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Rawesome Raided Again! Farmers and private food club owner arrested for selling fresh milk

August 3rd, 2011

By Rady Ananda

About 20 armed agents from various local, state and federal agencies, coordinated by the US Food and Drug Administration, staged another raid on fresh foods sold in California at a Ventura County farm and at Rawesome Foods, a private buying club providing members with unadulterated, unpasteurized milk and dairy products, among other items.

Healthy Family Farms owner Sharon Palmer and one of her employees, Eugenie Bloch, were arrested, along with James Stewart, the operator of Rawesome Foods located in Venice, California.

A protest is planned for tomorrow’s arraignment hearings (Thursday, August 4) at Los Angeles Superior Court, Criminal Justice Center, 210 W. Temple Street. Organizers are asking protesters to arrive at 7:45 am.

Here's one of several onsite videos taken at Rawesome Foods.

The FDA raid inclFDA raid included agents from the California Franchise Tax Board; the CA Department of Food and Agriculture’s Milk and Dairy Food Safety Branch and the department’s Division of Measurement Standards; the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office; the LA County Dept. of Public Health; the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department, the Ventura County Dept. of Public Health; the LA Police Department and the LA Dept. of Building and Safety.

Palmer is charged with nine counts of criminal conspiracy and operating without a license, while Stewart is facing 13 counts.

This latest arrest marks the fourth raid on Sharon Palmer, who has been continually harassed for providing products that humans have consumed for thousands of years, but which now is regulated under laws designed to put the small fresh food operator out of business and promote the profits of the genetically modified, drugged, adulterated product of Big Dairy.

Agents stole computers, business records and thousands of dollars in product from these honest, hard working citizens, whose products have sickened no one.

This is the second raid on Rawesome Foods, following the international scandal last year when jackboot thugs with badges broke into the private premises with their guns drawn.

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.

Contrast that with the whopping 16% in foodborne illnesses each year in the U.S., according to CDC figures. Yet, the FDA is not shutting down food production at factory farms or food processors where over 99% of contamination originates. Nor does it steal its products and computers.  For example, Jack DeCoster continues to operate sick egg factories despite decades of illness, employee abuse, and food safety violations.

Dr. Beals delivered his findings at the Third International Raw Milk Symposium on May 7, 2011 in Bloomington, Minnesota.  In comparing all foodborne illnesses with just that from raw milk, he notes:

"That data showing illnesses come from a 2011 publication compiled by a team of researchers at the CDC FoodNet Surveillance Center. The paper, by Elaine Scallan and others, is entitled Foodborne Illness Acquired in the United States—Major Pathogens" and was published in Emerging Infectious Diseases. The model does include a factor for unreported illnesses, but it revised downward the figure of 78 million foodborne illnesses per year that government agencies have been using in the past. Instead the report estimates that 48 million Americans are sickened each year from all agents, including viruses, bacteria and toxins, in all foods. That is one out of every six people. The numbers given in the report are based on their most up-to-date information which was for the year 2008. Their data:

Total diarrheal episodes annually USA 217,973,045
Total foodborne illnesses annually USA 48,000,000
Annual confirmed foodborne infections from the four "pathogens" (all foods) 1,937,561
Average number of illnesses attributed to consuming raw milk (Dr. Beals, 1999–2011)2 42
Average number of illnesses attributed to consuming raw milk (Drs. Oliver and others, 2000–2008)3 27

Let there be no doubt that the federal government is intent on destroying the health food industry by criminalizing foods and supplements that have not been genetically modified, processed or adulterated with nanoparticles, chemicals or drugs. They serve their corporate masters in the pharmaceutical and agro-industrial sector, who profit from making us sick.

Defend these fresh food farmers and suppliers. Attend the protest if you can, support local foods that are produced safely and humanely, and write your local media and legislators about these unconstitutional attacks on your right to eat food of your choice.

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