salmonella) to enter. Not only that, the quality and freshness of the egg drops. This is why if you crack an industrial egg open, the yolk is small and pale yellow. The albumen loses it’s haziness and becomes translucent. All are indications of an egg that has lost its freshness.

    The Ideal Temperature

    With backyard eggs or eggs from a trustworthy farm source, you can get away with leaving them on your counter for a couple months if they are stored around 65°F to 70°F. If you are nervous they may not be fresh, you can do the float test to see if they are okay to eat or not. With factory farm eggs, it’s necessary to keep them at a temperature of 40°F (USDA guidelines) so no bacterial growth occurs.


  2. torgrim says:

    The problem is in the title of the article, “Minnesota Jury”…,
    That’s the problem. The Jury CAN judge the law, what has happened to the people of Minnesota? To nice, to quite, soon to be replaced. Replace the Att.Genls. impeach them!

    My family comes from Minnesota, and when the Century Farm was foreclosed in the 80’s due to the high taxes imposed by the parasitical class in Minneapolis, and it was government as usual, I knew then that this was coming, next.

    Take off the gloves Folks and inform, and resist!

  3. Bob says:

    I raise chickens and sell eggs in several retail stores. Although I do not know all the details of this case, I have to follow New York Ag and Markets and USDA rules and regulations for storage temperature of eggs, (45 degrees).
    Also, all my beef has to be USDA “process” inspected and labeled with proper labeling. Of course this is added costs to me.
    I also carry extra insurance for storing food for retail sales and I am inspected randomly by FSIS, (Food Safety Inspection Services). All to sell my products legally to the local retail markets.
    To avoid these types of problems, I do not cut any corners when it comes to the legal end of things.
    I do hope this guy makes out OK

  4. Emmett G. says:

    “storing eggs at temperatures above the mandated 45 degrees, distributing adulterated or misbranded food”

    The agro corps have been distributing adulterated food for decades with every single item they sell. Eggs are find at room temperature, the eggshell protects them from bacteria for awhile. I wouldn’t do it more than for about a week though.
    We have one set of laws for the rich corps and another for the citizens.

  5. Barb T. says:

    The charges against this farmer should be dropped. If the law is wrong the law should be changed. As others on this site have stated this is a victimless crime and in reality is all about control of our food supply by multinational food and drug corporations. Resist in every way you can think of. Drugs and chemicals kill more people every year than a thousand farmers could.

  6. Abe says:

    Irene is spot on! To tell the truth I fell it’s all about money (license) and control of everything inccluding food.
    Here’s how to contact Atty Gen Lori Swanson. I should also mention the Atty Gen before Lori was Amy Klobuchar! I’m just south of Stearns County, and we have farmers that do organics and raw milk to. ”
    We must hang together or we shall surely hang separately!”
    Ring her phone off the hook!!

    Minnesota Attorney General’s Office

    1400 Bremer Tower
    445 Minnesota Street
    St. Paul, MN 55101

    (651) 296-3353
    (800) 657-3787

    M – F 8 am – 5 pm

    TTY:(651) 297-7206
    TTY:(800) 366-4812

    This is Swanson’s web site.

  7. Irene says:

    Who makes money from abusing individuals and farmers ? Do you think meals on wheels is legal ? They haven’t been sued by a state agency yet . Why did the jury convict ? Were they lied to or did they not understand about nullification? It seems as though they disagreed with the punishment and made it light but still convicted because of manufactured victimless criminality . So, who is next ? I vote to convict aunt Beth who takes care of grandma because she doesn’t have a nursing degree so isn’t licenced for that job. Also mommy should be arrested because dinner was cold and was transported to the table in an unlicenced vehicle. We should flood the Minnasota attorney generals office about this one and help save our food co=ops. This is corporate war against any alternative food supply and is patently unconstitutional and illegal harassment of consenting adults over a victimless non crime. outrageous,