Missouri Milk Board Declares They Have No Appeal
Morningland Dairy to go to Court
Those following the saga of Morningland Dairy should be aware that this past week has been a relentless roller coaster ride. On the upside of the roller coaster, many have donated to the Uncheese Party to help the family farmstead business in this battle, and Joe and Denise Dixon, owners of Morningland Dairy, are humbled and grateful for the generosity and dedication those committed to preserving access to real food have shown.
On the downside, the FDA sent a rather nasty toned letter asserting that they consider Morningland cheese “to pose an acute, life-threatening hazard to health.” While not a single report or complaint of illness has been reported in the 30 year history of Morningland, the FDA states in their letter that “because of the seriousness of this situation” Morningland “should conduct inspections for 100% effectiveness at their accounts”. You could accurately translate that to “more downtime, more money out of pocket, less likelihood of recovery,” and you’d be right.
Then, on Friday, the 22nd of October, Morningland received a certified letter from the Missouri Milk Board, that flatly negates the “Objection to Destruction and Offer of Remedy” Morningland sent on October 6th by stating that “No administrative regulations allow the appeal of the State Milk Board’s administrative order…”. So the Missouri Milk Board believes it has no reason to follow due process, nor any requirement to be held accountable for their actions if they feel like destroying someone’s lifelong-work and livelihood.
Charges Levied for Questioning Destruction Order
Apparently, the Missouri Attorney General’s office agrees that the Milk Board is above all, as on Friday, after the close of business, they sent notice of service to the family’s attorney, Gary Cox, from the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund (FTCLDF) petitioning for a Court Ordered Injunction and charging Joseph and Denise Dixon with three counts of violating state law, as set forth by the Missouri Milk Board.
Morningland Dairy, a licensed, inspected facility that has conducted all required tests, is being charged with “Unlawful Sale of Dairy Products.”
Remember, they have not sold, distributed, or otherwise shared ANY of their cheese since August 26th when the Milk Board first visited with Morningland Dairy and told them about the tests from the California Food and Department of Agriculture.
Joseph and Denise Dixon are also being charged with “Failure to Comply with a Destruction Order.” Evidently, Morningland’s “Objection to Destruction Order and Offer of Remedy” places them in a criminal class because they had the audacity to ask that properly sampled and scientifically accurate tests be conducted on their property before the State destroyed their wealth.
The third charge is like unto the second, “Unlawful Interference with Milk Board Duties.” In Missouri, it is now unlawful to not just roll over and die if the Milk Board suggests you should. It’s seemingly correct to let improperly sampled tests be used to destroy your business, your reputation, your livelihood and your property.
In an additional Petition, the Attorney General is asking the Court to order the destruction of the cheese that has been held in Morningland’s cooler. It says that if the cheese is not destroyed, “the Plaintiff will suffer irreparable injury, loss or damage.” What kind of injury, damage or loss will be suffered by the State isn’t explained. Maybe they will lose face among their bureaucratic cohorts? As is usual in court cases, there is also the request that the Dixons bear the cost of not only the destruction of their cheese, but the cost of the State taking them to court to force them to commit hari-kari as well.
Where Do We Go From Here?
The questions, not unlike the song, remain the same. And the agencies in charge either will not or cannot answer them. It is apparent that Morningland is going to go to court against the State of Missouri, not for making anyone ill, but for providing a product that the FDA (aka the Food Destruction Agency) has targeted for destruction.
There are a lot of questions in this case. When agents can’t even explain the protocol to be followed, or provide any reasonable assurance of resuming normal business, that alone spawns numerous questions. Where is due process for raw dairy? When did agencies achieve the position of being infallible in their assertions? How can agencies destroy businesses with impunity? Is offering to test each batch of uncut cheese prior to selling it capable of causing “irreparable injury, loss or damage” to the State of Missouri, or anyone?
The Morningland battle is not going to end in a quick or painless manner. As a matter of fact, it has already been responsible for the shut down of a viable employer in an area more economically depressed than most of the country. Morningland has already had to dump literally tons of fresh milk, and cease all production and sales. And due to the fact that Colby doesn’t maintain its “colbyness” in prolonged aging, the best estimate is that about half of Morningland’s cheese is no longer true to its nature.
The problems with Morningland’s case cut to the very core of basic human rights. Do we have the right to question at all? Or is there just as much justice available as one can buy? In every country, no matter where or when, it finally comes down to the consent of the governed…What will you consent to?
What You Can Do to Help
If this is the first you have heard of Morningland’s plight, please read the original story Family Farm Ordered to Destroy 50,000 Pounds of Cheese.
We are asking for your non-tax deductible donations to help this farm in distress. Go to The Uncheese Party website for details. Below is a Pledgie widget that shows our goal and our current fundraising total. You can run this on your blog to promote the fundraising effort! Can you imagine the impact of hundreds of websites running this on their sidebars?
If everyone gives what they can, we can fully support this farm as they defend their livelihood and our food rights.
For several years, Doreen Hannes has been actively exposing the agencies and organizations that desire to control the food supply through international agreements, treaties and the agency rule making and legislative processes. A married homesteader, raiser of food, critters and children, she has dedicated herself to exposing the truth behind the disinformation being spouted by those who would benefit financially from controlling independent agriculture.