Various types of storage and processing equipment await installation at Dairymen's Best Creamery in Houston early in 2015. The plant was forced to close after much of the gear was found to be noncompliant with regulations or defective, resulting in a lawsuit filed by the state.

Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster announced Friday that his office has filed a lawsuit seeking preliminary and permanent injunctions, restitution and civil penalties against Schier Company Inc. and Gary Allen Schier.

Schier, a resident of Oklahoma and owner of Schier Company Inc., buys and sells new and used dairy processing equipment through his company website. Koster alleges Schier violated the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act by misrepresenting to consumers that dairy-processing equipment sold by his company is long-lasting, reliable and compliant with federal and state pasteurization standards.

The FDA sets national standards for dairy sanitary processing regulations, which are adopted and enforced by the states. Missouri dairy farms and creameries cannot operate unless their processing equipment passes inspection by the Missouri State Milk Board to ensure compliance with these pasteurization standards.

At least two Missouri dairy creameries purchased equipment from Schier. The first, Dairymen’s Best Creamery, LLC, is a co-op of 24 dairy farmers located in Houston, which was in the process of building a dairy manufacturing facility to provide locally sourced milk products to schools. The second, Ozark Mountain Creamery, is a family owned and operated dairy farm and creamery located in Mountain Grove.

After delivery, the equipment ordered from Schier was found to be inoperable or non-compliant with pasteurization standards. Without operable and compliant machinery, at least one Missouri creamery, Dairymen’s Best, was forced to close its doors.

“Missouri farmers need quality equipment to continue to produce their top-quality products,” Koster said. “This company cheated our farmers and we intend to hold them accountable.”

“Missouri farmers work hard every day to produce a top-notch product that consumers have come to expect,” Director of Agriculture Richard Fordyce said. “We rely on technology throughout the process and need to protect our producers so that they can focus on their priority – raising and growing food.”

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