|Two gallons of raw goat milk for our personal use|
On August 3rd, a private food club called Rawesome in L.A. was raided by multiple agencies. The manager of the club, James Stewart, his assistant, Victoria Bloch, and small farm owner, Sharon Palmer were arrested. Palmer supplies the club with fresh eggs and chicken. Bloch was the only one allowed out on bail under her own recognizance. Stewart was let out on $30,000 bond and Palmer’s bail was set at $60,000. Palmer’s farm has been raided 3 times in the past 2 years. The last time her farm was raided, Rawesome was raided the very same day. In that raid, authorities came in with guns drawn like they were taking down a meth lab.
So what were they thrown in jail for? For allegedly selling raw dairy products without a license and running a food club without a permit (yet private food clubs generally don’t need permits but recently that hasn’t stopped officials from shutting them down). Raw dairy products that the club members were fully aware of being raw. In a previous raid, authorities also confiscated raw honey, which isn’t illegal.
This isn’t an isolated case. In May an Amish farmer and the private club he was supplying raw milk to. They charged him using the Interstate Commerce Clause because he was delivering raw milk across state lines. However, as argued by the members of the private club, the milk was not purchased and was therefore not considered commerce.
The raids are becoming more frequent and many times are made on private buying clubs and cooperatives.
Raw milk isn’t without it’s risks, but the same can be said about any food. Recent food recalls including ground turkey, beef, peanut butter, spinach, sprouts, strawberries and eggs made people sick. Pasteurized milk can also make people sick. The corporations that produce these toxic foods aren’t forced by the FDA to recall the products. Yet here they are confiscating raw milk from private clubs, cooperatives and cowshare owners.
I drink raw milk. I drink raw goat milk which is 100% illegal to sell in California unlike raw cow milk which can be sold with the proper license. I’m not scared of getting sick from my goats’ milk. I believe people should be allowed access to raw milk if they choose to drink it. Cigarettes and alcohol are perfectly legal and not only dangerous to those that partake but also can be dangerous to those around them. A drunk driver can kill someone and second hand smoke can negatively effect the health of others (I should know, I developed asthma growing up from second hand smoke and someone passing me by while smoking can prompt an attack). But raw milk is strictly regulated if not illegal in some states. Why not put a Surgeon General warning on it and allow it to be sold?
Something tells me big ag has something to do with it.
There’s a movie that was just recently released called Farmegeddon by director Kristin Canty. Here’s the trailer:
10 thoughts on “The Raw Milk Controversy”
I agree completely that the hypocrisy in situations like these is astounding. Right after reading this, though, I read another blog that offers an alternative perspective:
In this case there may be more to the story.
Thanks Anna for an opposing viewpoint. I would like to state that my issue is with the legality of raw milk and how it's used to harass and vilify people rather than Rawesome in general.
Interesting to read both sides of the story. In an ideal world we'd meet the farmer, visit the cows/goats. Have to take the labels on trust, and appreciate those who investigate where necessary.
I read the other article, and fraudlent dealings aside, I do think that overall this points more toward the shortcomings in our food regulatory system as a whole. It desperately needs a complete 21st Century overhaul.
I think Evergreen Acres is the one to rally around. It appears that the California Department of Food and Agriculture is interested in using them as a test case to try to outlaw herdshares. They claim that people who board goats with them may go to their farm to milk their goats, but may not take the milk off the property!
I totally meant to include their situation but got sidetracked while writing last night. It's horrible what they are facing.
This is another turn in the control that Washington and what is in the White House wants to totally control your food and who has access to it.
People had better start opening their eyes.
You can drive your kids with the windows rolled up while smoking down to the pizza joint to feed them xtra-cheezy-stuft-krusties dipped in ranch and washed down with a mountain dew, then drive home again with the windows rolled up and smoking, but you can't give them raw milk.
Let that sink in a minute.
These stories always amaze and sadden me. I'd definitely want to read the whole police report before passing judgement, but I'm sad that we can't own chickens, find non GMO seeds, etc. where we desire.
Thanks for sharing this Rachel…and thanks Anna for expanding on this particular case.
Despite this particular case, the fact that people are being punished for supplying something that others really want….that is HEALTHY and good for you is ridiculous.
You can feed your family crap with little or no nutritional value for every meal if you want, but no way can you get raw milk. For real.
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