Farmer loses battle with government: A two-and-a-half-year fight over a batch of raw milk cheese produced in Howell County, Mo., ended last week when 15 tons of the unpasteurized cheese had to be taken to the dump, the KY3 reported.
The decision in Howell County was made by the State Milk Board. The board, which falls under the state’s department of agriculture was established in 1972 to “encourage orderly and sanitary production, transportation, processing and grading of fluid milk and processed milk products for consumption intrastate as well as interstate.”
The thousands of pounds of cheese in question made by Morningland Dairy was held during the more than two year legal battle after tests of the product showed harmful bacterial contamination. But the farmers believe it was wrongly tested.
The controversy of raw milk products is not limited to Missouri. Last year, it was reported officials from the California Health Department had visited the homes of raw milk customers to confiscate the unpasteurized products. Other states have seen regulatory issues with the dairy products, which are favored by many natural food fans, as well.
The Milk Board shut down Morningland’s manufacturing operation and ordered all cheese at the facility embargoed on August 26, 2010 after receiving a report from the California Department of Food and Agriculture that Morningland cheese seized in a raid of the Rawesome food club in Venice, California in June 2010 had tested positive for Listeria monocytogenesand Staphyloccocus aureus. Not a single block of cheese in the warehouse had the same batch number as the cheese seized in the Rawesome raid. A Milk Board inspector initially told Joe Dixon that he would only be shut down for a few days—but that changed when FDA stepped up their involvement in the case a short time later and pressured the Milk Board not to let Morningland resume their operations.
KY3 reported the Food and Drug administration tests of the cheese showed nothing out of the ordinary, while private testing showed both Staphylococcus aureus and listeria. Dixon said to KY3 that they requested a trial by jury and were denied as the rules governing the safety of the product were a regulation not a law.
When the cheese was dumped, Joe Dixon said he saw the “the destruction of what my wife and I and family have worked to build.” KY3 reported the dairy farmer saying his herd is now gone and he would fear getting a complaint and being shut down again if he were to try and restart.