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Rawsome Foods Raided AGAIN by SWAT

On the heels of the recent news about raw milk’s safety comes an alarmingly disturbing coordinated multi-agency raid on Rawesome Foods — a raw food buying co-op in Los Angeles. This morning’s SWAT-style raid was coordinated at both Rawesome Foods and Healthy Family Farms and has led to three arrests so far, the confiscation of personal computer equipment and raw milk cheeses, and the dumping of more than $10,000 worth of raw milk down the drain.

According to early reports from people on the scene, James Stewart (owner of Rawesome Foods), Sharon Palmer (of Healthy Family Farms), and Victoria Bloch (local L.A. co-chapter leader for the Weston A. Price foundation) have all been arrested on charges of conspiracy to sell unpasteurized milk products.

The raid was carried out by gun carrying officers of the LA County Sheriff’s Office, the FDA, the Dept. of Agriculture and the Centers for Disease Control.

According to Mike Adams, of Natural News:

James was followed from his private residence by law enforcement, and when he entered his store, the raid was launched.

Law enforcement demanded that all customers (members) of the store vacate the premises, then they demanded to know how much cash James had at the store. When James explained the amount of cash he had at the store — which is used to purchase product for selling there — agents demanded to know why he had such an amount of cash and where it came from.

James was handcuffed, was NEVER read his rights and was stuffed into an UNMARKED car. While agents said they would leave behind a warrant, no one has yet had any opportunity to even see if such a warrant exists or if it is a complete warrant.

Ann Marie Michaels, blogger at Cheeseslave and co-chapter leader of the L.A. Chapter of the Weston A. Price Foundation was on the scene and recorded this video:

I don’t know about you, but I can’t watch the video without being simultaneously outraged and brought to tears. This is America, folks. Where is our so-called freedom?

According to Dara Dubinet, a local member of the Rawesome Foods private co-op, officers on the scene informed her that the raid is happening not because of Rawesome Foods selling raw milk (retail sales of raw milk are legal in CA), but because they’re making other raw milk dairy products from the milk in the private buying club without the proper permits or certifications and “selling” both the products and the milk to consumers.

Please note that Rawesome Foods is a private co-op with a closed membership. Technically, they are not “selling” anything to the public, but rather coordinating the efforts of private members to buy and produce raw foods, including raw dairy. This is why they are operating without a license or the “appropriate” permits. They do not consider themselves a store that’s open to the public, but rather a private club.

Early reports indicated that Rawesome Foods owner James Stewart was being held on $123,000 bail, but subsequent reports have the figure at $23,000. In either case, you can donate to help James post bail here.

When I contacted the L.A. District Attorney’s office to ask for a comment, clarify what the express charges were, and ask about bail, I was told that they’d already issued a press release with all the relevant information. The press release is available online here.

According to the D.A.’s office:

Sharon Ann Palmer, 51 (dob 04/14/1960), James Cecil Stewart, 64 (dob 07/26/1947) and Eugenie Victoria Bloch, 58 (03/17/1953) were charged in a 13-count complaint, BA 385253, which includes four conspiracy counts. Stewart and Bloch were expected to appear in Department 30 in the Foltz Criminal Justice Center Thursday for arraignment, said Deputy District Attorney Kelly Sakir of the District Attorney’s Environmental Law Section. Palmer’s arraignment hearing has not been set.

Palmer owns Healthy Family Farms, LLC, in Santa Paula, which prosecutors allege has operated without any type of license or permit for milk production since 2007. The business Healthy Family Farms and Palmer are charged in nine of the 13 counts. Bloch works for Palmer and is charged in three conspiracy counts.

Stewart runs the Venice market Rawesome, which has been in operation for more than six years but has never had any type of business permit or license, prosecutors allege. Stewart is facing 13 counts.

During a year-long investigation, investigators made undercover purchases of unpasteurized dairy products from Healthy Family Farms stands at Los Angeles, Ventura and Santa Barbara county farmers markets and at Rawesome. The products included unpasteurized goat milk, cheese, yogurt and kefir.

The investigation found that Healthy Family Farms and Rawesome customers were required to pay a membership fee of up to $50, or purchase a one-time “day pass” at Rawesome to purchase products there. Bloch reportedly informed undercover operatives that the membership payments and paperwork were needed for “legal” reasons, and they were not supposed to sell dairy products to nonmembers.

In a case cited in the 21-page complaint, an undercover investigator received goat milk, stored in a cooler in the back of Healthy Family Farms van, in the parking lot of a grocery store.

While it is lawful to manufacture and sell unpasteurized dairy products in California, applicable licenses and permits are required. These include regular veterinarian inspections of the animals and following equipment and sanitation requirements.

If you would like, you may call the L.A. District Attorney’s Office at 213-974-3512. They are accepting written comments, too, which you can mail to:

L.A. District Attorney’s Office
210 W.Temple
Los Angeles, CA 90012

If you call or write, please be sure to ask how these agencies justify this raid as a valid expenditure of public funds, particularly when the CDC’s OWN DATA proves raw milk is safe!

I’ll keep you posted as the news unfolds by updating this post.

UPDATE 8/3/2011 6:15pm: There will be a formal public protest at tomorrow’s arraignment hearings. If you live in Los Angeles, show up on the morning of 8/4 at Los Angeles Superior Court, Criminal Justice Center, 210 W. Temple St., Los Angeles. Court opens at 8:30 a.m., so organizers are asking protesters to arrive at 7:45am.

UPDATE 8/3/2011 9:03pm: From a press release just issued by the Weston A Price Foundation, we find that matters are further complicated by the fact that members of the club also entered into a herdshare arrangement in which they paid a local farmer to board and milk their dairy goats. It looks as if the California authorities are denying the legal legitimacy of herdshare arrangements, insisting instead that such herdshares are unlicensed dairies. We also learned the exact bail amounts recommended for the three arrested individuals: “All three were charged with Section 182A-Conspiracy to Commit a Crime. Bond for James Stewart was set at $123,000. Bail for Bloch is recommended at $60,000. Bail for Palmer is recommended at $121,000.”

Besides participating in tomorrow morning’s rally and contacting the L.A. District Attorney, the Weston A Price Foundation is urging us all to take the following actions:

Please call your representative and senators. While you’re at it, ask your representatives in Congress to Co-Sponsor the Ron Paul bill lifting the ban on raw milk in interstate commerce, while not a factor in this case, it sends an important message about citizen access to raw milk in the U.S.

Please also call the Los Angeles TV Stations and ask them to cover the protest rally:
KNBC (818-840-3425), KTLA (323-460-5500), KABC (877-777-NEWS)

SUGGESTED TALKING POINTS
Talking Points for speaking with elected official about this issue:

  • Infringement of Private Property Rights
  • Misuse of State Resources
  • Denying Citizens Freedom of Food Choice

UPDATE 8/3/2011 10:55pm: KTLA covers the raid on the 6 o’clock news! And guess what? It’s a balanced little piece. It even mentions the rally tomorrow morning. WATCH:

 

UPDATE 8/3/2011 11:51pm: Jenny at Nourished Kitchen found and shared the 21 page complaint that resulted in the warrant being issued against the three arrested today. You can read it in full here.

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I am a passionate advocate for REAL FOOD -- food that's sustainable, organic, local, and traditionally-prepared according to the wisdom of our ancestors. I'm also an author and a nutrition educator. I enjoy playing in the rain, a good bottle of Caol Ila scotch, curling up with a page-turning book, sunbathing on my hammock, and watching my three children explore their world.

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80 Responses to Rawsome Foods Raided AGAIN by SWAT
  1. Sonja
    August 3, 2011 | 3:36 pm

    Ya know, with all the REAL crime going on, seems they would have bigger villians to chase down…

    • Sam
      August 3, 2011 | 5:18 pm

      esactly my thoughts!

      • Stardust
        September 2, 2011 | 12:34 pm

        Yeah…. whatever he said too!!!!

    • Jen Sorensen
      August 6, 2011 | 11:43 am

      That is the biggest crime – furthering our life expectancy! They want us to poison and disease ourselves to a short and miserable life. The freedom to live and eat (raw) the way we want and NEED is gone! It’s a sick world we live in revolving only around money, disease and processed foods. I refuse and I will continue to fight for our rights to feed ourselves nutritious LIVE foods while everyone else continues to suck up all that packaged, processed death. They want the masses to die off, so those who want to live should wake up! Don’t follow along like cute little sheep believing what they feed you!

  2. Lance Robinson via Facebook
    August 3, 2011 | 3:41 pm

    Welcome to the police state….keep voting the same way America, you know, people who know better what’s better for you than you do therefore feel at liberty to force it upon you, yeah, those, keep voting them in and it will only get worse….

  3. Heather
    August 3, 2011 | 3:49 pm

    I do not consume dairy. I am either allergic or intolerant or both. However I am outraged by this. People doing their best to feed their families healthy raw foods should not be treated like criminals.

    • Ramanuj Basu
      August 3, 2011 | 5:06 pm

      Heather, just a quick note to say that *raw* dairy is really a different food than what’s available commercially. I found I wasn’t tolerating milk anymore, switched to raw and have had zero problems since.

      • Meran
        August 9, 2011 | 3:06 pm

        I’ve been looking locally (portland Oregon) for raw milk of any kind. ( I used to drink raw milk in Maine; got my milk still warm from the cow at a local dairy before it was shipped off. )
        I’ve been having problems now that I’m older and would LOVE to be able to drink milk again. (I’ve switched to goat milk, which is more available, but would LOVE to have raw milk, whether goat or cow)
        Contact me if you have a source! (I won’t turn you in. Oregon seems to be ~paranoid about raw.. WHY? I’m from Colorado, and am appalled at all the weird fears here!)
        Meran

  4. Liz Swift via Facebook
    August 3, 2011 | 3:52 pm

    So this is how the government wastes our money??? Not shutting down drug manufacturers who make products that kill people, not shutting down, not shutting down drug cartels that invade southwestern towns, not shutting down the crooked bankers and investment brokers, but by trying to shut down people simply providing an alternative to factory food, what a great choice Uncle Sam.

    • KristenM
      August 3, 2011 | 4:21 pm

      Excellent! Thanks, Carolyn.

    • Jan Steinman
      August 4, 2011 | 2:56 pm

      Thanks for posting that. Here is my email to the LADA:

      Perhaps you have more information than has been generally distributed, but I would encourage you to respect the “right of association” implicit in the US Constitution in your conduct of this case.

      If you find they were actually selling to the general public, that’s one thing. But if this is a closed group of people, doing only what they would be allowed to do as individuals, then you are wrong to prosecute them.

      At least this argument goes for huge corporations, so why not small collectives? If Dupont can kill thousands of people in Bhopal and yet their executives, managers, and board of directors continue to be free, why are you doing this to these people?

      Pick on someone your own size!

  5. Rosalyn Price English via Facebook
    August 3, 2011 | 4:30 pm

    I’m angry. And scared. We believe in local, raw foods. We buy local, raw foods. I know my farmers and trust my foods. The gov’t doesn’t care that I make informed decisions. Makes me reconsider going totally underground with my food choices. I am sick at the thought that a casual remark could get my farmers in this kind of trouble.

  6. Food Renegade via Facebook
    August 3, 2011 | 4:37 pm

    @Rosalyn — No kidding! It’s one reason why I hesitate to tell people where they can find raw milk near me. I tell them where I personally get raw milk at a local farm, but then tell them that if they want to find it nearer to their home they need to contact their local WAPF chapter leader.

    • Naomi
      August 3, 2011 | 7:09 pm

      It’s unfortunate, but we may have to restrict our farmer’s names and information from getting to the general public, and only let friends and/or friends of friends know who they are.

  7. Melissa @ Dyno-mom
    August 3, 2011 | 4:50 pm

    So are we angry yet? We need to be.

  8. Peg Danek via Facebook
    August 3, 2011 | 4:51 pm

    Makes me sad.

  9. Ramanuj Basu
    August 3, 2011 | 5:07 pm

    Direct link to press release (for posterity, as this one gets pushed farther down the DA’s press release page): http://da.co.la.ca.us/mr/080311a.htm

  10. Alice Benham via Facebook
    August 3, 2011 | 5:18 pm

    It doesn’t matter who you vote for, they’re all the same. Ron Paul might be ok, but I can’t think of anyone else.

    • Dawn @ Small Footprint Family
      August 3, 2011 | 11:13 pm

      Senator Bernie Sanders is arguably the least corrupted man in government, an independent hailing from the great dairy state of Vermont.

    • Jan Steinman
      August 4, 2011 | 3:00 pm

      I’m a proud, three-time loser, having voted for Ralph Nader every time he’s run!

      But I got disgusted, moved to Canada, and worked for Green Party Leader Elizabeth May, AND SHE WON!

      So the key is to get GOOD candidates; don’t put up with whatever pablum the “tweedle-dee, tweedle-dum” so-called two-party system regurgitates for you.

  11. Karin Versteeg via Facebook
    August 3, 2011 | 5:21 pm

    Unbelievable! I would like to know how they can justify as this being an arrestable crime.

  12. Rosalyn Price English via Facebook
    August 3, 2011 | 5:28 pm

    It’s true. We do a LOT of networking, and I encourage as many people as I can to eat local, healthy foods, emphasizing raw dairy. I really pushed to get our fall garden in (first time for us) because I’m so concerned about our food availability…

  13. Jay
    August 3, 2011 | 5:47 pm

    Ok, I’m not well versed on raw milk, except from my degree in clinical microbiology, I know there can be some pretty serious microbes in raw milk. And I’ve been reading that California does allow sale if the proper license is obtained. Am I missing something as far as the law goes?

    • E.J. Apostrophe
      August 3, 2011 | 6:08 pm

      Hi Jay,

      Regarding raw milk, I would point you to the Weston A. Price Foundation (westonaprice.org) to find out the research on raw milk. Raw milk facilities have been proven to be more cleaner than the milk factories and equally nourishing.

      • Jay
        August 3, 2011 | 6:36 pm

        E.J.
        I’m seriously not trying to be a jerk, just debating.but there was obviously a reason they passed a law in California. And this recent article reports of a recent outbreak. I will read the weston price site, Thanks. Jay.

        http://www.allvoices.com/contributed-news/9824042-fda-warns-consumers-not-to-drink-raw-milk-from-specific-dairy-due-to-campylobacateriosis-outbreak

        • Heather
          August 4, 2011 | 6:54 am

          That is one dairy and not in anyway associated with this raid. If you look at the CDC’s own data you see that overall raw milk is safe. If you want to ban all food products that are associated with illness outbreaks you will eliminate most foods commercially available, including pasteurized milk.

          Should anyone blindly purchase raw milk believing it to be healthy? No. Raw milk consumers need to be educated on the health and safety practices of the farms that supply them. The WAPF is very proactive in advocating that consumers be educated and conscientious.

          The bottom line is if we let the government decide what is safe to eat we not only will lose our freedom but we’ll still get sick because the foods they deem safe still cause illness and disease.

        • Evelyn
          August 4, 2011 | 8:09 am

          From the article: “Campylobacter is one of the most common causes of diarrheal illness in the United States.” Where are all these people getting campylobacter, when only roughly 3% of the population drinks raw milk? Why don’t we just shut down sale of all those foods too. Ground Turkey recall? Where are the swat teams? If raw milk was being sold and pushed off as pasteurized milk so that people couldn’t make their own decision after researching the matter but were tricked into buying something they hadn’t decided to take the risk on that would be one thing. Hmmmm….sounds a lot like GMO’s which can be sold without labeling because consumers would always choose a product without them.

        • Evelyn
          August 4, 2011 | 8:23 am

          Not only that…but check out this article:
          http://ftcldf.org/press/press-03aug2011.htm

          Food and Drug Administration (FDA) acknowledged last week that raw milk suspected of harboring campylobacter tested negative.

          hmmm…lets not jump to conclusions or anything.

    • Jan Steinman
      August 4, 2011 | 3:07 pm

      @Jay, regardless of your belief in health concerns about raw milk (which I don’t agree with), the fact remains that this was a closed club, not a place selling to the public.

      As long as it is legal to own your own goat or cow and drink the milk from it, Freedom of Association means a bunch of people can get together to do the same.

      If Rawsome was indeed “selling to the public,” then they are probably guilty of breaking the law regarding raw milk dairy licensing. (In which case, one still must question the tactics used by the FDA and LADA.) But this does not appear to be the case here.

      The FDA has become increasingly militant in persecuting small “artisanal” food producers. A small winery in Wisconsin had all its elderberry juice seized when their website included a link to another website, touting the health benefits of elderberry wine. And yet, the FDA allows such total bull as Big Agri-Biz potato chips branded as “heart healthy.”

      Do you think people should be allowed to be presented with the evidence by both sides and make informed decisions about what they can put in their own bodies?

      • Michelle
        August 6, 2011 | 3:49 pm

        I agree with you that people should be able to get food where they choose but I also agree with the government that farmers need to be regulated in their practices and merchandisors in the selling and upkeep of said items which is why they need a liscence in the first place.
        I would say regaurdless of if they are a private club or not they still have to follow the laws.They are taking membership money and possibly individually pricing each item which means they have to be paying federal and state taxes and also need to follow state laws and regulations. They may be able to say its a private club but they wont get out of taxes. Which would and most likely inspired part of the raid being that they were so intrested int he amount of money and where it came from.

        Just one other point….we don’t think it is ok in this country for there to be private drug clubs and I mean legal prescription drugs.
        The government regulates food, how it is made and sold for your own safety…not everyone is honest…be greatful. If the farmers and merchandisers followed the rules and represented themselves correctly they would have been fine. it is legal to sell/exchange raw milk in CA with a permit….just get the permits and problem solved……Jay is not wrong here about the law even if you would like it to seem like a secondary issue. I am all for raw food but all food and drugs need to be regulated in this country period, like people have said before if you want that changed run for office!

        • J'Nai A.
          August 21, 2011 | 2:33 am

          I agree with only a quarter of what you said. Yes food is regulated for our safety, blah blah blah, but even having the right permits in place does not stop the FDA or any other government organization from trying to undo the legal consumption of raw food & dairy. They have their own agenda. There is no way it would have been as simple as the proper permits being in place. Having a private club for raw, God-given food is NOTHING like a private club for prescription drugs. No one should be sharing their prescriptions with other people, but food is there for us to consume & eating it raw should be our risk. We all know the government lies outright & spins things & we (the general public) believe them because they’re our leaders, but that needs to change. We’re not stupid, we can obviously make these informed decisions on our own. And if the gov. had it their way it could be illegal to consume or sell raw foods. So if I’m grateful for anything in way of government regulation it’s that they haven’t done that. Yet.

  14. Lilithe Magdalene
    August 3, 2011 | 6:12 pm

    Has anyone started a petition anywhere about this? This is outrageous!!

  15. Heather
    August 3, 2011 | 7:22 pm

    Our efforts not only need to spread the word, and our outrage, to raw milk supporters but to similar food communities and anyone pissed about wasteful government spending. The timing of this couldn’t be better for using the money aspect to get support from those who wouldn’t otherwise care.

    • Heather
      August 3, 2011 | 7:25 pm

      I do believe the Ancestral Health Symposium is this weekend. We may be able to find a few friends in town that are willing to help.

      • Ann Marie @ CHEESESLAVE
        August 3, 2011 | 9:59 pm

        Thanks for posting that. I’ve been tweeting at people who are coming and letting them know about the rally. Also posted on their FB page.

  16. jacqueline Dreager
    August 3, 2011 | 7:50 pm

    Well that sucks!!! I buy from Healthy Family Farms and will do everything I can to support them. Good going SWAT. Must be easier then working to catch “bad guys”. Wasteful spending!!

  17. Dave, RN
    August 3, 2011 | 7:57 pm

    Jay, this is all about the FDA controlling our food source. When you control the food source, you control the people.

    The FDA does not have out best intrest at heart. Their intrest lies in protecting big pharma and big agra.
    Read this: http://www.newswithviews.com/Hannes/doreen103.htm

    • Jay
      August 4, 2011 | 8:11 am

      Thanks, Dave.

      Either way,this is all great additional and informative information I can use for myself and friends. I’m behind the protesters 100%, fight for a change.

  18. Jill
    August 3, 2011 | 8:58 pm

    wow…. bogus.

  19. Cara
    August 3, 2011 | 9:14 pm

    It doesn’t matter if you have enough money to pay for all the licensing requirements which amounts to (I have heard) approx $50,000 for acceptable equipment, paperwork, etc. Small family farms cannot afford all of this or the red tape. However, even if a family is able to accomplish all this they will still be under surveillance and jumped on immediately for any infractions …whether they are actual problems or falsified. Just ask the owner of Organic Pastures. The Gov’t through the FDA and other agencies have an agenda: protect their investors (Big Dairy Industry and other Food Industries) and wipe out the more wholesome competition. This has “absolutely nothing” to do with protecting the public’s best interest. This has always been and will continue to be about the Gov’t’s bottom $$ line. Folks need to open their eyes and start voting for those who uphold our freedoms for food choice, supplement choice and drug choice (ie. vaccines).

  20. Mark Shepperson via Facebook
    August 3, 2011 | 9:50 pm

    Followed you guys fron Alex Jones (info wars) site. Words fail me, a Country where its a crime to eat healthy food and McDonalds in schools.

  21. Food Renegade via Facebook
    August 3, 2011 | 10:06 pm

    @Mark — Didn’t know Alex Jones had linked to me. Welcome!

  22. Michele Houdashell
    August 4, 2011 | 12:03 am

    But Mr. Government, I’ve been so responsible handling raw meat and eggs for so long don’t you think I can finally be trusted to handle raw milk. pretty please.

  23. Vince
    August 4, 2011 | 12:29 am

    The tactics of this raid are the result of militarization of domestic police forces. A lot of this can be directly linked to the US Government’s War on Drugs. It has expanded into a war on the people, including increased domestic “security” measures, the likes of which are typically only seen at international borders, defacto suspension of the 4th amendment, and now a war on healthy food, so it seems. Expect this war to reach other “social undesirables” such as homeschoolers, DIY’ers (enforcement of petty business licenses, zoning enforcement, etc) and backyard chicken coops.

  24. Carrina
    August 4, 2011 | 4:14 am

    I am super mad about this happening. I live in Sacramento, so would not be able to attend this protest, but I am sure pleased to see that people are standing up for what they believe in. You do not see it often enough.

  25. Rick
    August 4, 2011 | 4:18 am

    What – California doesn’t have its own Department of Public Health? The FEDS needed to be called in on a business licensing issue? What a crock…welcome to fascism in America, where the power of the state and the power of industry have become one.

  26. Heather
    August 4, 2011 | 6:45 am

    How do we find out how much this all cost in taxpayer money? From surveillance to raid to court costs knowing how much it costs would be useful in contacting representatives and in using the current wave of government spending disgust to secure support from the mainstream.

  27. jen
    August 4, 2011 | 7:10 am

    California, what a joke. would be interesting to know how much this has cost taxpayers exactly. swat teams, undercover agents, following people from their homes, months of “investigating”.
    sounds to me like someone with a grudge.
    so much more we could spend our $ on, like our state debt!!!!!! ugh

  28. Erica
    August 4, 2011 | 7:14 am

    “Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God. Every generation needs a new revolution. God forbid we should ever be 20 years without such a rebellion. The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions that I wish it to be always kept alive. It is a medicine necessary for the sound health of government,” Thomas Jefferson.

  29. Colleen
    August 4, 2011 | 8:03 am

    OMGoodness! When did we become a police state? When did small business and free enterprise become a crime???? This is the type of “raid” one would expect to see for illegal drugs, NOT food products! I am stunned and saddened that Big Ag and the FDA have resorted to these extreme measures to keep their 6-figure incomes and REAL FOOD out of mainstream America!

  30. Maureen
    August 4, 2011 | 8:21 am

    I think the government seems to want a cut in the action…hence their gripe that Rawsome has no permits…it all comes down to money in the end…the rights of the people be damned! That’s why tobacco and alcohol are permitted…they make money for the USA!

    • Jan Steinman
      August 4, 2011 | 3:15 pm

      @Maureen, I agree — it’s all about money.

      We started to put up a greenhouse on our not-for-profit co-op farm. We looked over the building code (which costs a MINT to even download, but my Freedom of Information request for the building code was turned down because there is a copy at the local library) and determined that with no permanent foundation, no permit was needed.

      Imagine my surprise when we were slapped with a “STOP WORK ORDER” and fines of 200% of the cost of the permit!

      Thank goodness the regional building inspector was sympathetic, and tactfully informed the locals to get on board. In my meeting with them, they said they had always considered greenhouses “a revenue item.” NOT a “public health and safety item,” but “a revenue item.”

      This has cost us an entire growing season, but the greenhouse is going up in time for winter starts — WITHOUT a permit!

  31. Kyle Herring
    August 4, 2011 | 11:30 am

    Original post by Leslie Goldman

    MANY ISSUES INVOLVED HERE

    This is a private buying club paying for raw goats milk from goats that belong to them through a leasee agreement with the person raising their goats and milk for them. Regardless of what other crimes she may have committed, we need to look at the crimes committed here by the fDA and other agents involved.

    THE MEMBERS OF THIS PRIVATE CLUB SIGN AN AGREEMENT THAT
    …INCLUDES

    I reaffirm that the food I acquire through this Club is not subject to government regulation because I own the food on the farm and am not engaging in commerce.

    9.4 MILLION DRINK RAW MILK
    42 GOT SICK
    REPORT SAYS

    The raid follows a recent report by retired pathologist Ted Beals, MD, based on Centers for Disease Control numbers, which revealed that an estimated 9.4 million people drink raw milk in the US, while 42 get sick each year from contaminated product. This amounts to six-millionths of a percent who become sick from raw milk.

    16% IN FOODBORNE ILLNESSES EACH YEAR
    BUT FDA IS GONG AFTER LITTLE FARMERS

  32. Paul C.
    August 4, 2011 | 12:18 pm

    People, two things to understand. I live in Venice. rawesome is two blocks from one of the biggest Whole Foods Stores in California. Ponder that. Also, there is, as far as I know, only one condition that can call for the immediate and total suspension of all 10 amendements in the bill of rights , namely “In the Interests of Public Health “. So…the FDA can do whatever it wants, at least in the short term . Its how big Pharma got Willhelm Reich…and thats just a famous one. So yeah, fascism is alive and well folks.

    • Stardust
      September 2, 2011 | 12:33 pm

      Veryf dull observations

  33. C
    August 4, 2011 | 2:55 pm

    Glenn Beck has been talking about our freedoms being stolen for quite awhile now. Unfortunately, the organized Left has convinced some people he is an extremist.

    Hopefully the silver lining here is that more people are waking up.

  34. Jan Steinman
    August 4, 2011 | 3:24 pm

    Well, all of us let this happen when we didn’t stop our congresscritters from passing the infamous “Food Safety Modernization Act,” a.k.a “SB-510.”

    The FSMA makes it legal to do what the FDA did to Rawsome. They don’t need a warrant. They don’t even need to prove that there is a problem. They can confiscate computers, money, and equipment without a warrant on the suspicion of “unapproved farming methods” or “unapproved seed sources.”

    So folks, you got what you deserved. The only good that can come of this is that by brutally exercising their new power, the FDA could be subject to “blow back” over it.

    It would have been easier to defeat the FSMA, but now we’ve got it, and so there’s a bigger battle now to undo it. Start writing letters and making calls, folks, or soon, you’ll only be able to eat what “they” decide you can eat.

    • Jan Steinman
      August 4, 2011 | 3:27 pm

      The good news is that this is not a right or left issue.

      Are you stuck with a “tea partier” rep? Call or write and insist that the FDA be de-funded as a waste of taxpayer dollars.

      Got a “bleeding heart liberal” rep? Call or write and let them know that the FDA is keeping people from producing their own food.

      Got a “strict constitutional” rep? Let them know that the FDA is interfering with your “pursuit of happiness,” and that “it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute new government.”

  35. Phantom
    August 4, 2011 | 5:38 pm

    Why when they say conspiracy it must be true?
    when we say it, must be fiction?

    The war on drugs(food) is why the swat team is breaking into farmers homes.
    fda(food and drug).

  36. bebe
    August 4, 2011 | 6:11 pm

    The gestapo and obama do the bidding for big agra business…

    • Jen
      August 4, 2011 | 11:33 pm

      This comment is not helpful to the discussion. It only serves to piss people like me off, and divide the real food movement.

      I am outraged at the many raids on small farms, and I purchase raw milk for my family every week. I’m also pretty sure that the raw milk wars have been going on for decades. Yes, even waaaay back when Bush was in office.

      Imagine that… a LIBERAL who believes in real food! I’m pretty sure we might make up a large portion of those 9.4 million who drink raw milk, so you might want to be careful what you spout off to others in this movement.

  37. Bill
    August 4, 2011 | 7:04 pm

    Demand a Congressional investigation into the FDA’s corrupt connection to the dairy industry and Monsanto which is running food safety at the FDA and initiating these armed raids. Demand they look into why the FDA and CDC have not informed the public, scientists or doctors that pasteurized milk is the source of Crohn’s disease and killing more than 800 a year.

    Pasteurized milk and Crohn’s
    http://www.karlloren.com/diet/milk/p14.htm

    Crohn’s statistics
    http://www.hemorrhoid.net/statistics.php

    1 death from raw milk in 57 years.
    http://www.thenhf.com/fda_90.htm

    Monsanto and the big fat lie of food safety
    http://www.opednews.com/articles/Monsanto-and-the-big-fat-l-by-M-Gray-101031-319.html

  38. James
    August 4, 2011 | 7:43 pm

    Why is the government wasting their time and our tax dollars on this. Don’t they have car thieves, murderers, and other criminals to catch? What next, are they going to start raiding family farms where they share the milk they get from their cows or goats with their friends and family?

    • Dani
      January 7, 2014 | 1:58 am

      Totally agree! It is funny how they are so concerned with people drinking raw milk while there are junkies on the streets shooting dope into their bloodstream. I see them everywhere in the city and nothing is done about them. I think THAT is definitely more of a health concern (law enforcement should start doing their job and stop worrying about nutrient rich milk!!!)

  39. Kyle Herring
    August 4, 2011 | 7:53 pm

    Sign my petition at the web-site below to help get Rawesome Foods owner James Stewart out of prison and set things right

    http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/totally-rawesome/

  40. Kenneth
    August 4, 2011 | 11:10 pm

    It takes a total lack of constitutional rights to have the government act in this arbitrary way. All you who have voted for this regime, now are beginning to see what you have done. Things are going to get much worse, if this regime gets four more years in office. I just hope we can make it to 2012 before a crisis is manufactured that suspends our rights under marshal law!!!!!!!!!

    • Rick
      August 5, 2011 | 1:43 am

      Sorry to disillusion you, but no ism, no party, no faction, no regime has it right. Crap like this gets carried out regardless of what party is in control of the White House – do the research instead of merely bashing the party you disapprove of. The Emperor is always naked, regardless of what we’re told he’s wearing, and those who dare to disagree with that party line get swatted down – hard.

    • J'Nai A.
      August 21, 2011 | 2:50 am

      I don’t think anyone appreciates anyone else bashing any party or affiliation here. As someone above said these comments do not help what we are here for & that is to defend raw food & our right to eat & share it. It just annoys & posses people off. We don’t need political debates we need to stay united or we’ll be hypocrites!
      I agree with Rick completely.

  41. G. Tomasio, caring scientist
    August 4, 2011 | 11:16 pm

    The leading edge in human health is all about natural lifestyles which foster exceptional health. Abundant raw food in the family diet is all part of that.

    Today, anyone can experience this. Highly immune, healthy, youthful living is very easy. It has emerged from many books, much research and the huge testimony of millions of families world wide, most of whom include raw foods and dairy. That’s at least 3 decades of progress. Raw is, of course, nature’s best. Do you like apples? Juicy summer fruit? A good salad crammed with colorful natural ingredients? They will probably be the standard for the future Earth population.

    On the other hand, corporations are still stuck in profit as their only bottom line. The healthiest folk today in all countries have moved on to regular exercise, stilling the mind from stress (regularly and at will), and learning colorful healthy preparation of food. The more raw the better; while old fashioned thinking is still stuck in cooking and cheap production which means denaturing the soil and despoiling the abundance and natural balance of life. Today’s organic farming has worked it all out; it’s a miracle of observation, millions of trials and decades of scientific and experiential integrity.

    Rawesome is a private food club in California surely belonging to the leading edge of science, caring for life and local healthy community. Authorities, whether goaded by fear of innovation or sometimes even by prejudice higher up, are usually ignorant of the great strides in health being made in many countries. That includes many places in California. Raiding them is a simple matter of not understanding their place in the forefront of healthy living. On the old world side, today’s world driven by mere profit considerations now experiences a public epidemic of hundreds of new, chemical food based sicknesses. Unnatural pills and all their many side effects are needed as a direct result of today’s risks of pasteurisation (killing off the healthy natural digestive enzymes already in fresh, naturally grown food), cheapening food through chemicalizing previously health soil and a long etcetera. It all comes from the old error of putting only profit consideration first. That’s ahead of even the health of the planet our children will inherit. So now is a wonderful time to get a more realistic perspective on the effects on your health and family of mass food production. It’s the right time for all countries’ populations to protect their families’ health from the old chemical, profit-driven food errors. It’s the right moment to reduce its use as we educate ourselves about a safer, much more healthy world.

    Rawesome’s membership includes hundreds of healthy, disease-free families giving witness to the success and the wisdom of the new health methods. They are an example to the world of responsible living for a better planet and for our children. The raids are ill conceived and hopefully will be recognized as illicit and unnecessary.

    • Linda Vearrier
      June 21, 2012 | 8:50 am

      I just ‘heard’ about this raid because somebody posted the comic of it on their FB page. What happened to this case? Were the three people released? Are they back in business? I left a comment at the end of the comment stream but am just curious to find out how this all ended.

  42. Jeanne Smith
    August 6, 2011 | 12:46 pm

    The US government is not a friend of the people. They are afraid of us and so they must enslave us both mind and body. I do not trust the man in the white house or the congress, or the supreme court or the law enforcement or any government agency local, state, or federal. Our leaders have sold us out and they cannot be trusted.I will not even capitalize the government agencies because they do not represent me. Never forget what the US government did to the tribal people here in this land. Never forget. Tell the stories to all your children and grandchildren so they never forget as well.

    • Stardust
      September 2, 2011 | 12:30 pm

      Very funny!

  43. Aaron Silverblatt-Buser
    August 15, 2011 | 4:41 am

    I am reading the comments and wondering how many people actually read the article, and how many are simply reacting to this “attack” on raw foods. In the article it states that “The investigation found that Healthy Family Farms and Rawesome customers were required to pay a membership fee of up to $50, or purchase a one-time “day pass” at Rawesome to purchase products there. Bloch reportedly informed undercover operatives that the membership payments and paperwork were needed for “legal” reasons, and they were not supposed to sell dairy products to nonmembers.

    In a case cited in the 21-page complaint, an undercover investigator received goat milk, stored in a cooler in the back of Healthy Family Farms van, in the parking lot of a grocery store.

    While it is lawful to manufacture and sell unpasteurized dairy products in California, applicable licenses and permits are required. These include regular veterinarian inspections of the animals and following equipment and sanitation requirements.”

    I don’t care enough about this issue to look up whether this type of cooperative can legally skirt the issue of needing a license to produce and “sell” raw milk, but the reason the owners were arrested appears to have much more to do with the fact that they didn’t feel the need to have a business licence for 6 years despite still operating a co-op or non-profit business, non-profits must be registered just as much as for profit businesses.

    Additionally, my quote shows that they are being prosecuted because they sold a raw milk product to a non-member. While I agree that the cost of licencing to operate a raw milk distributor may be expensive, what the defendants did was clearly against the law. In my mind they were clearly asking for trouble and it appears that they have found it.

    • Margaret
      September 17, 2011 | 10:20 pm

      The point here is that the law is wrong.

      If the speed limit on a large 6-lane interstate is 45mph when it should be 65mph, all those people going over 45 are technically breaking the law. But the law, in this case, would be wrong.

      Just because something is lawful doesn’t make it right. Just because it’s unlawful, doesn’t make it wrong.

  44. Tom
    March 2, 2012 | 3:55 pm

    one thing to note here about the no rights read to them..if they are not going to question them they do not need to read them their rights.

  45. Linda Vearrier
    June 21, 2012 | 8:34 am

    What was the outcome of this outrageous raid? I think it’s criminal what took place and people should be able to EAT & DRINK what they please. When you go to Yellowstone Park or the Grand Canyon, the authorities aren’t there to keep someone from jumping into the hot pots or over the edge! WHY can’t we eat what WE feel is better for us? It is unconstitutional what the raid was about! I choose not to vaccinate my children due to religious freedoms. How we EAT is as basic as my religious rights! Back off FBI, FDA, CDC and mind your own business! Continue to eat your growth hormone-laden foods and keep getting fat! I will darn well eat what I wish as long as this is the “land of the free and the home of the brave”.

    • Dani
      January 7, 2014 | 1:53 am

      It is big competition. In the contest between food and garbage food will win and they know that. So they want to eliminate food so that we will pay them to feed us garbage.

      Well you are what you eat and I refuse to be trash! What they are really doing is inspiring people all over the country to take a stand. I love seeing websites and documentaries like this cropping up.

  46. Jennifer
    February 16, 2013 | 1:54 pm

    It will never cease to amaze me how far big Argi, Big Dairy, and Big Business in general will go when they feel threatened. As soon as Raw Milk started to become popular they panicked because they are afraid they will lose total control of the market and to many people will find out about the benefits of and how good for you Raw Milk and Raw Cheese is and there will be enough support to make it widely available. Isnt it amazing what you can accomplish if you are Big Agri, with deep, deep pockets and bribe enough government officals?? These raids should NEVER happen!! Raw Milk and Raw products in general should be available to anyone that wants them. Raw Milk from an Organic Farm that feeds their animals what nature intended for them too eat, allows them to pasture and maintains a sanitary environment is so much better for you than that white stuff that is sold in stores and is called “milk.”
    Citizens United MUST be reversed and the American People MUST take control of America from Big Business and the 1% of the American People that control it now!!!

  47. Dani
    January 7, 2014 | 1:50 am

    I want to know what I can do to help change things I have changed my eating and shopping habits but I want to do so much more!

    I am sickened and my heartaches for what has happened to these farms and baby animals. I grew up on a small farm and have been around small farmers my whole life. My father was diagnosed with cancer and my family made an even more conscious effort to start buying everything organic and raw healthy whole foods wherever we can. My father was given one year to live and he is 8 years in remission his doctors think it is a miracle but all he changed was his diet. I will NEVER go back to eating industrialized trash (which does not deserve to be labelled as food). The industry feeds people animal feces in their meats, people are dropping dead all over the world and they are attacking the only people who are doing the right thing. Sounds like a war against the American people if you ask me.

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Who Am I?

My name is Kristen Michaelis. I'm a nutrition educator, author, and mother of three. I adore hats, happy skirts, horizons full of storm clouds, the full-bodied feel of wind as I ride motorcylces, reading in my hammock, and a hearty shot of Caol Ila scotch. I'm also a rebel with a cause.
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