November 23, 2009
Springfield, Mo. - Attorney General Chris Koster has filed a lawsuit against a Laclede County couple for violating a Missouri law that prohibits the distribution and sale of raw milk unless a person purchases or requests delivery of raw milk or cream directly from a farm.
Koster said Armand and Teddi Bechard, d/b/a/ Bechard Family Farm, sold raw milk in the parking lot of Mama Jean's Natural Market in Springfield to two undercover investigators with the Springfield-Greene County Health Department.
Koster said the Food and Drug Administration, as well as other federal and state health agencies, have long warned of the risks to human health associated with ingesting raw milk. He said FDA and state health agency studies have established a direct cause-effect link between gastrointestinal disease, including e-coli contamination, and the consumption of raw milk.
"Because of the known health risks involved in drinking raw milk, Missouri lawmakers saw fit to require that milk sold from distribution points - such as grocery stores, convenience marts, or farmers' markets - be pasteurized," Koster said. "The law does not prohibit Mr. and Mrs. Bechard from selling raw milk, but it does prohibit them from selling it from a parking lot."
Koster filed the lawsuit after the Bechards refused to sign a consent judgment requiring them to abide by the raw milk statute. He is asking the court to issue a preliminary and permanent injunction prohibiting Mr. and Mrs. Bechard from selling raw milk or raw milk products in violation of the law and to require them to pay the cost of the lawsuit.