Police Raid Raw Milk Producers

The food police are at it again – this time shifting their sights from school kids trying to sell lemonade from neighborhood stands, to grown-ups offering to provide raw or unpasteurized milk to willing consumers.  Raw milk is preferred by some consumers because of its richer and more natural flavor – but if you want to try it, you’d best be prepared to be the target of an armed police raid.  

In the latest example of raw police power, Rawesome Foods, a members-only health food store in Venice, California that specializes in raw milk and organic foods, recently was the target of just such a SWAT-style raid; this followed a year-long investigation by federal, state, and local authorities. 

According to a video about the raid from Reason.tv (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9MVwdv5HBVQ), the agents destroyed all the raw milk in stock at the store and carted off thousands of dollars in produce. 

James Stewart, the owner of the store, was arrested during the raid and faces numerous criminal charges, including conspiracy, processing milk without pasteurization, and operating an unlicensed milk plant. His supplier, Sharon Palmer who owns Healthy Family Farms, was arrested in a separate raid. 

The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, which is orchestrating the crack down on production and sale of raw milk, contends that Stewart had been running Rawesome for “more than six years but has never had any type of business permit or license.” Stewart argues that since Rawesome is open only to private members and not the general public, he does not need a business license. 

During the lengthy investigation, conducted with all the careful planning of a raid on a major terrorist cell, undercover agents purchased “unpasteurized dairy products from Healthy Family Farms stands at Los Angeles, Ventura and Santa Barbara county farmers markets and at Rawesome.” 

Rawesome has been targeted by authorities before. In June 2010, agents raided the store, guns drawn, looking for raw dairy products. The Los Angeles Times noted shortly after the raid that agents took “[c]artons of raw goat and cow milk and blocks of unpasteurized goat cheese.” 

Unfortunately, this police practice is not an uncommon occurrence, even in Georgia, which also bans the sale and distribution of raw milk. In 2009, for example, raw milk owned by an Athens-area farmer was destroyed by Georgia Department of Agriculture officials.  Georgia State Rep. Doug McKillip (R-Athens) and the late Rep. Bobby Franklin (R-Marietta) introduced separate bills in recent legislative sessions to legalize sales of the product.  However, legislation permitting consumers the option of consuming raw milk has not yet garnered sufficient support for passage through the legislature.  

From the east coast to the west, state governments not only remain dedicated to limiting what products consumers may choose to eat and drink, but with mounting fervor, are imposing criminal sanctions on those who might dare to disagree with decisions of the food police. 

By Bob Barr – The Barr Code

72 comments Add your comment

Barackalypse NOW

August 10th, 2011
3:50 pm

Cynthia Tucker is leaving the AJC, yeah right she was fired, and will be teaching at UGA.


The Real WOW

August 10th, 2011
4:54 pm

Cynthia Tucker Rocks!

AmVet, Granny Godzilla and getalife are all losers

August 10th, 2011
5:29 pm

Anyone seen our welfare checks?


August 10th, 2011
5:36 pm

Pasteurization of milk was a public health breakthrough that was responsible for essentially eradicating the incidence of milk borne tuberculosis that killed thousands of children annually around the turn of the century. Raw milk is still more likely to transmit illness than its pasteurized counterpart. Personally, I see the consumption of raw milk as a step back and I am not willing to take that chance the health of my family however, if an informed adult wants to do so then I don’t think it should be illegal.

I doubt the dairy industry is too worried about it because raw milk will never usurp pasteurized milk being that it costs too much to produce and has a much shorter shelf life.


August 10th, 2011
7:15 pm

Eat more chikin!!!

Stefanie Samara Hamblen

August 10th, 2011
8:15 pm

The pastuerization of milk began in the early part of the twentieth century when many farms began to pool their milk supplies and sold to middlemen who sold it to stores. Because the product of many farms was coming together (a situation is also found in ground beef) it was deemed safer to heat the milk to kill the pathogens – the problem with that is the heat also kills the beneficial enzymes.

The best milk you can drink is raw, non-homogenized milk that comes from cows fed on organic grass fields. Why grass fed? Cow are meant to eat grass – when they are fed corn they routinely get sick, so they are given regular antibiotic doses to stay healthy. In addition, milk and meat from grass-fed cows contains the beneficial omega acids, while corn fed beef has harmful omegas.


August 10th, 2011
10:19 pm

Enter your comments here


August 10th, 2011
10:24 pm

Thanks for the information Stefanie. I’ll go buy a cow now and stick it on the roof of my condo. I”ll dry the manure to burn in my clay oven too. Then I will be healthy and oh so organic.

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August 11th, 2011
12:01 pm

Because, goodness knows, people don’t die from food-based illnesses, and anyone should be able to sell anything they want–what’s life without a few risks? And so what if your kid’s vital organs fail because of drinking milk with the wrong kind of bacteria.

After all, this is the good old USA, and no one should stand in the way of our determined march towards third world country status.


August 11th, 2011
12:42 pm

Shelley – What the hell is your problem? I was drinking raw milk sold by a major southern california dairy in the 1980’s. Nobody ever died from their milk or even got sick. Do you know how many people die every year from foodborne illnesses in this country from beef, poultry, etc. despite literally thousands and thousands of regulations?? This recent crackdown is the result of a growing desire to get back to healthy eating and the response from the dairy industry to growing competition. It has nothing to do with safety as these small local dairies are already doing everything they can to be safe. They have liability issues. They are not some guy by the side of the road that will never be seen again. I suppose you are the type who would feel safer in a prison setting where benevolent folks from the government come and service your every need and keep you “safe.” The rest of us believe in liberty and freedom.

None of this product is deceptively sold. Everyone knows what they are getting. My parents knew exactly what they were buying for the family when they bought raw milk.

It is funny that you would equate the lack of a police state with the third world, when generally the presence of a police state is more indicative. But then I go back to my original question – what the hell is your problem. Maybe you need a different nanny state to go live in. The freedom lovers in this country don’t appreciate your rush to destroy our rights.


August 11th, 2011
1:34 pm

‘Do you know how many people die every year from foodborne illnesses in this country from beef, poultry, etc. despite literally thousands and thousands of regulations??’

I give…tell us how many?

And while you are at it, tell us how many would die without said regulations.

[...] – Inspiration to ActionUpdate: Healthy Family Farms' Owner Pleads Not GuiltyPatch.comPolice Raid Raw Milk ProducersAtlanta Journal Constitution (blog)Ventura County Star -Huffington Post (blog) -Time Out [...]


August 11th, 2011
6:27 pm

Raw milk doesn’t go bad! it goes sour and delicious and healthy and nutritious…


August 11th, 2011
6:42 pm

Two months ago i’ve got food poisoning from pasteurized milk(didn’t notice the ex. date) and it was not pretty! if it was raw milk the food poisoning would not happen!


August 11th, 2011
6:54 pm

Think, how much money we’ve wasted by pouring out expiered milk? RAW MILK DOESN’T EXPIREI
it becomes sour and edible and if it’s to thick for drinking we can make it into healthy cottage cheese!


August 11th, 2011
10:07 pm

From the CDC – http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/eid/vol5no5/mead.htm

“To better quantify the impact of foodborne diseases on health in the United States, we compiled and analyzed information from multiple surveillance systems and other sources. We estimate that foodborne diseases cause approximately 76 million illnesses, 325,000 hospitalizations, and 5,000 deaths in the United States each year. Known pathogens account for an estimated 14 million illnesses, 60,000 hospitalizations, and 1,800 deaths. Three pathogens, Salmonella, Listeria, and Toxoplasma, are responsible for 1,500 deaths each year, more than 75% of those caused by known pathogens, while unknown agents account for the remaining 62 million illnesses, 265,000 hospitalizations, and 3,200 deaths. Overall, foodborne diseases appear to cause more illnesses but fewer deaths than previously estimated.”

And all these illnesses happened despite government regulations. You ask how many would there have been without regulations.

Today there was a story about a huge amount of beef that was tainted with ecoli or salmonella, can’t remember what I heard (I am a vegetarian so I really don’t care). The meat producer and the USDA have known about the tainted meat for over 6 months but FEDERAL LAW prevented them from issuing any recall until there was a clear connection between the meet and an illness or death. So far 1 death and about 15 illnesses. Sure, government is in the business of keeping up safe. I don’t have a problem with competitive private certification agencies, but the USDA and the FDA are not about food safety. Private producers who wish independent certification and their customers may wish it as well. That is for the market to decide. Government agencies are about protecting their friends from competition. Raw milk is a competitive threat, especially as more and more people become aware of its health benefits. Just do a search on ‘government knew about tainted beef’ or any other meat item and see how many stories show up from around the country and over the years. And just look at the producer names. ConAgra shows up time and time again. And CDC statistics show that from 1998 to 2008 there were no deaths from Raw milk but 26 deaths from pasteurized milk, depite claims of its safety.

Its about freedom and personal responsibility – two things that are clearly unamerican in this day and age.

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UK riots

August 12th, 2011
5:54 am

[...] As we are on a conspiracy type theme here; some of you might find this amusing: Police Raid Raw Milk Producers | The Barr Code Quote James Stewart, the owner of the store, was arrested during the raid and faces [...]


August 14th, 2011
5:23 pm


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August 17th, 2011
7:26 am

Bob Barr, did you mention that us raw, grass-fed, pastured milk fanatics believe that raw milk is healthier.