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

Fundraiser for teenager hit by car in Rosedale

Teen suffering multiple fractures and blood clots following incident on Yale Road

Vedder River cleanup nets bag of discarded sex toys

Chilliwack volunteers stumble on unexpected find while removing 600 lbs of trash from riverway

Hikers alert after woman approached by suspicious man in Harrison Mills

The woman and her family were hiking in the wetlands between Rowena’s Inn and Sts’ailes First Nation

Chilliwack International Spring Film Series returns to Cottonwood 4 Cinemas

Put a spring in your step with the Chilliwack International Spring Film Series’ feature titles

EDITORIAL: No think-tank report cards for the Observer

Fraser Institute’s annual school ranking isn’t a good measure of success, editor Grace Kennedy writes

Film crews descend on Agassiz for ‘Republic of Sarah’

Pioneer Avenue will be closed to traffic Monday and Tuesday

Pedestrian killed, two injured in three vehicle crash in Coquitlam

Road closures in effect following collision

Is it a homicide? B.C. woman dies in hospital, seven months after being shot

Stepfather think Chilliwack case should now be a homicide, but IHIT has not confirmed anything

Indecent caller handed 18-month conditional sentence

Vancouver Island man pleaded guilty to making indecent phone and video calls to women across B.C.

Sources say Trudeau rejected Wilson-Raybould’s conservative pick for high court

Wilson-Raybould said Monday “there was no conflict between the PM and myself”

First Nations public art piece stolen in Nanaimo

Spindle Whorl went missing over the weekend, according to Nanaimo RCMP

Father-son duo at B.C. Children’s Hospital helps new dads fight depression

The pair teamed up to introduce the only known research-based mindfulness workshop for new dads

Mexican restaurant in B.C. told to take down Mexican flag

General manager of Primo’s Mexican Grill in White Rock: ‘I’ve never heard of anything like this’

B.C. NDP moves to provide tax credits, tax cut for LNG Canada

Provincial sales tax break of $596 million repayable after construction

Most Read