MISSOURI Attorney General Chris Koster sues family for distributing raw milk
Posted: November 29th, 2009 - 8:20pm
Source: News Leader
Conway -- A Pulaski County family's delivery of farm-fresh raw milk to customers in Springfield is clashing with a state law barring commercial distribution of the commodity.
Attorney General Chris Koster is suing Armand and Teddi Bechard of Conway, seeking to stop them from setting up drop-off points for the sale of their unprocessed milk.
In Missouri, it is legal to sell raw milk from the farms or deliver it directly to the customer. But it's illegal for a farmer to distribute unprocessed milk or offer it for sale at a market or in a parking lot, according to Koster and two opinions issued from then-Attorney General Jack Danforth in the mid-1970s.
On April 8 and April 15, the Bechards' daughters -- ages 17 and 21 -- set up in a parking lot in front of Mama Jean's Natural Market on South Campbell Avenue to distribute raw milk to customers who had pre-ordered it from the Bechard Family Farm.
Armand Bechard said his girls were using the parking lot as a drop-off point, not as a place to market their product. But the state of Missouri doesn't see it that way.
Two undercover inspectors from the Springfield-Greene County Health Department approached them separately on each occasion and asked whether they had an extra gallon of milk to sell, according to court documents.
"They said, 'yeah, we've got extra milk,' " Armand Bechard said.
The girls, who were labeled "representatives" of the farm in the lawsuit, agreed to the sale because a customer did not show up, which Armand Bechard said is "very rare."