Police Raid Organic Raw Milk Co-op, Guns Drawn (Video)


Screengrab: Russia Times
... And Colbert Weighs In
You may recall this story surfacing over the summer: A police squad raided Rawesome, an organic food co-op, guns drawn, because it was allegedly selling raw milk. Besides scaring the crap out of the management and organic shoppers, it created a stir in the organic food community. There's been renewed controversy over the fact that the FDA designates raw milk's to be illegal, and the severe -- and wholly inappropriate -- overreaction by the LAPD shown in the video certainly raises the stakes. Luckily, a certain uber-conservative satirist is on hand to sort the whole mess out: Video of the raid and Colbert's take are after the jump.

Clearly, there was no need for the LAPD to have used such intimidation in this case -- just read the LA Times' account of what happened that day:

With no warning one weekday morning, investigators entered an organic grocery with a search warrant and ordered the hemp-clad workers to put down their buckets of mashed coconut cream and to step away from the nuts.

Then, guns drawn, four officers fanned out across Rawesome Foods in Venice. Skirting past the arugula and peering under crates of zucchini, they found the raid's target inside a walk-in refrigerator: unmarked jugs of raw milk.

Besides being kind of hilarious, it's pretty ridiculous that the officers handled the operation as though they were taking down a coke ring.

But it wasn't illegal drugs -- it was illegal milk. Raw, or unpasteurized milk is increasingly beloved in organic food communities, both for its taste and for its alleged health benefits. It is currently considered to be a health risk by the FDA, and is therefore illegal to sell commercially. But one of TreeHugger's resident chemists did a fantastic report on the benefits and risks of raw milk, and found that the risks, while real, were rare and overstated.

Which brings us to the great (sarcastic) champion of government deregulation, and his take on the ordeal in LA. Here's Stephen Colbert's investigative report on the raw milk scandal:

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Rawesome Foods Raid
Colbert Report Full Episodes2010 ElectionMarch to Keep Fear Alive

Okay, so the police were ridiculous, and the operators of Rawesome Foods come off as pretty ridiculous, too. The FDA rep is painted as the sane man in the proceedings -- but raw milk is nowhere near as dangerous as he makes it seem. The afflictions he lists are real ones, but careful raw milk producers avoid them with good, thorough practices -- they often take much better care of their animals than the operators of industrial farms that most of our milk comes from.

Regardless of which side of the debate you fall on, you have to admit: Ron Paul's remark about 'pasteurization without representation' is pretty amazing.

More on Raw Milk
Raw Milk Risks and Benefits Explained
The Milk Police---Smuggling Raw Milk across State Lines
Amish Farmer Challenges Raw Milk Laws
Do You Trust Raw Milk?

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