By David Gumpert
The Complete Patient
On May 27, the Louisville Health Dept. served a private food club with a Cease & Desist order along with a Kentucky Department of Health Services quarantine order on the club’s milk. Here’s the brilliant response of the buying club. ~Ed. [Image]
On Friday [May 27], as the administrator of a Kentucky buying club was setting out raw milk and other food for pickup by members, an inspector for the Louisville Metro Department of Health and Wellness appeared at the church basement storage site. He presented two pieces of paper: a cease-and-desist order (from the Louisville Metro Department of Health and Wellness) and a quarantine order (from the Kentucky Department of Health Services), and placed “Quarantine” notices on each of several coolers containing 76 half gallons of milk. (See the quarantine order here.)
The order is made out to one of the administrators along with the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund, apparently because the buying club administrator called a FTCLDF lawyer while the inspector was present.
By the time members arrived, a new piece of paper had been placed on the coolers, stating:
I, the undersigned, hereby declare that I have taken my milk that comes from cows I own via private contract under the protection of the KY constitution (articles 1,2,4,6,10,16,26), and if the county health department would like to speak with me about this matter, I can be reached at the number given below.
Before the afternoon was out, about 40 members of the buying club had signed the statement, and taken their quarantined milk. “A large number of my members pulled in today and ignored the cease-and-desist and quarantine orders,” John Moody, a co-administrator of the buying club, told me.
In other words, these buying club members openly defied the Louisville public health authorities. In so doing, I believe they are the first consumers to sign on to such an act of group defiance to protect and preserve their food.
We’ve seen any number of farmers defy official notices, one of the most notable being Vernon Hershberger, the Wisconsin farmer, who last year cut the quarantine tapes on his fridges, and pronounced himself open for business; he continues in business to this day, as no prosecuting authority has seen fit to follow up with legal action. We’ve also seen the administrators of the Rawesome Food Club in Venice, CA, immediately re-open after a local health department order ostensibly shut the place down. There was also the humiliating scene in Georgia in September 2009 where members of a buying club poured out many gallons of raw milk they had previously purchased, on orders from the Georgia Department of Agriculture, under the watchful eye of a U.S. Food and Drug Administration official.
In none of these cases did consumers sign on to take places on the front line as have those in Kentucky.
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