Category Archives: Doreen Hannes

Due to Your Calls and Requests for Justice….

Doreen Hannes, Truth Farmer, has posted new info.

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The Missouri Milk Board prepared and gave their version of the timeline on Morningland Dairy’s destruction to the representatives and senators in the Missouri Legislature.

There were a great number of obfuscations and a few outright lies in their timeline. To correct those, and to make sure that Reps and Senators had clear information, Denise Dixon went through and provided clarification and correction where needed on the timeline offered by the Milk Board. Denise emailed this and the original Rebuttal and Request for Humane Treatment (my words) given by Morningland to the Milk Board in October of 2010. The Milk Board, Attorney General’s Office and the Governor were also emailed both of these documents.

In the interest of full transparency, I have copied these documents for everyone to see. Please feel free to share them and spread the info all across the county. The fact is that there is a war on real food at the agency level. Since there is supposed to be a balance of power in our system of government, the legislature DOES have the ability to affect the conduct of the Milk Board if they choose to do so….More on that another time. For right now, here are the communications from the Dixons in response to the Milk Board Timeline given to our elected officials here in Missouri:

Read the rest here.

The Dixons are still very grateful for any donations you might feel moved to make.

Click here to lend your support to: Uncheese Party and make a donation at www.pledgie.com !

Videos From the Morningland Destruction

Hop on over to Truth Farmer to view the destruction for yourselves.

Opens in a new window so that you can come back here to donate some money for the Dixons.

Thanks to all who have pitched in some money. It really helps their situation.

Morningland Dairy—The Final Solution

Morningland Dairy—The Final Solution

©Doreen Hannes 2013

The Door to Morningland Dairy Cheese House

The Door to Morningland Dairy Cheese House

On August 26th, 2010 the destruction of Morningland Dairy began. Having lost a two and half year battle with cancer of the State, the interment will take place on January 25th, 2013.

People involved in all aspects of food production, be it growing, processing or distributing, should read through all the documentation [found on this blog - Hen] and understand that Morningland’s saga is the model for all independent food production under the FDA’s new Food Safety Modernization Act. Critical to this destruction are “science-based standards” as opposed to scientifically accurate controls and concerns. The Global Food Safety Initiative combined with “Good Agricultural Practices” and the “Guide to Good Farming” will ensure that an inability to feed the population will occur.  Morningland Dairy is an early casualty of these “science based standards”.

Visions and Hopes-The Birth

Joseph and Denise Dixon took over Morningland Dairy after Denise completed a two year internship with the founders of Morningland, Jim and Margie Reiner. The Dixons finalized the purchase and began improvements on the Missouri Milk Board inspected and approved raw milk cheese plant in October of 2008. The entire family was tremendously pleased because this would allow Joseph to be home with the family instead of on the road working as an electrician in the eastern half of the United States.  The Dixons wanted to expand the varieties of cheese made by the company and ventured into a broader array of production.

Their desire was to help other families in the historically poverty stricken Missouri Ozarks to make an actual living on the farm and allow families to stay together. They consulted with the Missouri Milk Board and arranged for two families to begin providing goat milk to Morningland and launched a popular goat milk cheese line shortly after taking over the company.

Goat Cheese Ready for Labeling

Goat Cheese Ready for Labeling

Morningland had six employees and other farming families dependent upon the continuance of the cheese plant. On August 26th, 2010, it came to a screeching halt.

While Joseph and Denise were at a cheese making conference in Washington State, the plant manager received a call from the Missouri Milk Board stating that there was an issue of potential contamination found by the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) in Morningland cheese.

The cooler of $250,000 worth of cheese was immediately put under embargo, more accurately understood as house arrest, by the Missouri Milk Board. Don Falls, an inspector for the Milk Board, told the plant manager, “You should be back up and running by early next week.” Obviously, that wasn’t true. As a matter of fact, the very next morning, presumably after he spoke with the FDA, Falls’ entire attitude changed.

Over the weekend, the FDA leaked a nation wide recall on all of Morningland’s cheese produced in 2010. Not just the two batches that California indicated might be “suspect” for contamination, but their entire year’s production. Most of the cheese implicated as “suspect” by California had already been consumed. No complaints or ill effects were reported by any of the consumers of any of Morningland’s cheese. Nonetheless, the FDA required all of their products to be recalled.

 Cheese in Morningland's Cooler In Happier Days

Cheese in Morningland’s Cooler In Happier Days

Death by Bureaucracy

 Very few people realize the FDA has an armed and very military aspect. They showed up at Morningland in camouflage and made a lovely impression on those able to be at the unveiling of the future of food safety “FDA style”.

The FDA and Milk Board worked hand in hand to ensure that this little cheese plant in the midst of the Missouri Ozarks, that hadn’t made anyone sick in 30 years, would never make another batch of cheese for their loyal customers. Yet the FDA, who admit to killing 100,000 people a year, are allowed to gain ever more control over everything we take into our bodies. So the tally on deaths over the 30 year history of Morningland Dairy versus the FDA is:  Morningland “Zero”, FDA “3 Million”…or somewhere near that.

Despite significant effort, the FDA found no contamination in any cracks or drains in the cheese plant or even on the legs of the milk talk in the dairy barn. This evidence was not allowed to be introduced as part of Morningland’s defense because the Missouri Attorney General’s office contended that the FDA “was a separate issue.”

When pointedly asked what the specific process for getting the cheese plant back into production was, the Milk Board representative said it would involve a panel and consultation with the FDA to determine if that were a possibility. The members of the panel, other than the Milk Board and the FDA, and the specific requirements and processes were never delineated and no effort to achieve anything other than the destruction of the plant was ever evidenced by any official arm of the State of Missouri.

Neither the State of Missouri or the FDA ever conducted any tests on Morningland’s cheese. As a matter of fact, when Morningland tried to contract with a State approved lab to do proper tests on batches of their cheese, they were told that the lab simply did not want to get involved in the controversy. Morningland was denied the ability to legitimately test their product and defend their livelihood.

Adding insult to injury, Milk Board employee Don Falls testified in court and under oath that improperly collected cheese samples, taken with no supervision and no instruction by an employee of Morningland for the plant’s manager, were in fact the State’s own tests.  This remains a very sore point for Joseph Dixon. He says, “When one commits perjury and no one in authority will hold them accountable for it, that individual and the system they support are nothing more than liars and thieves. In this case, the theft is of our ability to provide for our family and is based on bearing false witness to harm people who have harmed no one.”

Real Life Costs

 While bureaucrats masquerading as “protectors of public health” continue to be paid every month for the tortures they put people through, those being raped and pillaged by the very system that is supposed to “protect” them have to somehow come to terms with the fact that their very own tax dollars are being used to continue the offense.

When it became clear to the Dixons that the Missouri Milk Board was unwilling to work with them toward any resolution that would allow the cheese plant to resume operation or allow for the least bit of recompense for the $250,000 of cheese in the cooler, not even deeming the cheese safe for ultra high pasteurization to be put into dog food, Joseph contacted his previous employer and went back to work as an electrician….away from his home and family.

The Dixons, parents to 12 children, steeled themselves to do what they admonished their children to do. To stand for what was right no matter what the odds against them were. After their appeal for trial by jury was denied, they knew that they would need to face a State Agency, represented by the State Attorney, in front of judges appointed by the State. While they hoped that truth would prevail and that reality would actually be addressed, they didn’t go into this battle wearing rose colored glasses.

Initially, after over five weeks of dumping milk, some of their adult children milked the cows and Morningland sold into the commercial pasteurized chain, trying to make the farm pay for itself. When milk prices plummeted and the cost of feed soared, the decision to close the milk barn down was made. But the Dixons still needed to make the payment on the property they couldn’t use to make a living with any longer. They also had to pay to keep the cheese cooler running as the cheese was still under house arrest and effectively a ward of the State.

With Joseph again away from home during the week, and all the expense of keeping things in tact on the farm, things were difficult. Then Denise’s father became bed-ridden and her mother broke her ankle, so Denise and the younger children went to Ohio to care for her parents.

While the State employees continued to collect their wages, Denise Dixon nursed her mother back to wellness and cared for her father until he passed away. During this time, she had to make a couple of trips back to Missouri to face charges of contempt and allegations of attempting to sell illegal product.

None of the human issues in the disruption of lives and the stress of such assaults by the State seem to be taken into account when figuring the costs of these kinds of actions.

Should one believe the deductions set forth by Missouri’s Courts in this case, and take as fact the aspersions and allegations cast against Morningland in the court transcripts, the conclusion could be drawn that the State was the “Knight in Shining Armor” protecting the unwitting public against immoral people trying to poison their customers with products they created to be harmful.

But the truth is, the truth of the matter doesn’t matter. At least not to agents of the State of Missouri, but the People of Missouri generally hold a different opinion.

“Admittedly,” says Denise, “some of the tactics employed and the characterization of us running a “filthy” facility with “diseased animals” stunned us, but our Father is still in charge, and our hope is not in justice being served in man’s system.”

The End is Near

After exhausting all appeals, the cheese, still being kept cool in the refrigerator at Morningland Dairy, is set to be fully destroyed by the agents of the State, the Missouri Milk Board, on January 25th, 2013.

Two and a half years later, one could reasonably argue that the untended cheese has already been destroyed, and to some extent, that would be accurate. Just imagine that you close your refrigerator door and don’t get permission to look into it for 2 ½ years. How would that look to you? While pickles or olives might still be alright, it is highly likely that your dairy products would be a little bit off after such neglect, right?

Denise Dixon said, “After 6 months, the Colby was already gone, and that was about one fourth of the total cheese inventory. After not tending to it, no turning, no repackaging, no monitoring, at least half the cheddar has been ruined. The destruction has already taken place. Our family business, our livelihood, and our ability to provide people with living, positive food has been destroyed.”

Morningland's Cooler Now

Morningland’s Cooler Now

The Missouri Milk Board has ordered two dumpsters to be delivered to Morningland Dairy. So the cheese, which is “not fit for dog food”, will be put into dumpsters and delivered to a landfill to be consumed by wildlife which evidently are immune to the pathogens feared to be present.

Morningland Dairy will never be in business again.

No offer has been made by the Milk Board to prescribe the conditions that would need to be met by the operators to allow them to resume business. The Judge presiding over the case originally did write a regulatory prescription from the bench that was completely implausible for anyone to meet. It included a requirement to insure that no milking animal had bacteria indicative of potential mastitis at all prior to milking the animal.

To put that one judicial regulation into perspective, allow me to draw a parallel for those unfamiliar with milking animals. You milk twice a day, every day. The milk is “commingled” into one tank. So, imagine this….before sending your child to school, you must take a nasal swab and have it cultured to ensure that your child is not harboring a potential bacterial infection before boarding the bus. You would have to pay for this lab technician to be present every morning and for the tests. When your child came home in the afternoon, the same process would be repeated. You would have the immense pleasure of paying for this and keeping the records to validate the bacterial level present at each measuring.

While the scenario imagined above may not be literally impossible, it is certainly improbable, and it would be impossible to have any profit above the cost of production in such a scenario. But that wasn’t all that this judge set forth as regulation for Morningland from behind the bench, with no comprehension of dairy production or cheese-making  The other prescriptions the judge made would have cost more than $100,000 in hard costs, with additional continuing costs for excessive testing during the cheese-making process. He also still required the destruction of all cheese in the cooler, not allowing any batches to be cleared through testing. Additionally, the Missouri Milk Board never indicated that they would accept Morningland returning to production even if they did comply with the Judge Dunlap’s outlandish prescriptions.

The Missouri Milk Board nor the FDA have offered any process by which Morningland might be allowed to resume business and the courts have seemingly upheld Judge Dunlap’s regulating from the bench.

The Battle Is Over

Joseph and Denise Dixon of Morningland Dairy have given everything to this fight. Battling the State wasn’t really about them at all, but about our nation, our freedom, and our ability to choose food for ourselves and for our families that is truly nourishing and real. They held nothing back, but finally, the repeated systemic attacks have run their full course, and the dreams, hopes and labors of love poured into Morningland have succumbed.

As Joseph Dixon has summarized, “The state of Missouri has 6 million people from whom they draw tribute (taxes), from which they could fight us. To fight them, we had 65 cows.  And the truth never seemed even to be a consideration, let alone a goal.”

The Dixons no longer have those cows. They no longer have the cheese. They no longer have the family business and have lost all Joseph’s retirement savings, which the cheese represented. They are left with a skeleton. A milk barn with no cows, and a cheese plant with no milk, nor permission to ever make cheese again.

On January 25th, friends and family will witness the pulling of the plug on the cooler and the removal of the $250,000 worth of food created to nourish but prevented from fulfilling it’s purpose by bureaucracy and science based standards that have no basis in true science.

Rest In Peace, Morningland. Righteous judgment will come.

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For more information about the fight for Food Freedom visit TruthFarmer.com .

 You can also donate to help the family begin the next segment of their lives.

Need some comments on this Riverfront Times blog article

Circuit Court Ruling Puts Raw Milk Cheesemaker Out of Business

The Cheese House at Morningland of the Ozarks is no more.

The battle over raw-milk cheese has come home to Missouri. On Tuesday the Howell County Circuit Court upheld a ruling by the Missouri State Milk Board that Morningland of the Ozarks, a dairy in Mountain View, would have to destroy all the raw-milk cheeses it produced between January and June 2010, when traces of two bacteria, Listeria monocytogenes and Staphylococcus aureus, were found in samples taken from a store in California.

The decision effectively spells the end of the road for Morningland.

“Morningland had been in business for 30 years,” says Doreen Hannes, a spokeswoman for the dairy. “In that time, zero incidents of people getting sick from their raw-milk cheese have been reported, or even rumored.” [Read the rest of the article here, and please make some comments]

 

The Truth of the Matter Doesn’t Matter – Doreen Hannes

The Truth of the Matter Doesn’t Matter

© Doreen Hannes

On February 26th, I received word that the verdict had come in on Morningland of the Ozarks court case. Late on Sunday night I received the documents. [Order and Judgment here and Order on Permanent Injunction here]. It took a little digesting, but one thing was clear straight out of the gate; if we want justice, we aren’t going to get it without a jury of our peers. Morningland was denied a jury trial.

Interestingly, in the section requesting that there be “Burden of Proof” to destroy the cheese, the judge finds that it’s unnecessary. He says, “judicial review probes only the lawfulness of an agency’s order without consideration of its reasonableness”. Further, he states, “The court finds no authority suggesting the State must prove defendant’s cheese unfit for human consumption…”, and also that the because of the “unsanitary surroundings” the “court must disregard the absence of sickness among consumers of defendant’s cheeses.” Reason, logic and actual illness and, evidently, due process are irrelevant if an agency decides to act against you.

The Charges

Morningland was charged with violating statute RSMo 196.545 by selling “Unlawful Dairy Products”. Here is that statute with the AG’s assertions in italics and the cites from the judge in bold:

Unlawful sale of dairy products.

196.545. It shall be unlawful to sell, offer or expose for sale, or deliver manufacturing milk or any dairy products made from manufacturing milk which:

(1) Are produced by animals afflicted with a contagious or infectious disease deleterious to man or detrimental to milk quality;

(2) Are not colostrum free or which have been taken from a cow fed or in contact with any substance that is unhealthful or that may produce unhealthful, impure or unwholesome milk;

(3) Are adulterated by the addition of any unauthorized substance including water or other material foreign to milk;

(4) Have been handled by any person afflicted with an infectious or contagious disease; or

(5) Are produced in unhealthy or unsanitary surroundings or held in unclean or unsanitary containers.

Since he used one cite that was actually brought up by the AG’s office, we’ll deal with that one first.

Don Falls was the inspector for Morningland Dairy and came to the farmstead cheese plant once or twice a year to inspect the operation. Whenever an inspector inspects, they find something to put in their report. There is no perfect place and even the cleanest dairies I have ever seen get a mark up for “something” in any inspection. While Falls admitted that Morningland had made a lot of improvements on the property since the Dixons took over as General Managers, he cited their cheese harp (the thing that cuts the curds) as needing to be replaced. He also cited that there were areas of the concrete floor at doorways that needed to be painted. Even though a very thorough swabbing by the FDA, including the cheese harp and under the molding around the floors, revealed no listeria in the plant, the Judge found that Morningland’s Cheese was produced in “unsanitary surroundings”. So if you have older equipment, it is likely to be deemed unsanitary in Missouri.

Now the second finding is really the most interesting. First of all, it wasn’t brought up by the AG’s office and secondly, the logic applied is astonishing. It follows the deductive reasoning of, “God is love and love is blind; Ray Charles is blind therefore Ray Charles is God.”

In that vein, here’s the break down of the judge’s evident logic. Morningland had one spike in SCC (somatic cell count) in one month out of twelve. The “dairy expert” testified that a spike indicates a herd health problem. Morningland sold cows. Therefore, the cows that were sold were diseased cows.

So, one spike plus one idiotic comment plus sold cows equals diseased cows.

Makes perfect sense, right?

Don’t Sell Cows if You Need Money

The testimony of Tim Wightman, the “dairy expert” brought in by Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund, was highly significant in the judge’s decision. Wightman has written a book and is working with many others to set National Raw Milk Standards that incorporate many of the ideals in his book. His testimony sometimes left the dairy farmers in the court audience with their heads shaking “no” and jaws hanging open in disbelief.

Prior to Wightman’s testimony, the AG cross-examined Denise Dixon and showed their intent to malign the Dixons for selling cows in late September. Remember Morningland had been shut down on August 26th and had to dump their milk for five and a half weeks awaiting the Missouri Milk Board’s okay to ship into the commercial milk chain. The AG asked Denise, “Why did you sell cows?” Denise replied, “We were financially stricken.”

They certainly were financially stricken. When you have dairy animals, they need to be tended. The Dixons had no income and all the continued expenses of running a dairy farm and a cheese plant (minus the employees) so they were forced to sell some dry cows to keep feeding their other cows. It happens every day. It’s a logical thing to do when faced with financial difficulties. It’s called cutting down on overhead.

Watch Out for Experts

Tim Wightman, the expert witness, testified that if there is an elevated SCC it is indicative of a potentially serious herd health problem. One spike in 12 months does not indicate a herd health problem. Two spikes in a row might very well be indicative of a problem, but one is a fluke and should be given all the intensive scrutiny reserved for an unlucky roll of the dice. Morningland’s SCC counts averaged in the 5-600k range, well below the State level of 750k, and the months following this spike were in line with their average.

Wightman’s standards are that SCC’s should always be under 300k, and no spikes are allowed. The problem with this is that we are talking about living animals with their own immune system, and both environmental and biological stresses can elevate SCC’s. 300k is a good ideal and should probably be pursued, but despite Mr. Wightman’s belief, it is not a requirement for good raw dairy. Testifying in court that your book’s statement of “no milk with an SCC higher than 300k should be used for raw dairy” is accurate is simply dishonest, and has proven to be fatal to Morningland Dairy.

The most stunning thing about Wightman’s testimony was when the Attorney General’s Counsel asked if selling cows would reduce the somatic cell count and he replied, “Yes.”

This was when the dairy farmers jaws were dropping. Mine included.

Really, Tim? Selling cows reduces the SCC? No qualifications in the equation? Selling cows reduces the SCC? Dry cows? Really?

Based on this statement of the “dairy expert”, the judge has ruled that Morningland had diseased cows in their herd and sold them to avoid detection. Those dry cows were obviously the source of contamination that led to Morningland’s problems. Never mind that they exhibited no symptoms, testing or proof, and no one became ill. Evidence is unnecessary.

Nice.

Do we really want these “National Raw Milk Standards”? Who will benefit?

Now Judges Regulate from the Bench

In the Final Order of Permanent Injunction, the judge prescribes what Morningland Dairy is to do if they desire to enter into commerce in cheese ever again. Oddly enough, the judge’s prescriptions are taken directly from a conversation with a noted cheese consultant that occurred in the presence of Don Falls of the Missouri Milk Board and myself. Almost verbatim.

Despite the judge’s admission in the Judgment that it would be unreasonable to ask the Milk Board to test each batch of cheese before destroying it, he requires that Morningland Dairy test each batch of cheese prior to offering it for sale. So the one’s with no investment don’t have to verify anything to destroy it, but those who have borne the cost and time to bring it to the point of sale must incur additional expense. Oh, and they must test the cheese prior to the 60th day of aging, as well.

Despite citing the fact that the FDA found no listeria in their swabbing, Morningland must foam ceilings, floors, equipment and all utensils with a listeria killing foam and install listeria killing foggers in their plant.

The judge also prescribes temperatures at which to age the cheese, and that cheeses in the process of aging must be in a separate cooler from those that have already aged. A commingling prohibition on cheeses in various stages of maturation is now ordered by a court.

Additionally, and most unreasonably, Morningland must “verify that no animal for use in the production of Defendant’s cheese is infected with mastitis”. How could this even be done? Prior to milking, a veterinarian with a microscope and all proper accoutrements must be present and each cow must be tested and wait to be milked until the vet has ascertained whether or not there is “mastitis” present.

Put simply, there is no way that anyone can make farmstead cheese under the conditions set forth by the judge in this ruling. But that’s been the desire of the Missouri Milk Board as agents of the FDA all along. They are doing just what the FDA wants them to do and the State of Missouri is acting in full agreement with the Federal agency which states “Raw dairy is inherently dangerous and should never be consumed by anyone, at any time, for any reason.”

Next Steps in this Case

The future of raw dairy in Missouri hangs on this case. While the judge acknowledged that he received the notice that Morningland has gone private and will not be engaging in commerce any longer thereby removing themselves from the jurisdiction of the Missouri Milk Board, he cites a statute that he claims disallows them from doing so.

The judge says that “to the extent that defendant purports an exemption of a new entity from regulatory requirements, the court notices RSMo 196.595 to the contrary…” So what does RSM0 196.595 say?

196.595. Beginning September 28, 1981, no person shall produce, sell, offer for sale or process milk or cream for the manufacture of human food except in accordance with the provisions of sections 196.520 to 196.610 and the regulations promulgated hereunder.”

If we don’t get this ruling overturned, or an amendment to this statute removing “person” from the control of the Milk Board, we can look forward to the Missouri Milk Board promulgating regulations regarding what you can do with your own milk in your own kitchen. Want to make some home-made mozzarella? You’ll have to follow all the regulations the Missouri Milk Board wants you to follow.

Despite FDA assertions, desires, requirements and fears, I will make cheese if I want to, and I will not ask for permission from any agency. I’m just kind of stubborn that way. If you look around this state I bet you’ll find a lot more very stubborn people.

There are supposed to be 30 days to make a Motion for Reconsideration that will likely be followed by an Appeal in this case. According to Pete Kennedy of the Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund it could take up to a year in the appeal process. By that time Morningland’s cheddar cheese ought to be sharp enough to cut through the bones of the Missouri Milk Board and the FDA. But the Milk Board has just informed the Dixons that they want to come in and destroy the cheese in their cooler on March 9th and 10th.

Who needs laws and procedures? Now we not only have no due process, we have no appeal, we have no system left in real food but tyranny.

Morningland Dairy…..Closing Arguments and Closing Business While Tryng to Make Lemonade out of Lemons

©Doreen Hannes

The closing arguments for the January 11th and 12th trial were submitted by both the Missouri Attorney General’s office and Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund. The Attorney General’s office decided to throw in additional testimony from Joseph Frank, the expert cheese killer, in an attempt to rebut Dr. Ted Beals’ testimony. Should the Judge allow this testimony, it will lengthen the time for decision because the Defense will need to cross-examine Frank again and have that submitted to the Court.

These arguments really don’t contain any surprises from either side. In a nut shell, the AG’s office says that Morningland’s cheese is a public threat and Morningland is guilty of making life threatening food, and failing to roll over and die at the suggestion of the Missouri Milk Board. The State also asserts that Morningland has been guilty of operating an unsanitary and even filthy plant.

Morningland’s defense argues that the State is acting outside of the constraints of the law and has not followed proper procedure nor proven that Morningland’s cheese is a threat to the public, and that Morningland is and has been a clean and sanitary facility. The defense asks for monetary relief, although that request is far below the actual cost incurred by the business’s closure.

No one actually knows how long the judge may take to render his decision regarding the destruction of the cheese Morningland has been keeping under house arrest since the August 26th shut down. It could be a week, a month or two months.

Meanwhile, Morningland Dairy LLC has dissolved.

The General Managers for Morningland Dairy, Joseph and Denise Dixon, have been trying to hang on since the State shut down their livelihood. Joseph has been traveling out of state working as an electrician to keep their family afloat while their life’s work and wealth is held in limbo by the Milk Board’s “condemnation, embargo and seizure” order. The six employees of Morningland and the investors in the company have also been robbed of at least part of their livelihood. In a broader view, a very economically depressed area has been dealt another financial blow by unreasonable regulations and untenable enforcement actions.

In a sense, the State of Missouri and the FDA have won. In another sense, they have lost. Through their policies and “science based” (not scientifically accurate) enforcement measures, they have killed a viable business dealing in interstate commerce, which is a win for them. However, the ex-General Managers of Morningland Dairy are not actually dying the death the regulatory agencies desire. They are going private, and expect to be making and shipping their cheese in early or mid-summer…So this is a win for individual choice, which is a loss for the regulators.

Since there is no indication at all that the FDA and their State counterparts are going to revisit their policies or conviction that raw dairy is “inherently dangerous and should never be consumed by anyone for any reason”, the Dixons have turned in their license for the cheese plant to the Missouri Milk Board. How can anyone have a reasonable expectation of profiting from their labor when, despite strong evidence to the contrary, the agencies regulating a product view it as “inherently dangerous”? Obviously, you can’t. The FDA’s motto should be, “If it’s good for you, we won’t allow you to have it. We are fulfilling our vision of public health-Sit down, shut up, and eat your GMO rations.”

Because of the lack of decency and intelligence exhibited by the regulatory agencies, the proponents of real food are increasingly boxed into a corner. The only logical and peaceable thing to do is to remove oneself from regulatory authority and go to direct private sale. If the agencies decide to literally outlaw real food, they may simply start a full on revolt. The escalation of the raw dairy war being waged by the FDA against the people has brought tremendous awareness to the issue of real food and real choice. This is important not only to those who enjoy real food, but to those who value freedom. Whether the agencies like it or not, we have an inalienable right to eat food without their interference or permission.

The Dixon’s ability to actually begin to make their cheese again is resting upon the judge’s decision regarding the cheese that has been under arrest for almost six months in their cooler. Should the judge free the cheese, they should be able to sell the very sharp cheddar to individuals wishing to purchase from them. This will hopefully give them enough capital to begin the process of making and aging their cheese again sometime soon. While this approach should eventually allow Joseph Dixon to return home and be with his family, it’s not likely that the six employees of Morningland will get back to their previous jobs.

At this point, the actual determination of the winners and losers in this case rests upon the individual Citizens of the Republic. If we are committed to preserving our food choices to ourselves, and opposed to allowing bureaucrats the authority to decide what we will eat, we will support Morningland’s move to direct private trade. We can get some real cheese made by real people using real ingredients that have actually been designed for human consumption. The agencies can regulate “commerce” and licensed entities, but they cannot regulate our thoughts…If we allow them to do so, we have lost already.

 

Morningland Dairy 1st Day in Court–Update

Doreen Hannes

January 11, 2011

Today was Morningland Dairy’s first day in court. Getting into the court room was almost like trying to get on an airplane, except for no one ‘touched your junk’, and I didn’t see any naked scanners there. You simply couldn’t even bring in a purse, laptop, cell phone or bottle of water.  The law enforcement monitoring entry seemed to ease up a bit as the day wore on, but at first it was pretty durn tense out in the entry area.

Roughly forty five people were in the audience, and it filled the little spectator’s vestibule in the Howell County Missouri Court House.  The unusual number in the audience drew Judge Dunlap’s attention and he commented upon it during his opening instructions on proper court room decorum.  The presence of so many people  on a very cold day when all area schools were closed because of questionable roads illustrates the importance of this case to the residents of South Central Missouri.

While this is just a small update for those who have been supportive of the dairy, there is a tremendous amount of detail that was covered in the testimony given today. The majority of the day was taken up with the testimony of Gene Wiseman, Executive Secretary of the Missouri Milk Board, and Don Falls, Environmental Specialist and lead Missouri Milk Board investigator and inspector of Morningland Dairy plant.

In my opinion, Gary Cox, attorney for Morningland from Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund, did a pretty good job on cross-examination. As many of you know, I have been somewhat critical of Mr. Cox in the past, and I simply want to give credit where credit is due.  He did a good job today. So, a hat tip to Gary Cox is in order, and I will give it!

Wiseman stated that he ordered an embargo on Morningland Dairy’s cheese without any actual knowledge of contamination. That he had never scheduled a destruction date with Morningland, and that the State of Missouri had assumed all FDA documents, except for the one Cox showed him about investigations of dairy facilities. There is no state statute or regulation that categorically states that Missouri has accepted and adopted all FDA guidelines or standards….and the Attorney General’s office tried to disallow questioning about the FDA as hearsay. But since Don Falls worked with the FDA on their investigation of Morningland, it was allowed after all.

Judge Dunlap is rather unorthodox in his courtroom manner. Initially I thought he was entirely too helpful and lenient with the Attorney General’s office. I have never seen a Judge help to rephrase counsel’s questions after objection in the way that he did.  But he showed the same latitude with Mr. Cox’s cross examination, so I think it is just his demeanor and it wasn’t apparent to me that he was showing bias in favor of the prosecution. Additionally, his questions for his clarification of the two Missouri Milk Board witnesses were germane, intelligent, and astute. So it doesn’t appear on its face that we are actually dealing with a foregone conclusion in favor of the State in this case.

All  who are able to attend the trial in the morning, (9am Central) just a few hours from this writing, are encouraged to do so.  While the pace of today’s proceedings seems to indicate that the trial would have to continue into Thursday, it is scheduled to wrap up on Wednesday the 12th of January, 2010. All who attended today are deeply appreciated!

I will do  a more thorough overview of the court case itself in the next couple of days, but not being allowed a laptop for note taking purposes makes this part of my job a little more difficult! Just remember, if you come to the Howell County Court House, leave everything outside in your car except for your keys. You can put those in the little bucket and walk through the detector.

Tyranny……Is That What’s For Dinner? – Doreen Hannes

Tyranny……Is That What’s For Dinner?

©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 ole 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 as  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.”

I like my dairy like I like my freedom. Raw.

Morningland Dairy Gets Ready to Go to Court—

Morningland Dairy Gets Ready to Go to Court—

December 6th, 2010

©Doreen Hannes

As we’ve been watching Senate Bill 510 for the past several weeks, going from hither to yon with much angst amongst the various food activist groups regarding the ability of the Tester Amendment to ‘help’ (or NOT) independent agriculture, other things have been going on. Morningland Dairy, for instance, has entered the next phase of their fight to be able to continue to make cheese that the FDA thinks “poses an acute and life threatening danger” because it is made from raw milk, and hasn’t had a single report of illness associated with the dairy in 30 years of production. (You can read more about it here)

Morningland is charged with three violations by the Missouri Attorney General’s office on behalf of the Missouri Milk Board. They are charged with, “Unlawful Sale of Dairy Products”, “Failure to Comply with a Destruction Order”, and “Unlawful Interference with Milk Board Duties”.  The Missouri Milk Board claims that there is no procedure in place to appeal the decision of the Milk Board, and that belief is actually responsible for all three charges levied against Morningland Dairy, since they haven’t made or sold any of their cheese since the Milk Board first placed an embargo on their product on August 26th.

Last week the State of Missouri brought in their first expert for a deposition. This was John Frank, who reportedly was to demonstrate that Morningland Dairy’s cheese should all be condemned because it is a single line production facility. It’s my understanding that his deposition didn’t actually prove that to be the conclusion a reasonable person would arrive at when considering the evidence in the case.

Next, the State desires to depose the principals Of Morningland Dairy. Those being Joseph and Denise Dixon, co-owners and General Managers of Morningland Dairy, and Jedadiah York, the Plant Manger. Mr. York and Mrs. Dixon are readily available for deposition, but Morningland’s attorney, Gary Cox, of Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund wants to be present at their depositions to be able to assert proper procedure in defense of his clients. He is only able to be present for a few days in December and early January, and the Missouri Attorney General’s office isn’t pleased with such limited access to the objects of their affection….so they have requested that the counsel sponsoring Cox into Missouri take the position of defending Morningland in their depositions.

The Missouri Attorney General’s office is going to have a bit more difficulty in getting a deposition from Joseph Dixon in this suit. As if having to dump their milk for nearly six weeks wasn’t enough, the Missouri Milk Board has prohibited Morningland from resuming production to keep this family run farmstead cheese plant providing for the families dependent upon it for their livelihood. Mr. Dixon insisted that their counsel inform the Attorney General’s office that he was unavailable for deposition in the following manner:

“Unfortunately, Joe Dixon is not available for deposition.  Since the state has put his family’s cheese making business out of business Joe has to work out of state to support his family.  This week Joe is working in Maryland, next week he is working in Alabama and the week after that I understand he is working in Florida.  To give you an idea of what the state has done to the Dixon family, Joe has to leave his family on the weekend, travel all night to get to his place of work, then work all week before returning home on the weekend.  He then leaves home again, let’s say for Maryland, and drives all night to get to his place of work.  Thus, Joe is not available for depositions unless you wish to travel to Maryland, Alabama or to Florida after first serving him with a subpoena.  Moreover, Joe finds it perverse that he has to work to support his family and then the state collects taxes from him so that those tax dollars can be used by the state to harass he and his family and deprive them of a livelihood. Finally, any information you would need from Joe would be available from Denise.” (emphasis added-otherwise sic)

In the Deep South, there’s a colloquialism that is used to sum this kind of statement up…With the actions of the Congress and the agencies they empower, it sure looks like many more of us will have the opportunity to use this expression…”And that’s how the cow ate the cabbage!”