An extended court fight is expected over whether distribution of raw unpasteurized milk should remain illegal in B.C.

Inspectors won’t pursue raw milk farm during court battle

Constitutional challenge now targets provincial government

Health inspectors won’t launch any new crackdown of a controversial Chilliwack dairy farm while its founder pursues a court challenge that aims to legalize consumption of raw milk.Alice Jongerden appeared in B.C. Supreme Court Feb. 18 to try to overturn a March 2010 court order that barred her from producing and packaging unpasteurized dairy products.The court found the previous court action between Jongerden and Fraser Health is concluded and her constitutional challenge should target the provincial government rather than the health authority.Jongerden’s lawyer, Jason Gratl, has now refiled the challenge against the Attorney General, alleging B.C.’s Public Health Act banning raw milk production as a public health hazard violates her constitutional right to liberty and security of the person and that penalties of up to three years jail and fines of $3 million are far too harsh.Fraser Health spokesman Roy Thorpe-Dorward said the authority will take no further enforcement action against the current farm operator until Jongerden’s challenge is ultimately decided in court.”The government’s commitment to back away from aggressive prosecutions is a relief for us,” Jongerden said in a statement.”We now have some breathing room while the courts determine whether Canadians have a right to choose between whole and processed foods.”Jongerden last fall turned over the operation of her dairy farm to an Ontario raw milk advocate in order to avoid contempt-of-court penalties.She intends to resume operations as a cow-sharing co-op to supply her 450 Lower Mainland members with raw milk if she’s successful in her challenge.Farm owners can legally drink the milk of their own cows, so it’s argued a cow share is likewise private consumption and not the illegal sale of raw milk to the public.The farm is currently operating as Our Cows and claims to sell milk-based cosmetics not for human consumption.Advocates claim raw milk is healthier than pasteurized but B.C. chief medical health officer Dr. Perry Kendall has maintained raw milk can be contaminated with bacteria and poses a serious danger of illness.”We’re looking forward to cross examination of the chief medical health officer of the province, who has been vocal in his condemnation of fresh milk,” Gratl said.”We look forward to testing the strength of those convictions.”Gratl said he believes the current freeze on enforcement action goes beyond the Jongerden farm to other cow-shares and under-the-table raw milk sales elsewhere in B.C.

Just Posted

B.C. BUDGET: Fare freeze, free travel for seniors on BC Ferries

A complete fare freeze will be put into place on major routes, and fares will be rolled back on smaller routes by 15 per cent

Driver of vehicle down 90-foot embankment rescued on Highway 5 near Hope

Rope rescue conducted on mutual-aid call with Chilliwack SAR, Hope SAR and Agassiz fire department

UPDATE: Missing Dawson Creek not a risk to public, Hope RCMP says

33-year-old Jeremiah Alexander Smith’s vehicle found abandoned near Hope Feb. 14

BC BUDGET: New spaces a step to universal child care

Fees reduced for licensed daycare operators

BC BUDGET: NDP cracks down on speculators, hidden ownership

Foreign buyers’ tax extended to Fraser Valley, Okanagan, Vancouver Island

VIDEO: Top 10 B.C. budget highlights

The NDP is focusing on childcare, affordable housing and speeding up the elimination of MSP premiums

Canucks blow three goal lead, lose to Avalanche in overtime

Vancouver struggled on the penalty kill, as Colorado scored all five goals on the powerplay

Widow of avalanche victim sues Golden lodge operator

A woman from Alberta is suing guides, their mountain guide association and the lodge operator for negligence

BC BUDGET: NDP hope to nix court delays with $15 million cash influx

Union says funding could stop sheriffs from leaving for higher paid jobs

Cattlemen urge B.C. to prevent erosion caused during 2017 wildfire season

Other concerns are fencing restoration and repair, and a lack of feed for cattle.

Patrick Brown’s Tory leadership bid fate looms

Brown’s bid to for Tory leadership to be decided on Wednesday

Alberta shrugs off B.C. legal challenge on wine ban

The potential fine Alberta faces for violating free trade rules according to economic development minister

Yelling vulgar slur at reporter not a crime says judge

Judge rules ‘vulgar’ slur against reporter was not a public disturbance

Most Read