Judgement Day for Morningland Dairy

P. B. Obregón - Wikimedia Commons

The following piece has been forwarded to us via our friends at Transition Missouri.  Please make plans to pack the courthouse in support of our Ozark family dairies and bring warm clothes in case the courtroom is full… J.H.

By Doreen Hannes 2011

Missouri farmstead cheese plant, Morningland Dairy is going to be in Howell County Circuit Court at 9am Central time on Tuesday, January 11th. The Missouri Attorney General’s Office is charging Morningland with 3 criminal charges and has also filed a “Preliminary Injunction” in hopes of getting a court order to destroy Morningland Dairy’s cheese.

It’s a sad time for a nation that espouses “freedom” as a mantra when food buying co-ops are raided at gun point and cheese plants that have been in business for 30 years with no illnesses can be put out of business and charged with crimes, seemingly for simply asking to have proper tests done before a State agency destroys their property. But that is where we are now in the good ol’ US of A. Pretending it isn’t happening isn’t going to be “healthful” or helpful for you or your progeny.

For those who would like to read a more thorough background on Morningland’s legal issues, please visit the UnCheese Party website where many articles and click through links to many more articles are housed. The UnCheese Party began a fundraising effort to try to keep the raw cheese dairy from folding during the embargo that the Missouri Milk Board placed on their cheese on August 26th, 2010.

Joseph and Denise Dixon are the General Managers and co-owners of Morningland Dairy LLC. Morningland is a licensed and inspected facility located in Mountain View, Missouri and they have lost nearly a full year of production and sales because of the embargo placed on the dairy by the Missouri Milk Board. It appears that the Milk Board is simply taking the lead position of the FDA in the federal agencies not-so-cold war against raw dairy. (Read FDA testimony for a better explanation)

The Charges versus the Facts
The Milk Board alleges that Morningland, whom they licensed and inspected and whom the State recognizes as a LLC in good-standing, has engaged in “Unlawful Sale of Dairy Products”, “Unlawful Interference with Milk Board Duties”, and (more here) “Failure to Comply with a Destruction Order”.
Morningland ceased all sales of its product after the Milk Board put an “embargo” notice on their cheese cooler on August 26th. Hence, all sales prior to the 26th were entirely within the bounds of the law, and therefore, lawful. The FDA issued a voluntary recall –before- Morningland’s General Managers had opportunity to review the California Department of Food Agriculture tests that spurred the interest in Morningland by the FDA and the Missouri Milk Board.

Morningland never denied access to the Missouri Milk Board, nor did they refuse them the opportunity to test their products or deny them information. As a matter of fact, they asked that properly done, legitimate testing be done… and were told that the Milk Board didn’t have the funding, and would only test if someone had died from the product. Morningland also followed a purely verbal instruction to cease production on their cheese. How could this possibly be construed to “interfere” with the Milk Board in their duties?

There was never a date given, nor an actual destruction order issued to Morningland to destroy or to have their cheese destroyed. All Morningland did was lodge their objection to the paragraph in the middle of a three page letter that said that the Milk Board would contact them to make an appointment to destroy their property and livelihood. So questioning the ‘belief’ of the Milk Board is now a criminal offense in the state of Missouri. How that jibes with “freedom” is beyond my ken. It certainly is a far cry from principles espoused by Thomas Jefferson….It’s a far cry from the principles associated with reason, logic, and due process in general.

The final point in the charges brought by the Missouri Attorney General is a “Preliminary Injunction” against Morningland and the cheese that has been languishing in their refrigerated cheese cave since August 26th. The use of the term “preliminary” in this charge is very misleading. Should the court find for the Milk Board on this charge, the cheese, which is the evidence, would be destroyed quite quickly. In other words, “preliminary” means final, and “injunction” means destruction.

The Remedy?
Morningland Dairy is requesting a jury trial on all of these charges.
There is a general belief that the Missouri Attorney General’s office intends to try to separate the “preliminary injunction” (permanent destruction, rather) order from the other charges levied against Morningland. The hope is that the judge will see that the existence of the cheese in the cooler for scientifically accurate tests is integral to the case overall, and refuse to separate the “administrative” from the criminal. In my mind, the hope is that the judge will want to examine the real, whole milk straight from the farm instead of the ultra pasteurized homogenized version of milk that you find in your local grocery. If you drink real milk, you know what I’m talking about here….If you don’t, you should!

Morningland reports that their Attorney believes that if the judge determines to hold the Milk Board responsible for proving that Morningland Dairy Cheese is contaminated, they have a great chance of winning. If the judge decides that Morningland has to prove they are innocent, like in the former Soviet Union, then there is a good chance they will lose.

Either way, on trial in Missouri is your right to decide what you want to eat. If Morningland loses this battle, the FDA will have one a precedent setting court case without even having to foot the Attorney bills. They will have won precedent of their assertion made in another FTCLDF (Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund) case that “You have No Right to any Particular Food”, “You Have No Right to Bodily or Physical Health”….and “You Have No Right to Contract”.
Hopefully the citizens of the Show Me State will Show Up and demand of the court that they do indeed have these rights, and that any infringement of these rights will be taken seriously.

I suggest that everyone with healthy dairy animals bring personal samples to the Howell County Court House to share amongst themselves…Otherwise, we can look forward to the new Food Destruction Agency catch phrase, “Tyranny, It’s What’s For Dinner.”….Or “Goat Milk?…Go to Jail.


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2 responses to “Judgement Day for Morningland Dairy

  1. This is a travesty of justice. It is ok to import cheese of any kind – from less regulated dairy farms

    • It is truly a sad and frustrating situation. As far as I know, Morningland still is not able to sell their cheese to the public and their business has been plagued by unreasonable demands by the FDA and Missouri Milk board. From what I can glean from their blog, they now only sell to members of a their members-only buying club, but even that has resulted in more harrassment. It’s a sad day for independent farmers in this country when without proof of any harm done or any regulation broken, that this small family-run farm has for all intents, been run out of business.

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