This time, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture executed a duly issued search warrant on Amos Miller and Miller’s Organic Farm. The state’s responsibility was to determine if raw eggnog and other unpasteurized, raw dairy products produced by Miller were responsible for positive Shiga toxin-producing E. Coli tests in Michigan and New York, causing human illnesses.
It is against federal law to sell raw milk and raw dairy products across state lines.
Pennsylvania State Police provided security for the state agricultural officials who conducted the Jan. 4 search.
Last year, Miller’s attorney, Robert Barnes, concluded federal litigation on behalf of his client by signing off on a Third Consent Decree that provided his cooperation going forward.
That order, which remains in effect, precludes Miller from “conducting livestock/poultry slaughter and processing” intended for sale, resale, offer for sale, transportation, donation, or distribution to his “customers or elsewhere.” Miller may “market and sell amenable meats and poultry from third-party, USDA-inspected establishments.”
In the Third Consent Decree, Miller agreed that USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service has access to all his properties. The federal litigation over meat inspection and food safety, dated back to 2016 and concluded in 2023 with the Consent Decree remaining in effect.
When the state officials arrived at Miller’s Organic Farm, located at Bird-in-Hand, PA, the incident was first picked up by The Lancaster Patriot, an area website and Facebook page not high on food safety regulations.
While the search warrant was executed by the book, from all reports, the matter was stirring up social media. With Miller opting not to talk and state officials saying little, attorney Barnes moved into the space with a statement saying: “Today, the Department of Agriculture of the State of Pennsylvania suddenly came, without notice, raided Amos’ farm, and detained everything Amos had in the farm’s freezer.
“They did so in a lawless manner, without appropriate authority, in violation of their own rules and regulations, despite never objecting to the prior resolutions reached with the federal government, and despite a complete failure by the state to even reach out to Amos’ known counsel, Robert Barnes.
“The state’s rules require advance notice, reasonable time frames for inspections, and a showing of credentials, none of which occurred here. Instead, the state unlawfully obtained a search warrant based on materially false statements in an affidavit by a high-ranking state official in an agency with a known grievance against independent farmers like Amos, and, after the raid and finding no evidence of wrongdoing, then illegally ordered detained every item of food in one of Amos Miller’s coolers, including buffalo meat not even subject to federal regulation.
“The detention order is patently illegal under Pennsylvania law. Despite the constant harassment, Amos will continue to do all he legally can to provide the food his members deeply need. Amos thanks you for your continued support at this critical time for food freedom in America.”
(To sign up for a free subscription to Food Safety News, click here.)