It’s All Suspect-Let’s Destroy It!

©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.

Discrepancies

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.

Transparency?

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.

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5 responses to “It’s All Suspect-Let’s Destroy It!

  1. Very interesting, Doreen.
    You inspired me to do a little study of my own and I decided to look into the Missouri Milk Board. It’s probably safe to assume that most of the staffers are typical bureaucrats, but the Board of Directors are political appointees that might well be bringing their own agendas.
    Take for example Mr. Randy Mooney. He’s listed as a milk producer from Rogersville, Missouri. Apparently has a little 188-acre dairy farm. Sounds like just another country Joe, doesn’t he? Well, a little internet searching shows that he is also chairman of the board and member of the executive committee of Dairy Farmers of America, a huge manufacturer of cheese and other dairy products. He is also chairman of the National Milk Producers Federation and besides the Missouri Milk Board also serves on the boards of the Missouri Dairy Association, the Southern Marketing Agency, the Dairy Cooperative Marketing Association, Inc., the Milk Processor Education Program, and Dairy Promotion, Inc. I don’t think that any of these are fans of raw dairy.
    Now you might ask yourself, as I did, “how does this man find time to run his little ol’ dairy farm back in Missouri?” Well, a little more searching turns up the fact that he actually co-owns the farm with a Mr. & Mrs. Kent Miller, and I’ll bet those cows see a lot more of the Millers than they ever do of Randy.
    All of which proves not much of anything, but I think that there is a lesson to be learned here, about quite a number of things. It’s easy to see how giant corporations could control government agencies if they wanted to.

  2. Please, let’s not jump straight into conspiracy theories. I think Mike put it best when he said “All of which proves not much of anything,…”. Let’s not start to sound like the loonies that the raw milk supporters are expected to sound like. What the Dixon family is doing on their farm is totally legal, and I’d just like to see them get back into business. Rawsome was operating without a permit against California and federal laws. I’m sorry Morningland ever did business with them, and they probably are, too.

    Having said that, I agree that the testing has been shoddy, and deserves a second look. As a Missouri consumer, and a consumer of Morningland Dairy’s products, I’ve sent a request to Missouri Attorney General Koster’s office, asking them to look into the quality and legality of the testing done on Morningland’s products that threaten to put a Missouri dairy out of business. I don’t assume I’ll get far with that, but I think it’s a better approach than posting a bunch of facts that lead to no conclusions, just further, possibly accusatory, speculation.

    I wish the Dixon family all the luck possible. I’ve donated money, read what I can find, and written my request to Missouri officials. I hope some folks following this story will also try to be of assistance, and remain level-headed while doing so.

    Thanks,
    Susie Peace
    Springfield area consumer

  3. Now, now, Susie.

    Your calling me names is not going to help Morningland any, and name-calling is name-calling, whether it’s done in a nice, civilized, reasonable tone, as you did, or not.

    If you prefer to believe that this is all Rawsome Foods’ fault for not getting a permit then so be it.

  4. con·spir·a·cy n.
    1. An agreement to perform together an illegal, wrongful, or subversive act.

    Anyone who does NOT believe that government agencies are performing a wrongful, or subversive act has either not done much research or is “loony” themselves, not the ones who unveil these conspiracy facts. They are conspiracy facts, not “theories” with all the evidence against them.
    Not that that is nessesarily the case here but there seem to at least be some conflicts of interests.
    To imply that Rawesome Foods is the villain here makes me question the motivation of “Susie Peace’s” post, for those that have not seen the Rawesome Foods raid, do a search on youtube
    Susie Peace please tell me why Rawesome Foods should not be able to provide raw foods to members; with or without a permit?
    per·mit v.
    1. To allow the doing of (something); consent to
    2. To grant consent or leave to (someone); authorize:
    Exactly who’s consent or authorization do we need to consume the foods we choose?
    David 1776ers.com

  5. Mike, you know that the FDA s aid in answer to a suit by FTCLFD:
    * “There is no absolute right to consume or feed children any particular food.” [p. 25]

    * “There is no ‘deeply rooted’ historical tradition of unfettered access to foods of all kinds.” [p. 26]

    * “Plaintiffs’ assertion of a ‘fundamental right to their own bodily and physical health, which includes what foods they do and do not choose to consume for themselves and their families’ is similarly unavailing because plaintiffs do not have a fundamental right to obtain any food they wish.”

    The rest is at this link
    http://www.farmtoconsumer.org/litigation-FDA-status.htm

    Grace and peace,
    Sharon

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