It was an average weekday morning last month at Rawesome Foods in Venice, California when federal, state, and local authorities busted in, guns drawn, looking for an illicit stash of raw milk. Law enforcement at its finest.
The Los Angeles Times has the details of the raid, and Rawesome Foods's surveillance video, which shows police entering the premises as if they're busting into a warehouse full of cocaine. The authorities were there to confiscate jugs of raw goat and cow milk, which Rawesome sells to local connoisseurs. One official told the LAT, "This is not about restricting the public's rights. This is about making sure people are safe." Still reeling from the experience, Rawesome volunteer Sea J. Jones, who "still can't believe they took our yogurt," throws the neighborhood potheads under the bus: "There's a medical marijuana shop a couple miles away, and they're raiding us because we're selling raw dairy products?" Nice.
The raid was executed on June 30 by the Los Angeles County district attorney's office, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, the California Department of Food and Agriculture, the FDA and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Afterward, they posted a sign on the front door that said Rawesome had been "operating a food facility without a valid public health permit." The interagency raid hauled in an impressive amount of contraband, too:
Investigators confiscated the club's computer and 17 coolers packed with, among other things, 24 bottles of organic honey, 10 gallons of raw whole milk and two bottles of raw cane syrup.
It's a good thing they got that stuff off the streets! The co-founder of Rawesome Foods, Aajonus Vonderplanitz, told the paper, "This is about control and profit, not our health. How can we not have the freedom to choose what we eat?" And although the investigation is ongoing, members of the co-op continue to shop there. A true food revolution.