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Texas Farmer Faces $3,000 In Fines For Illegally Hawking Raw Milk In Fort Worth

Farmer Eldon Hooley is also charged with running an “illegal food establishment.”

These cows are holding serious contraband.
These cows are holding serious contraband.
Daniel Rowe/Flickr

Generally, the illegal white substance that will get you in serious trouble with the authorities isn’t also part of a healthy and nutritious breakfast. The debate over raw milk has heated (frothed, if you will) over the past few years, evidenced by U.S.D.A. raids on farms across the country, and thousands of gallons of raw milk confiscated by the feds.

Now, a Hill County farmer faces thousands of dollars in fines for selling the unpasteurized dairy product. As WFAA reported this afternoon, Rosey Ridge Farms owner Eldon Hooley is being tried in Fort Worth Municipal Court on charges that he distributed "unfit food" and operated an illegal food establishment. If found guilty, Hooley faces more than $3,000 in fines.

According to WFAA, a spokesperson for the City of Fort Worth said that the investigation was initiated after witnesses observed Hooley selling milk at sites within the Fort Worth city limits. Texas state law prohibits farmers from selling raw, unpasteurized milk at farmers markets and food co-ops, but they are allowed to sell directly to consumers on the farm.

This isn’t the first time that Hooley has been in the crosshairs of those who allege that raw milk can be dangerous. Hooley’s license to sell raw milk was suspended last year after tests revealed that some of his product was contaminated with a disease-causing bacteria.

Real Milk Texas, a group of raw milk activists who have arranged protests in support of Hooley, have been live-blogging the proceedings on Fort Worth. This afternoon, the group posted on Facebook that the judge in Hooley’s case had dismissed two of the charges, and another two were still pending. At present, looks as if this raw milk crusader may walk away unscathed after selling his unpasteurized wares in Fort Worth.

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