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.










1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Maggie
    Mar 15, 2011 @ 18:57:50

    Go cheese go!


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