2017 Harvest

2017 Harvest

Saturday, December 11, 2010

B.C. woman found in contempt of court for distributing raw milk for human consumption

Alice Jongerden was ordered by the Supreme Court of British Columbia to stop packaging and distributing raw milk for human consumption. The Fraser Health Authority, which obtained that injunction, alleged that Ms. Jongerden disobeyed the order and asked that she be found in contempt of court.  The Fraser Health Authority said that after the injunction was issued in March, 2010, Ms. Jongerden continued to distribute raw milk in the same manner and to the same recipients as before. Ms. Jongerden admitted she continued to distribute raw milk, but said she complied with the court order by labelling the product “not for human consumption”.

Ms. Jongerden operates a dairy farm, carrying on business under the name of “Home on the Range”. She disagrees with the public policy prohibiting the distribution of raw milk and believes consumers should have the right to choose it.  On July 9, 2009, she was ordered by the Public Health Inspector to “cease and desist the distribution of raw milk for human consumption”.  When that order was apparently not complied with, the Fraser Health Authority sought and obtained an interim injunction from the Court.

On a review of the circumstances, the Court concluded that Ms. Jongerden wilfully disobeyed the terms of the Order by continuing to distribute and make available raw milk to the same individuals to whom she previously provided it for human consumption.  Therefore, Ms. Jongerden was found to be in contempt of the Court Order.  However, the Fraser Health Authority had not yet asked that any specific penalty be imposed for Ms. Jongerden’s contempt of court.  The Court understood that Ms. Jongerden had, as a result of the interim order of Saunders J., ceased all production and distribution of raw milk products. As long as that would remain the case, the Court found that Ms. Jongerden would have purged her contempt and that there should be no need for the matter to proceed to consideration of a penalty.

Read the decision at: Fraser Health Authority v. Jongerden.