Missouri Milk Board uber alles

The latest developments in the Morningland Dairy scandal, as documented by Doreen Hannes, via Kimberly Hartke’s blog:

Pic via allthingscheese.com

“©Doreen Hannes — 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….”

Read the rest on Kimberly Hartke’s blog.

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