US Wastes Billions of Dollars of Food

The USDA has done a report on the amount of food wastage in the US. Interestingly, this is at a time right before food prices are going to sky rocket. One thing that has apparently not been addressed in this report is the regulatory and insurance side of the profligate waste we appear to have.

Morningland Dairy was forced to waste about $250,000 dollars of cheese that hadn’t made one person sick in over 30 years. Fast food restaurants throw out huge amounts of food at close and are prohibited from allowing people to getting it even out of the dumpster. People who want to feed the homeless are routinely fined, punished or prevented from doing so because they don’t have permits and licenses that prove they prepare food in a permitted and licensed kitchen.

It could be readily argued that a vast amount of our food is garbage anyway, and therefore going where it should go, but truly not having enough to eat is about to become a reality for a larger percentage of our population than in anytime in recent memory.

There is a massive drought in California, there are 25% of greenhouses that heat with propane that have either shut down or significantly scaled back, the vast majority of chicken houses heat with propane and most of those growers finished what they had and held off on losing everything due to either being unable to afford or in some cases even acquire the propane to heat with. Brazil, the highest global producer of beef and a major exporter of food in many categories is in a drought where rationing of water is occurring in 142 cities. And don’t forget that South Dakota lost around 100,000 cattle and we have cattle populations in the US at 1951 levels.

While we’re throwing all of this away, or being forced to throw it away, we’re looking at massive rises in food costs. Time to learn how to preserve whatever excess we have.

Here’s an article about the USDA wastage report:

Americans trash about 1/3 of their food, worth $161bn – USDA

Published time: February 25, 2014 08:56

AFP Photo / Spencer PlattAFP Photo / Spencer Platt

About 30 percent of the 430 billion pounds of food produced in the United States is wasted, an incredible statistic, especially given the lack of landfill space, not to mention the global menace of world hunger.

The shocking statistic gives a new meaning to the term ‘junk food,’ as Americans are sending 133 billion lbs (60 billion kg) of food to the garbage dump each year. To put it another way, 141 trillion calories annually – or 1,249 calories per capita daily – went uneaten in the United States, according to a report by the US Department of Agriculture.

The top three food groups in terms of the amount of total food loss cost are ranked as follows: meat, poultry, and fish (30 percent); vegetables (19 percent); and dairy products (17 percent). Retail food waste, for example, in grocery stores and restaurants, accounted for 10 percent (43 billion lbs), while consumer losses amounted to 21 percent (90 billion pounds) of the available food supply.

The issue of food loss is becoming a serious topic not just in the United States, but across the world as countries struggle with mounting levels of garbage, while food scarcity among an exploding world population demands a new way of thinking about eating habits.

In 2010, the average American spent $4,016 on food (both for at-home and away-from-home consumption) out of an average disposable income of $36,016, the report, titled ‘The Estimated Amount, Value and Calories of Postharvest Food Losses at the Retail and Consumer Levels in the United States’, noted.

Meanwhile, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than one-third of US adults (35.7 percent) are obese, which is perhaps the best argument that Americans can offset a large part of the food waste problem by simply eating less. The estimated annual medical cost of obesity in the US was $147 billion in 2008; the costs of providing medical assistance for individuals who are obese were $1,429 higher than those of normal weight, thereby placing an enormous strain on healthcare costs.

At the same time, the problem of global food scarcity is gaining the attention of world leaders.

“The United Nations predicts that the world population will reach 9.3 billion by 2050, and this will require a 70 percent increase in food production, net of crops used for biofuels. Currently…the number of food-insecure people reached 802 million in 2012,” the report stated.

The USDA warned that developed countries like the United States – where 49 million people lived in food-insecure households out of a total population of over 305 million – should not take their current level of food security for granted.

“Although most of this population growth will occur in developing countries, developed countries like the United States also face issues of hunger and food insecurity,” it said.

In an effort to attract attention to the problem of food waste, the USDA and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) last year kicked off the US Food Waste Challenge. The United Nations’ Environment Program’s (UNEP) World Environment Day’s central theme was also food waste.

 

AFP Photo / Spencer PlattAFP Photo / Spencer Platt

The report acknowledged that tackling the problem is no easy challenge given the many diverse places where food is distributed, consumed and disposed of.

There are an estimated 119 million households, over a half a million dining establishments, including fast-food outlets, and numerous other locations where people gather to eat, such as schools, institutions, and prisons across the United States, it said.

Eco-hazardous habits

A largely ignored problem associated with our intensely urbanized lifestyles is how to get rid of our food waste in a way that does not inflict long-term damage on the environment. Discarding uneaten food into plastic garbage bags and burying them in landfills only exacerbates the problem.

According to statistics by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), food waste accounted for 34 million tons of some 250 million tons of municipal solid waste in the United States in 2010, with a price tag of about $1.3 billion.

After recycling a number of materials, like metals, plastic and paper, food waste came out on top in terms of what is overloading our garbage dumps, with 21 percent of the total, according to the EPA.

The most worrying problem with landfilling food waste is that it generates methane gas as it decomposes anaerobically. Methane is 21 times more powerful in accelerating global warming than carbon dioxide, according to the EPA as cited in the USDA report.

Landfills account for 34 percent of all human-related methane emissions in the United States
The report pointed to a growing human footprint on the planet as a good reason for nations to start addressing this issue.

The report offered some suggestions on addressing the issue, including expanding on community composting programs, of which there are around 3,510 such initiatives in the US that allow neighborhood residents to leave food scraps and yard trimmings at the curb for a special collection.

At the same time, companies will work to offset food waste if “it is economically justifiable, that is, if the benefits outweigh the costs.”

The report suggested the potential advantages of building “consumer goodwill” for business, using by way of example “a sandwich shop donates uneaten yet wholesome food to a community feeding organization at the end of each day.”

 

 

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 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

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

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 cheesemaking. 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 cheesemaking 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 all articles and documents, please visit The Uncheese Party. You can also donate to help the family begin the next segment of their lives.

How the Cow Ate the Cabbage

Morningland Dairy Gets Ready to Go to Court—

And the Cow Eats the Cabbage!

December 9th, 2010
©Doreen Hannes

As many have 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 in the real food arena. 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!”

(The Howell County Circuit Court has set January 11th and 12th as the initial dates for this court case. The outcome of this case is terrifically important for food freedom advocates and anyone who thinks they have the right to decide what they wish to eat. Please support Morningland Dairy as they strive to set precedent that in this country you DO have the right to have redress on an agency decision. Morningland is asking for a jury trial.)

Can Properly Done Tests Clear Dairy to Sell?


Missouri Milk Board Agrees to Allow Morningland Dairy to Test

11/10/10…. Morningland Dairy of Missouri, the farmstead cheese operation that has been shut down and under investigation by the FDA and Missouri Milk Board since August 26th finally obtained agreement from the Milk Board to properly test their cheese. Morningland, a farmstead raw cheese company, was shut down over concern by the Missouri Milk Board and the FDA that their cheese may harbor harmful bacteria.

On Monday November 8th, Morningland Dairy attorney Gary Cox, of Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund, informed Morningland that an agreement had been reached with the Missouri Attorney General’s office which will allow Morningland to test batches of their cheese that have been under embargo since August by the Missouri Milk Board.

The Missouri Attorney General’s office, representing the Missouri Milk Board in legal action against Morningland Dairy, offered eight stipulations under which they would not object to the dairy testing their cheese. After negotiations, Morningland Dairy and the Missouri Milk Board settled on six requirements to be followed. The stipulations agreed to are that the Milk Board be present, have three representatives observing, receive split samples of the cheese, approve the sampling and analysis process, receive results after testing, and receive production dates of sampled cheese. The two stipulations that were dropped were the advance identification of the lab to do the testing and the identity of the individual who designed the protocol for test sample collection. The removal of these conditions is significant to Morningland because approved laboratories are licensed by the agencies investigating the contamination, and this secures the opportunity for testing through a non-affiliated lab in the nature of a double-blind study.

During the course of the investigation Joseph and Denise Dixon, owners of Morningland Dairy, have maintained that they should be allowed to do properly sampled tests on the alleged contaminants to clear their cheese for sale. Denise Dixon said, “It seems to me that if tests that are done improperly can condemn our cheese, accurately done tests should be able to exonerate the cheese.”

Conversely, Don Falls of the Missouri Milk Board has stated, “If you want to do testing for investigational purposes only, that would be fine.” The Milk Board has held that all Morningland Dairy’s cheese is suspect and must be destroyed. Joe Dixon responds, “We hope that the Milk Board will see reason. If properly collected test results indicate the cheese is clear of contamination, we should be allowed to sell and resume production.”

The agreement does not state that Morningland Dairy may resume normal business operations if tests indicate no pathogenic concerns.

It’s All Suspect…

As many of you know, I have been deeply involved in the Morningland Dairy Debacle. This past week brought several documents to light that shed a very harsh light on the agencies involved in the Rawesome raid that led to the Morningland shut down and recall of all of their production without due process. Read the article and associated documents below and let me know what you think.

This is on David Gumpert’s blog, The Complete Patient, and has a pretty good of amount of commentary already. Some of it is like reading code and not getting it, but a lot of it is quite insightful. (The article as it appears on Complete Patient has one or little technical errors in it because of many bouts of editing to clarify the complex issues. The one below is completely accurate and the docs support it….thanks for your humanity!)

Feel free to pass this on. The only oversight for agencies is we the people.


…..Or Is it Just Suspicious?

By Doreen Hannes

The issues that brought a tiny Missouri farmstead cheese plant to the forefront in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s war on raw dairy continue to expand, and trouble. As a wise man once said, “Truth is stranger than fiction.” The intrigue doesn’t dissipate at all with the increase in information regarding Morningland Dairy. The tests, methods and procedures that began this tragedy are very questionable.

Let’s back up a step. On June 30, agents from five or six agencies raided Rawesome Food Club in the Venice section of Los Angeles. They covered the security cameras after about a minute, and proceeded to spend several hours rummaging through the place and confiscating product–about $11,000 worth, according to Rawesome. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration took a bunch of stuff, and the California Department of Food and Agriculture took another bunch of stuff, leaving lists of seized items.
All the seized products appear to have been sent for testing to the CDFA. (I say “appear to” because no one has formally said anything, but the report of contamination of Morningland Dairy cheese came from CDFA.)

The test results given to Morningland by the CDFA show reports for two types of cheese attributed to Morningland Dairy—‘raw milk Colby hot pepper” and “raw milk garlic”. (Remember these, I’m going to test you on them later.) The scientific information on these reports is 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 lab test report is that it fails to 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 its weight as .87 lb. Then there are the key results: “L. monocytogenes detected” and ‘staph aur. detected”. Because of the oddities–the lack of batch numbers, failure to identify the manufacturer and the missing photograph of “Morningland Hot Pepper Colby”, I asked Denise Dixon of Morningland for the invoices of Rawesome’s purchases from Morningland prior to the June raid.


Discrepancies

The invoices indicate 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 of Morningland Dairy or Ozark Hills products seized from Rawesome. She contacted Dr. Stephen Beam, the head of its dairy division, 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 (Morningland Dairy Garlic) and had none of the most recent order of Ozark Hills goat cheese in their inventory at all. Hmm, says I. The most recent Morningland 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 (some are identified by brand). 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. Its report clearly states that it 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 16oz blocks of cheese to Rawesome; we can verify through the invoices that Rawesome purchased Morningland Dairy Mild Cheddar cheese. It could have 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 search warrant 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.

At best, the documentation here is terribly sloppy, and at worst, seriously inaccurate (perhaps a lawyer can tell if it might even be criminally so). Add to that the fact that all the legal proceedings—the issuance of the search warrant that allowed the seizure of the cheese and the issuance of the Missouri Milk Board’s order to destroy the cheese—have taken place in secret, and the fact that no illnesses have been attributed to Morningland cheese, one must question the motives of these agencies. How can there be any claim of due process when a business has been nearly shuttered and pushed to the brink of insolvency based on sloppy and inaccurate paperwork and entirely secret legal proceedings? Not to mention, the absence of any internal appeals procedure with the Missouri Milk Board.

Businesses should not be defamed and railroaded out of business by such sloppy procedures by government agencies. The results of the CDFA ‘investigation’ are seriously suspect; as such, they should be quarantined and subjected to a destruction order. They are the real threat to public health.

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If you wish to help Morningland Dairy fight for their right to exist, please donate to them at the UnCheese Party site.

Missouri Milk Board Declares They Have No Appeal


Morningland Dairy to go to Court

©Doreen Hannes

Those following the saga of Morningland Dairy should be aware that this past week has been a relentless roller coaster ride. On the upside of the roller coaster, many have donated to the Uncheese Party to help the family farmstead business in this battle, and Joe and Denise Dixon, owners of Morningland Dairy, are humbled and grateful for the generosity and dedication those committed to preserving access to real food have shown.

On the downside, the FDA sent a rather nasty toned letter asserting that they consider Morningland cheese “to pose an acute, life-threatening hazard to health. While not a single complaint of illness has been reported in the 30 year history of Morningland, the FDA states in their letter that “because of the seriousness of this situation” Morningland “should conduct inspections for 100% effectiveness at their accounts”. You could accurately translate that to “more downtime, more money out of pocket, less likelihood of recovery”, and you’d be right.

Then, on Friday, the 22nd of October, Morningland received a certified letter from the Missouri Milk Board, that flatly negates the “Objection to Destruction and Offer of Remedy” Morningland sent on October 6th by stating that “No administrative regulations allow the appeal of the State Milk Board’s administrative order...”. So the Missouri Milk Board believes it has no reason to follow due process, nor any requirement to be held accountable for their actions if they feel like destroying someone’s lifelong-work and livelihood.

Charges Levied for Questioning Destruction Order

Apparently, the Missouri Attorney General’s office agrees that the Milk Board is above all, as on Friday, after the close of business, they sent notice of service to FTCLDF attorney Gary Cox, notifying him of a Court Ordered Injunction and charging Joseph and Denise Dixon with three counts of violating state law, as set forth by the Missouri Milk Board.

Morningland Dairy, a licensed, inspected facility that has conducted all required tests, is being charged with “Unlawful Sale of Dairy Products”…..rest of article is on Kimberly Hartke’s blog

Holy Cow! It’s Viral!!

Last week I did a guest blog on Morningland Dairy for Kimberly Hartke and that went absolutely viral! It has nearly 19,000 Facebook “likes” and 145,000 views. Pretty amazing, and I am so thankful that people are learning about this story. There is a new Uncheese Party site where people can donate to make a stand for freedom of food choice and help keep Morningland in business.

Here is a link to the blog, and there is more to update….I will be doing another post either late tonight or very early in the morning tomorrow about recent developments. In the meantime, here is an excerpt from Kimberly’s blog:

Dry Cows Coming In at Morningland Dairy

Reality? Reason?
Nah, We’ve got Regulatory Authority!

by Guest Blogger, ©Doreen Hannes 2010

Morningland Dairy is the latest attempt by the FDA to fulfill the Healthy People 2020 objective to kill raw dairy. Morningland is owned by Joseph and Denise Dixon, who operate the cheese plant and make raw cheese from cows kept right on the property and managed by one of their eldest daughters. They have 12 children, 4 who still live at home, and they have been actively engaged in real food for decades. They were caught up in the Rawesome Raid dragnet and many believe the questionable California Dept of Food and Agriculture tests on their cheese are the legal justification for the multi-agency guns drawn raid at Rawesome.

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