In Venice, CA, a beach community in Los Angeles, the owner of a health food market was arrested, along with two others, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney, for the, “…criminal conspiracy charges stemming from the alleged illegal production and sale of unpasteurized goat milk, goat cheese and other products.”
As the Los Angeles Times reported:
The arrests followed a one-year investigation during which undercover agents purchased unpasteurized dairy products from Healthy Family Farms stands in Los Angeles, Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, said Matthew Krasnowski, a district attorney spokesman. The products included unpasteurized goat milk, cheese and yogurt.
Yes, a year long investigation to go after the sale of unpasteurized milk, cheese and yogurt. And not just one government agency, but nine different governmental agencies, according to the LA District Attorney’s office:
Agencies taking part in the ongoing investigation include the U.S. Food and Drug Administration; the California Franchise Tax Board; the California 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 Los Angeles County Department of Public Health; the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department, the Ventura County Department of Public Health; the Los Angeles Police Department and the Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety.
The investigation ended in the raid of the Venice market, Rawesome Foods, and a farm, Palmer’s Healthy Family Farms in Ventura County. Prosecutors claim that Rawesome Foods did not have a license to sell unpasteurized milk, which is required by the state of California. Rawesome Foods, however, is not open to the public. It is a private club that requires a paid membership. It is not known how undercover officers got into the club to purchase the dairy items, or if they paid for a membership. This is not the first raid on Rawesome Foods. They were raided in 2010 for the sale of unpasteurized, or “raw” milk.
What is known is that the government has gone too far in “protecting” its citizens. Grown men and women have the right to eat whatever they want. While you and I may not think raw goat milk is the way to enjoy our Captain Crunch, there is no reason that government should outlaw its sale. Further, the licensing requirements are called in to question when the type of sale does not fit into its parameters (to the public versus via private membership club.) On the surface, this looks more like governmental bullying than “protecting” the unpasteurized goat-milk-drinking public (which one could assume is a very niche market.)
The Tea Party movement has long advocated for smaller government as one of its central tenants. This unwarranted attack on this small business is a perfect analogy as to why the Tea Party is on the side of all Americans who believe in personal liberty. The politics of the owners of Rawesome Foods and Palmer’s Farm isn’t important. The conversation here is about the continued over reach of government into our food and food choices. We’ve seen New York work to ban salt and trans fats from restaurants. In California, food establishments are required to post calorie counts of all items. McDonald’s is under attack for putting toys in Happy Meals, and now will only offer apple slices with Happy Meals instead of french fries. In Chicago schools, students can have their home packed lunch thrown away, and then be forced to purchase the school lunch.
All of those things are not the advancement of a society, but a horrific growth of the Nanny State. And, as we see from Rawesome, no one is immune. From McDonalds to private food markets to the schools, government feels compelled to control what we eat. Recently, it was announced that August 20th is Lemonade Freedom Day, in response to the nationwide crackdown on kids’ lemonade stands by police. Perhaps a Food Freedom Day will be next, as it certainly seems it is needed.