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Armed Raid of Raw Food Co-op

raw milk

Earlier this month, agents raided a raw food co-op with guns drawn.

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office, the California Department of Food and Agriculture, the FDA and the USDA participated in a raid on Rawsome, a raw, organic food club in Venice, California.

Here’s a video with security camera footage of the raid. The voiceover is from the store owner:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b27EFldZ17k

Unpasteurized milk is regulated in many areas because of safety concerns, and places like Rawsome go to great lengths to skirt these regulations. As the owner describes in the video, they are not a store but a private club. If you want to buy raw dairy, you have to become a member and put in writing that you’re “taking your health into your own hands.”

While dairy (raw or otherwise) is not my thing, I think that a guns-drawn raid is a bit over the top when it comes to enforcing restrictions on food policy.

Retail sale of raw milk is still legal in California, but the health department is insisting that Rawsome needs a retail food business license. The owner sent a written letter contesting that they are not a retail store, but he never heard a response until agents barged into Rawsome with guns years later.

Raw dairy is pretty controversial. Advocates are looking for pure, unadulterated food while regulators and large farming groups say its safety concerns outweigh any benefits.

What are your thoughts on this raid? How do you feel about raw dairy in general?

Source: L.A. Times

Image Credit: Creative Commons photo by chiotsrun

12 comments
  1. Beth

    This is UNACCEPTABLE!! Informed individuals and families should have the right to make choices about their food…regardless of whether it fits into the corrupted mold that the USDA has created. With all the crime in Los Angeles, these are the people getting raided??! It’s time to take back our right to freely eat farm-friendly food.

  2. Amber Rowland

    Armed Raid? Really? Is that necessary? Were there drugs or guns being sold or smuggled? No? Was it a slow day at the police department?

    I believe that the raid was a bit much. Especially having raised guns. Maybe we are missing part of the story, but I don’t see how the use of raised guns can be justified. The only thing I can see using them for is to exert authority and to instill fear. Not good reasons.

    I’m not really sure what they thought the were going to accomplish this way.

    Maybe they have an issue with the retail licensing. Rawsome Foods may need to clarify their type of Co-op or become a retail co-op. I think both sides are walking a fine line with the members only co-op argument. After all Sam’s Club is a members only “club” and they have a retail license.

    The issue of raw milk. To each his/her own. I believe families have the right to make healthy choices for their family. If I had a cow in my backyard or my trusted neighbors, friends or family did; then I would drink raw milk. Since I don’t, I will stick to store bought pasteurized milk or soy milk. That’s my choice. If other people are comfortable drinking raw milk from a raw foods store/co-op then let them. I think that we as consumers need to change the rules of healthy and bring the government to OUR standard of healthy. Not rely on the USDA to do that for us. Allowing fast food joints to sell grade D meat and putting a checkmark on sugar filled cereal to say it’s healthy is not my idea of quality food. I don’t want to feed my family bare minimum standard food. Adding chicken to hamburger helper is not my idea of a healthy alternative. We need to step up and say “THIS IS NOT ACCEPTABLE.”

  3. ree

    An armed raid on a food co-op? What…they were expecting maybe the SLA?

    I’m sure there are any number of things going on in society that better deserve the attention of the various organizations that participated in this fiasco. It strikes me as an enormous waste of money.

    Flat out…if people want to eat raw food and they understand the inherent risks, then they have the right to eat raw food and take the consequences.

    The government should butt out.

  4. Vines_N_Cattle

    Good to see some genuine rage at some jackbootedthuggery.

    Please remember it the next time you give our benevolent overlords the benefit of the doubt on regulations, restrictions, prohibitions, taxes and other various machinations put in place for our own good.

  5. David S.Walenski

    If eggs must be regulated so must rawsome. Who do they think they are for skirting our laws. There has to be concerns when you have to sign a waiver of responsiblity. Throw them all in the klinker,throw fines at them,alot of community service.

  6. clint

    This raid was ABSURD. This type of police thuggery is exactly what is wrong with our local government and the cops. Are they out of their minds? What could possibly justify their use of guns in this situation?

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