FORT WORTH TX – A Fort Worth jury found Raw Milk farmer, Eldon Hoolely, guilty Tuesday evening of allegedly running a “Food Establishment Unapproved Source,” which carries a fine of $1500.
As we reported over the weekend, Rosey Ridge Farms, which is located nearly 40 miles south of Fort Worth city limits was facing $3,000 worth of city ordinance violations. On Monday, the city dropped 3 of the 4 charges, and decided to take the “Food Establishment Unapproved Source” to trial, for which they were ultimately successful swaying the jury who chose not exercise their right to nullify unjust laws. Judge Andrew T. Bradshaw let this happen.
****Here are more details in a press release by The Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund. ****
Update 12/16/2015 – From Real Milk Texas
A Fort Worth jury has found Eldon Hooley, owner of Rosey Ridge Farm, guilty of “Food Establishment Unapproved Source.” A co-op in Fort Worth purchased milk from Mr. Hooley and brought the milk from the farm to Fort Worth using a van owned by the Hooleys. The state made the case that the van used to transport the milk is a “food establishment” according to Texas law. The law states that a vehicle that transports food for the consumption of others is a “food establishment.” The jury agreed with the state in determining the van was a “food establishment.” According to the state and this jury, if you bake a cake in your home, put it in your car to take to a party and share with others, your vehicle is now considered a “food establishment” and therefore requires a license to operate and the food must be approved but the state. The jury has set a dangerous precedent.
The Hooleys and his lawyer, Gary Cox of Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund, plan to file for a new trial. If that is denied, they will file for an appeal.There are a few things you can do now:
1. Support the Hooleys by obtaining a membership with their farm so you can purchase their products.
2. Become a member and/or donate to Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund. This organization represents farmers all over the country at no cost to the farmer. Mr. Hooley wants all donations to be given to this organization. **Farm to Consumer will cover the cost of the fines if the case is not overturned.**
3. Follow Real Milk Texas and Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance (FARFA) on Facebook. FARFA has worked to pass bills in Texas to make raw milk sales easier on farmers and consumers. You can find updates here on what to do once the legislature is in session.
If you are not able to do any of the above, please find a farmer near you and purchase from them.
Thank you for your support!