Two people have died in the last 10 years from drinking unpasteurized milk. Twelve states have banned it. (By comparison, between two and twelve children die every year playing high school football. When will high school football be banned?)
In today's edition of The Daily, Jordan Heller writes about the Amish and Mennonite dairy farmers who smuggle unpasteurized milk into New York to serve a market of raw milk devotees.
Isaac has yet to be raided by the authorities, but Mark Nolt, a Mennonite dairy farmer from Cumberland County, is all too familiar with the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture's enforcement of the law.The Amish raw milk black market
Nolt's farm was raided three times in 2007 and 2008. On one occasion, state troopers took him away in handcuffs.
"They even took my cheese-making equipment," Nolt said over the phone. He puts his losses at $100,000.
Many in the raw milk community believe law enforcement picks on the Amish and Mennonites because they don't expect resistance. But when Nolt was taken to magistrate court, he refused to enter a plea because, he said, the court had no business in his dealings. He has similarly refused to pay his fines -- $4,000 and counting.
Nolt's resistance, which has been well-documented, has earned him a rather grand moniker: "the Rosa Parks of the farmers' rights movement."
Though shy about the comparison, Nolt doesn't disclaim the nickname. "What were we to do? Agree to their falsehood? Or just stand upon the truth? And we chose truth."
Mark Frauenfelder is the founder of Boing Boing and the editor-in-chief of MAKE and Cool Tools. Twitter: @frauenfelder. Come and hear Mark speak at the ALA conference in Chicago on July 1.