Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund
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Raw milk lovers upset over Amish arrest


Thursday, May 1st 2008, 4:00 AM

It's the milk spill that crossed state lines.

Brooklyn raw milk enthusiasts are crying over the loss of their supplier - a horse and buggy-driving Amish farmer from Pennsylvania.

Mark Nolt of New Line, Pa., was arrested and shut down last Friday for selling the contraband.

"Oh God. My heart is pounding. I can't believe what a God---- police state this is," said one Brooklyn customer who made monthly pickups of raw dairy products from Nolt that the farmer had dropped off in Manhattan by workers.

"I gave him $100 last week for a huge delivery of stuff, including raw cream that I planned on using to make cream puffs," she said.

The Brooklyn outcry came after six Pennsylvania state troopers raided Nolt's farm and confiscated his illegal dairy.

"They swooped in on Friday morning like a bunch of Vikings, handcuffed me and stole $30,000 worth of my milk, cheese and butter," Nolt told the Daily News.

Nolt is a devout Mennonite who sells raw dairy products at his farm and has them transported by truck to customers in Delaware and across New York City, where the raw goods are illegal.

It is a violation of federal law to transport raw milk across state lines with the intent to sell it for consumption. Nolt was arrested for not having a permit to sell the goods in Pennsylvania, where they are allowed.

He said he was working on the farm with his wife and 10 children when the agents cuffed him on charges of selling the contraband to an undercover officer.

"The government doesn't have the right to dictate what I eat, and never will," said an unrepentant Nolt.

Around the city, more and more parents are signing up to find out where dropoff points are to pick up raw milk they have bought online.

To get around the law, no money changes hands. Milk pickup spots are posted in Williamsburg, Queens and neighborhoods in Manhattan - where a milk truck waits.

The seizure on Nolt's farm has slowed Brooklyn's raw milk flow to a trickle, which is great news, at least as far as the FDA is concerned.

An FDA report on illnesses caused by raw milk over the past five years says there have been 18 outbreaks of bacterial illness involving raw milk or raw milk cheeses in 15 states.

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