MILLERSBURG, Ohio - A judge has ruled that a state law prohibiting the sale of raw milk does not violate an Amish dairy farmer's religious beliefs and has ordered him not to sell unlabeled milk from his farm.
Arlie Stutzman, who owns a herd of 27 cows near Mount Hope, in northeast Ohio, appeared in court June 30 to protest a law that he says violates his religious beliefs because it prohibits him from sharing milk he produces with others.
Judge Thomas D. White wrote that Stutzman may give his unpasteurized milk away to people in need, but may not accept money for it.
"Calling the compensation for milk a 'donation' is clearly a subterfuge to skirt the requirements of the law," White wrote in his decision issued Friday.
Stutzman lost his dairy license after an undercover agent from the Ohio
Department of Agriculture gave him $2 for a gallon of milk last September. He was cited for selling milk in an unlabeled container. He got a new license in April.
Sales of raw milk are illegal in Ohio and 24 other states.
"We're pleased with the decision and it makes a lot of sense," said Melanie Wilt, spokeswoman for the agriculture department. "The judge understands Ohio's dairy laws are there to protect consumers."