October 10, 2005
Message from Sally Fallon: We are very grateful for how our members have responded to urgent situations, such as submitting testimony to the FDA on soy (almost 500 of you!) and sending letters to the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture when they were considering banning raw milk (your letters helped turn the situation around.) This Action Alert requires response from as many of you as possible, so please email or fax to the numbers given below. Your help for Full Circle Farm could mean the difference for hundreds of families and children in the state of Florida, and ultimately in other states. Thank you for your support of small farmers and Real Milk!
Dennis Stolzfoos, a Weston A. Price Foundation chapter leader and farmer who owns Full Circle Farms in Live Oak, Florida is under attack from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS). The Division of Food Safety (DFS), a branch of FDACS, has filed two administrative complaints against Full Circle Farm alleging numerous violations of the Florida Food Safety Act (FFSA).
Unless FDACS withdraws the complaints, a hearing will be held before an administrative law judge within the next few months. Should the judge find Dennis guilty of the charges against him, he faces potential penalties of a prison sentence and thousands of dollars in fines.
Full Circle Farm is a small farm not open to the general public that sells raw dairy products, eggs, grass-fed meats and other health-giving foods, primarily to Weston Price chapter members living in west and central Florida. While sales of raw dairy for human consumption are prohibited under Florida law, sales of raw dairy for pet consumption are legal if the seller has a commercial food registration certificate issued by FDACS. Having the certificate enables its holder to also sell meat for pet consumption and conceivably almost any other food as well. Full
Circle Farm currently holds a commercial food registration certificate, issued this past August.
The legal issues involved in Dennis’s fight against the Division of
Food Safety are jurisdictional. DFS has jurisdiction over only sales of food for human consumption. The Florida Food Safety Act applies only to sales of food for human consumption. All charges against Full Circle Farm are made either under the FFSA or regulations issued under rule-making authority granted by the FFSA. The Division of Agricultural Environmental Services, another branch of FDACS, has jurisdiction over pet food sales under the Florida Commercial Feed Law. Even through DFS knows that Full Circle Farm has a commercial food registration certificate, they
have refused to admit lack of jurisdiction.
More important than this particular legal issue, FDAC versus Full
Circle Farm involves the fundamental rights of freedom to farm and consumer freedom of choice. Dennis only made the transition to selling pet food because he realized that complying with the demands DFS had made on him under the law were cost prohibitive and would put him out of business. Just by enforcing the FFSA and other food safety laws, the DFS can shut the small farmer down. Cowshare or farmshare programs are no answer in
Florida because under the wide reach of the FFSA, DFS has jurisdiction over either and can impose the same onerous regulations any other farm is subject to.
The public policy of the State of Florida is to eliminate the small
farmer. Inspectors from FDACS have openly remarked to farmers that the state is moving towards a time where only megafarms will exist. Further evidence of this policy can be found on FDAC’s own website. According to FDAC’s Division of Dairy, as of June 30, 2004, there were only 189 licensed Grade A dairy farms in Florida, milking an average of about 750 cows each.
Florida is a bellwether state. What happens there can have an impact in what goes on in many other states. Dennis has been a tireless worker in fighting for the freedom to farm and in making it possible for the consumer to have access to the health-giving foods they want to purchase.
He needs your help.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
Please email, fax or call with the following message:
1. Tell FDACS and DFS to stop harassing Full Circle Farm and to drop the administrative complaints against it. A stated purpose of the FFSA is to “safeguard the public health.” Ask FDACS and DFS how they are accomplishing this by prosecuting a farmer who has never had a customer file a single complaint against him. Not one.
2. Urge the Florida legislature to pass farm-consumer freedom-of-choice legislation exempting cowshare and farmshare programs from the burdensome regulations of the FFSA and the Pasteurize Milk Ordinance (which Florida has adopted). Say those regulations shouldn’t apply when consumer are knowledgeable about the producers of their food and obtain their food directly from them. Say that consumers have a right to obtain these
foods they think best for their families and that come from animals they actually own. Say that consumers should have the right to obtain those foods they think best for their health. Ask how the FFSA is “safeguarding the public health” by denying them this right. Ask how the FFSA is promoting the public health by effectively putting out of business the small farmers who can best meet the needs of health-conscious consumers.
3. Provide your own individual story about how farm fresh foods have contributed to improved health for yourself, your families, and especially for your children.
Please contact the following people:
1. Charles Bronson, Commissioner of Agriculture
State of Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0810
commissioner (at) doacs.state.fl.us
2. Joanne Brown, DVM Commissioner of Agriculture
brownjo (at) doacs.state.fl.us
3. Dr. Marion F. Aller, DMV, DABT
Director, Division of Food Safety
3125 Conner Boulevard
Tallahassee, Florida 32399-1650
fax (850) 488-7946
Allerm1 (at) doacs.state.fl.us
4. Representative Ralph Poppell, Chairman
House Agriculture Committee
Suite 1C, 400 South Street
Titusville, FL 32780-7610
ralph.poppell (at) myfloridahouse.gov
5. Representative Dwight Stansel, Vice Chairman
House Agriculture Committee
208 N Ohio Avenue
Live Oak, FL 32064-2455
dwight.stansel (at) myfloridahouse.gov
6. Senator Rod Smith, Chairman
Senate Agriculture Committee
4131 Northwest 28th LN, Suite 4 Gainesville FL 32606
smith.rod.web (at) flsenate.gov
7. Senator Larcenia Bullard, Vice Chair
Senate Agriculture Committee
8603 S. Dixie Highway, Suite 304
Miami, FL 33143
bullard.larcenia.web (at) flsenate.gov
8. Govenor Jeb Bush
Tallahassee FL 32399-0001
jeb.bush (at) myflorida.com
Thank you so much for your help. We are so appreciative of you.