January 25th, 2013 was a sad day that marked an end to the two-and-a-half-year battle for Morningland Dairy raw cheese farm. Supporters watched as state agents finally dispensed of $250,000 worth of their cheese, embargoed since the day of the initial government-sponsored raid August 26th, 2010.
Watch the beginning of the final raid take place with a large waste dump truck ready to haul the cheese to a garbage site and remember the phrase, “I’m just doing my job.” The families pull no punches letting the agents know of their wrongdoing. One of the agents laughs at the question “Do you enjoy destroying people’s lives?”
How did we get here?
Joseph and Denise Dixon worked hard to take on Morningland Dairy in the Missouri Ozarks in 2008. The company has been around for more than 30 years and during that time – not one consumer went ill from their cheese – no one complained. Moreover, they brought jobs to the impoverished area, jobs that have been dissipated by the FDA and Missouri Milk Board.
While the Dixons were away in August 2010 when the Missouri Milk Board (MMB) called to say there was potential Listeria contamination – the California Department of Food and Agriculture had gotten the cheese from the Rawesome Food raid some 55 days earlier. Inspector Don Falls said they should be back up in a couple days but his attitude turned cold when he talked to the FDA. Then the FDA leaked a nationwide recall – of all the cheese – which to this day has never been tested. The original testing was from the Rawesome raid with very questionable testing methods, never verified and with no accountability.
Immediately, the cooler of some 35,000 pounds of cheese ($250,000 worth) was embargoed – no one was to touch it – agents said it wasn’t worth giving to their dogs. None of the cheese even had the same batch number as the Rawesome cheese – all that cheese was long gone with no complaints from the consumers. Armed agents showed up and locked it all.
The agencies ordered it all dumped and destroyed, but the Dixons refused and fought to the end – for freedom – for the rest of us. They appealed and appealed but to no avail. Judge Dunlap had set impossible, absurd standards and clearly didn’t understand milking cows. The costs of his “prescription” for doing business again cost hundreds of thousands not including their loss and trying to survive during the appeal. He ruled from the bench.
The FDA and Milk Board would not and will never allow them to resume – how is this able to happen? Big food companies like the one with the contaminated turkey that killed a lot of people resumed business as usual. Obviously, this isn’t a contamination or public safety issue.
One author described it as a “Death by Bureaucracy” saying:
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 last thing the FDA was concerned about was the truth. Don Falls lied in court as well. So we have liars, thieves, and destroyers abusing their deluded power and devastating the Dixon family, the families employed in the factory, the farms providing the milk, and all the families that relied on their goods for healthy immune systems. Company destroyed – out $250,000 – no compensation.
Joseph Dixon summarized the fight:
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.
Pete Kennedy, president of Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund wrote:
The Morningland case was about FDA’s agenda to restrict access to raw dairy products with the eventual goal of banning them. The agency doesn’t hesitate in sacrificing a business like the Dixons’ in order to move its agenda along.
Read about their final battle on their blog here.
Read more at Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund and donate to help them survive the next chapter of their lives.
Listen to Joe Dixon tell his story of the attack on Morningland Dairy at the May 2012 Weston A Price Foundation (WAPF) regional conference in St. Louis: