April 20, 2017

PLF Fights Wisconsin’s Anti-Competitive, Mass-Commodity “Butter Grading” Requirements

By PLF Fights Wisconsin’s Anti-Competitive, Mass-Commodity “Butter Grading” Requirements

PLF Senior Attorney Joshua Thompson hosts a special discussion with PLF Client Adam Mueller, a fifth generation butter maker at Minerva Dairy. Ohio-based Minerva Dairy, America’s oldest family-owned cheese and butter dairy, sued Wisconsin over its newly enforced ban on the sale of ungraded butter.

As the lawsuit argues, the ban is an unjustified, anti-competitive restriction that protects large Wisconsin-based dairies, while blocking 123-year-old Minerva Dairy from selling its artisanal butters to Dairy State consumers, as well as freezing out most other dairies across the country.

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Minerva Dairy v. Brancel

Minerva Dairy, and its President, Adam Mueller, are challenging a Wisconsin law that prevents butter makers from outside the state from selling their products in Wisconsin unless they go through an arduous and costly process of getting their butter “graded.” Grading has nothing to do with quality or safety; it is graded by taste, as determined by government bureaucrats. Only Wisconsin has this type of law; neither the federal government nor any other state requires grading. Because Minerva Dairy makes artisanal butter that has its own unique taste, it does not want to submit to Wisconsin grading. Representing Minerva, PLF filed a lawsuit challenging the law as an unconstitutional violation of the Commerce Clause, Due Process, and Equal Protection.

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