I stumbled across this story on Facebook this morning:
After a two and a half year legal battle, 15 tons of cheese made and aged near Mountain View was hauled to a dump. To fans of natural foods, it is monumental waste and over-regulation. To Missouri's Milk Board, it's merely protecting public health.
"I see the destruction of what my wife and I and family have worked to build," said Joseph Dixon, owner of Morningland Dairy.
Dixon and his family aren't the only ones outraged by the trashing of about 30,000 pounds of cheese produced on the farm in Howell County.
"You said earlier you would weigh this cheese. How do we know that you're being held accountable gentlemen?" a bystander asked of State Milk Board members.
Members of the State Milk Board, which embargoed the cheese 2 1/2 years ago, arrived to dozens of protestors.
"You have people here today that are saying, hold it! We have questions why, and that's why these people are here, and we appreciate everyone being here," said Dixon.
Details of the story can be read at Morningland Dairy's blog:
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.
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.
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.”
It smells of travesty.
It smells of what America is becoming under progressive leadership.
It smells worse than bad cheese.
God bless the Dixons.
Their blog post ends as follows:
Rest In Peace, Morningland. Righteous judgment will come.
I'd like to say God have mercy on those who will be judged... but I'm not feeling it.
God have mercy on us all.