©Doreen Hannes 2010
As the Colby at Morningland Dairy “goes over the hill”, the issues that brought this little farmstead cheese plant to the forefront in the FDA war on raw dairy continue to grow. As a wise man, once said, “Truth is stranger than fiction.” The intrigue doesn’t dissipate at all with the increase in information. The tests, methods and procedures that began this tragedy are very questionable.
The test results on the product seized from Rawesome by the CDFA (California Department of Food and Agriculture) show reports for two types of cheese attributed to Morningland Dairy. The scientific information on these reports are heavily redacted and lack the detail that would have been required to pass a college course on Biology….at a reputable school, anyway.
The first thing that strikes one as extremely odd about the reports is that neither one of them cite the name of the company in the product description. Secondly, there are no batch numbers for the cheese. These indicate the production date of food and help isolate potential problem areas. Thirdly, while they cite two types of cheese, there are two photocopies of the same one-pound block of Morningland Dairy Garlic Colby showing it’s weight as .87 lb. The only real information on the tests are the two types of cheese. One recorded as “raw milk Colby hot pepper” and the other as “raw milk cheese garlic”. Because of these oddities, I asked for the invoices for Rawesome’s purchases from Morningland prior to the June raid.
After receiving the invoices, I found that Rawesome (invoiced to James Stewart) purchased cheese in October and November of 2009, and May and June of 2010. The invoices reveal Rawesome purchased Morningland Dairy Hot Pepper Colby in ½ pound blocks, but there was no picture of this cheese with the CDFA lab report. The majority of cheese purchased by Rawesome from Morningland Dairy was goat cheese, which runs under Morningland’s Ozark Hills label. All cheeses invoiced to Rawesome were in ½ pound packages, and Morningland had sold no “Morningland Dairy Garlic Colby” to Rawesome, at all. So where did this one-pound block of Garlic Colby in the CDFA picture come from?
After finding these anomalies, Denise Dixon contacted the CDFA for more information on the tests conducted on Morningland Dairy or Ozark Hills products seized from Rawesome. She contacted Dr. Stephen Beam via email, and was told that only two samples of Morningland products were taken and that no samples of Ozark Hills (Morningland Dairy’s Goat cheese line) were collected. So, they sampled a type of cheese that was never sold to Rawesome and had none of the most recent order of Ozark Hills goat cheese in their inventory at all. Hmm, says I. The most recent invoice to Rawesome was entirely Morningland’s Ozark Hills goat cheese.
Interestingly, when you go through the inventory of seized items written by the CDFA, there are six items (59, 75, 76, 78, 79 and 80) that fit Morningland Dairy’s cheese descriptions. The product that was tested by CDFA and never sold to Rawesome is listed twice and numbered as 59 and 80 in the CDFA inventory. It says underneath number 59’s description “gallic colby” and is followed by “5”. We don’t know what “5” actually means, but one would think it would be either a number of packages or a weight. Some of the seized products have a weight associated with their description and some do not. There are two other entries on the inventory by CDFA stating “Morningland Dairy”, but on both of those, “Morningland” is crossed out, and one of them (item 80) is the never sold to Rawesome Garlic Colby. Next to that entry is written “54”. Again, we don’t know what the “54” means. 54 packages? 54 pounds? 54 ounces? 54 grams? Who knows? Those who should know, like Dr. Beam, aren’t telling.
The statement by Dr. Beam that there were no other samples of Morningland or Ozark Hills product collected by CDFA just doesn’t make sense. The FDA also seized product from Rawesome. Their report clearly states that they took “10 subs (16 oz) of Morningland Dairy Raw Milk Cheese-Mild Cheddar from Mountain View, MO.” Despite not knowing what “subs” are (yes, I know, the sandwiches, but this is just cheese!) and the fact that Morningland did not sell Rawesome 16oz blocks of cheese, we can verify that Rawesome purchased this type of cheese from Morningland. So it could have actually been taken from Rawesome inventory…just not in 1 pound blocks. Evidently, the FDA’s USPHS (United States Public Health Service) is incriminating CFDA for not following the inventory and failing to take representative samples of ALL dairy products for laboratory testing. Either that, or Doctor Beam and CDFA don’t know how to read labels.
After going through all of these documents, accounting for the fact that no illnesses whatsoever have been attributed to Morningland cheese, and seeing the unprecedented heavy handedness of the Milk Board on Morningland, one must question the motives of these agencies. Businesses should not be defamed and railroaded out of business by such sloppy procedures by agencies. The results of the CDFA ‘investigation’ are seriously suspect; as such, they should be quarantined and subjected to a destruction order. They are obviously a threat to public health.