For the last seven years, Rae Lynn Sandvig, a mother of four, has been helping a local dairy farmer, Michael Hartmann, distribute unpasteurized milk to 35 or 40 friends and neighbors in her suburban Minneapolis community of Bloomington.

Every two weeks, the farmer pulls up in her home’s driveway, one stop among half a dozen or so other homes in the metropolitan area that serve as distribution points, and hands out jars of raw milk to customers who’ve placed orders. Sometimes, Sandvig buys half a steer from the same farmer, and divvies it up among four to six friends. (The USDA allows consumers to buy meat directly from the farmer that has been sold live, “on the hoof” and then slaughtered in a non-USDA inspected facility — or on the farm — for their personal consumption under certain conditions.)

Sandvig gets nothing from this arrangement financially, she says. There is one big benefit, though. “I’ve stood out there with other moms when it’s 20-below-zero, and in 90-degree weather, and we’ve become a community. It’s the way life is supposed to work.”

It’s not been working well over the last six months, though. Sandvig has found herself a target of the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA), culminating in accusations over the past week that she is assisting in the illegal sale of raw milk. She has been threatened with “criminal prosecution or administrative penalties.”

By making Sandvig the first consumer to be caught up in the legal machinations, Minnesota seems to have opened a new chapter in the five-year-old war on raw milk. Up until now, government crackdowns around the country have focused entirely on farmers who run raw-milk dairies, along with managers of buying clubs and food clubs that help distribute milk, in states where its sale to humans is illegal. Raw-milk can be sold legally in certain states as pet food, or in so-called “herd shares.” (The Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund has a good map of the breakdown by state).