Raw Milk Purveyors Arrested, Bail Set at $123,000

Dairy Herd image
A menacing herd. Image: USDA via Flickr (Creative Commons)

In yet another example of wasted resources and misplaced priorities police in LA have raided Rawesome Foods, arresting three people in connection with the distribution of raw milk products without the proper permits. This isn't the first time the "members only" raw food club has been targeted. Last summer Rawesome was raided by local, state, and federal authorities, with guns drawn.

Presumably the authorities weren't satisfied with the results of the raid so they spent the last twelve months collecting enough evidence to arrest club owner James Cecil Stewart. Police concurrently raided Healthy Family Farms, the source of the nefarious white liquid, where they arrested farm owner Sharon Palmer. Stewarts bail has allegedly been set to $123,000, and Palmer's to $120,000. Farm employee Eugenie Bloch was also arrested. No word on her bail, but she has been charged with three counts of conspiracy. LA Weekly quotes the D.A.'s office, stating that the three...

... were charged in a 13-count complaint ... Palmer owns Healthy Family Farms, LLC, in Santa Paula, which prosecutors allege has operated without any type of license or permit for milk production since 2007. The business Healthy Family Farms and Palmer are charged in nine of the 13 counts. Bloch works for Palmer and is charged in three conspiracy counts.
Stewart runs the Venice market Rawesome, which has been in operation for more than six years but has never had any type of business permit or license, prosecutors allege. Stewart is facing 13 counts.

In today's climate of deregulation it's hard to believe that the authorities are working exclusively in the public interest. Since Rawesome is a private club it's safe to assume that the members are aware of what they're consuming when they take home their raw goat milk, yogurt and kefir. These items and more were seized from the premises and the liquid products were allegedly poured down the drain by the police.

I'll leave the last word to club volunteer Danielle Fetzer, quoted in LA Weekly, "You sign a waiver. It's your choice."

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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