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Rawesome Foods Raid: The Insanity of the U.S. Legal System

www.mypicshares.com

For the last several years, there’s been a big stir in the news about raids on raw dairy farmers.  On August 3rd, 2011 the latest raid at gunpoint conducted by the L.A. Sheriff’s office, the CDC, and the FDA occurred on the premises of Rawesome Foods, a buyer’s club in Venice, CA.

The picture at the left is a still from a video taken showing an FBI agent raiding Rawesome Foods in Venice, CA from June of 2010. This is the second time this business has been raided by federal agents.

This is just another brick in the wall of our loss of rights to purchase clean, healthy foods that are not adulterated by the industrial food industry.

The raids and arrests of private citizens that occurred this past week on the Rawesome premises – and also on farms all over the country – are above and beyond the jurisdiction of the law.  These types of maneuvers are commonly associated with the production and selling of dangerous controlled substances, not organic food.  The choice we have as citizens to purchase and eat the foods we want to put in our bodies should be our right, and no government agency should be allowed to take that choice away from us.

Rawesome is a private buyer’s club and has legally binding, contractual agreements permitting them to sell to buyers who have chosen to buy organic food and raw milk. One of the main issues surrounding this case is the herdshare or boarding contracts for dairy goats, and this is not the first time dairy goat farmers in the state of CA have experienced this issue.

Federal agents confiscated $10,000 worth of raw milk and $30-40K of produce. They also destroyed property and buildings in the process. And yet, this business is a private entity which sells shares to members, so these individuals who are purchasing food from Rawesome are all owners. Yes, owners. They don’t need permits to pick up their own food that they have contracted and paid to take away. It is ridiculous and unacceptable that business owners should be jailed and have their private property and products confiscated and destroyed.

Watch this video showing the loss Rawesome incurred during this raid:

The FBI also took all the cash on the premises, which totalled over $9,000:

The fact that the buyer’s contract, which was legally binding, has suddenly been declared void by the very government which approved it in the first place is a big issue. According to the law, lacking permits is a misdemeanor, not a felony. When wrongful prosecution and miscarriage of justice happens, it puts the entire foundation of our legal and economic system in jeopardy, and this is something all citizens should be up in arms about. The way our government, which is supposed to be following laws created by the people for the people,  has been conducting itself over these matters has got to stop.

It’s also important to note that no one in this incident has become sick or died from eating foods sold from Rawesome Foods.  This year, Cargill, a multi-national conglomerate company recalled 36 million pounds of ground turkey from store shelves. 76 people were sickened back in March of this year (2011) and one person died, and yet the recalls didn’t occur until July. So far, the only thing happening is a “lengthy” investigation, but no government raids.

How is it that any company selling a product proven to contain Salmonella is allowed to continue selling it for any length of time and not have their doors closed? This kind of thing has been occurring over, and over, and over again in the industrial food sector. Yet, none of these companies are out of business nor facing prosecution in court.  Ironically, mainstream health sources and supporters of the U.S.  food system proudly proclaim that our food supply is one of the safest in the world.

Please watch this interview on MSNBC with Organic Pastures Mark McAfee. Mark McAfee has operated the largest raw, organic, grass-fed dairy in the nation for 10 years, and has never had a pathogenic issue during that span of time. Thousands and thousands of willing and satisfied customers have supported his business and provided their families with wholesome, clean food because Mark cares about delivering a safe and nutritious product to his customers.

If you would like to take action and do something about this situation, please check out the following links:

Real Food Rights

Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund
Farmageddon – director/producer Kristy Canty is a sustainable farm advocate and a mother who wants to make a difference in the future of sustainable family farms

Send your letters of complaints to these entities, a list complied on Sandrine Hahn’s Nourishing Our Children Facebook page.
Join the social media revolt over the government raids and make your voice heard!
Government data proves raw milk is safe – The Healthy Home Economist
Why our family chooses raw over pasteurized milk – Agriculture Society

Activism Green Living Kids & Family Real Food Toxin Alert!

Food Recalls – Why They Could Mean The End Of Real Food As We Know It

www.mypicshares.com

For a long time I believed that with every food recall story in the media, we’d see more and more people start taking notice of what’s going on in the food system – that food produced in factory environments is harming our health because everything is completely backward and geared toward the reign of big food and corporate agriculture – and that sustainable agriculture would start to become the order of the day.

Food recalls are not doing the job they should – they are not waking people up fast enough. The more we continue to support big agriculture’s products by ignoring these problems, the more control will be given to entities (the government) and corporations (Big Pharma and Big Agriculture – companies like Tyson, Smithfield, Swift, and Cargill who control over 80 percent of the food sold in our country) to dictate the future of food growth, production, sales, and health (or lack thereof).

The reality is, nothing will change until major modifications occur in the way we produce food.  Stepping up regulations and laws will not change the recall situation or food-borne illnesses problem.

Every time food recalls happen, irrational and uneducated parties and spokespeople start rousing the masses to stop buying certain foods – tomatoes (2008), beef (2008), pork (2008), eggs (2010), and a breaking report today from Walmart – 380,000 pounds of deli meat (2010).

Recalls are becoming more numerous and people aren’t understanding the reason why – they believe it’s due to lax standards on “food safety” measures and laws. This is only a very small component of what is going on. The real culprit is not eggs or meat or anything else in and of itself – the cause is the farming methods and manufacturing processes used in the growth and production of these foods.

Where is the recall food coming from?

In every instance of these recalls, where has the food come from? That’s right, say it with me: BIG AGRICULTURE  corporations who are “supposed” to have their act together. How often do you hear about a small-time, sustainable farmer using traditional farming practices getting in trouble and having to “recall” their products? It does happen rarely, but realize that most of the time it does, those farmers are not using truly sustainable practices.

Beef recall

Today we read that Walmart is recalling 380,000 pounds of deli meats from its shelves.  Where does this meat come from? Factory farms. Case in point – remember the world’s largest beef recall to date…143 million pounds…in February of 2008 where downer cattle were being discovered on feedlots? These cattle would have, under normal circumstances, been taken away from the facility and destroyed. But they were being processed like every other animal on the facility (I say facility, because factory farms, like where these animals live, are not fit to be termed as “farms”) and processed through as meat for consumption.

Okay, I shouldn’t even have to elaborate about why this scenario is so horrific on so many levels…but humor me. I’m going to anyway to inform and educate those who don’t know or realize what’s going on here.

For starters, those cattle should not be living the way they do – even the ones that were not categorized as “downer” cattle. Those that made it through and were passed by USDA inspectors and deemed “acceptable” or “healthy” for consumption weren’t fit for consumption either. The reason why is that ANY animal born and raised on a feedlot – which is where the MAJORITY of our meat comes from – has experienced an existence that is so far removed from what it should be living, the details of it are staggeringly awful:

Feed Cattle are ruminants and should not be eating corn, soy, grains, and many other substances they are fed – they should be eating grass as that is what their digestive tracts are designed to process. When they eat these substances, their bodies grow faster and bigger, but they become unhealthy (think pathogenic bacteria like E. coli), and then farmers administrate antibiotics to control disease and illness. What results is super-resistant bacteria, and the death of all good bacteria. This is transferred over to humans when we consume the meat and helps us to become resistant too.

Hormones Most conventional cattle are given genetically-engineered growth hormones to speed up their growth process and get them ready for slaughter sooner. Some companies are beginning to ban growth hormones, but we are still a long ways away from this becoming common practice. Growth hormones in meat have been linked to the following health problems: disruption of  human hormone balance which affects development and growth, interference with reproduction, and development of various cancers such as prostate, breast, or colon cancer.

Antibiotics Conventional cattle receive regular doses of antibiotics to combat illnesses originating as a result of unsanitary conditions and the fact that they consume grain, which causes pathogenic bacteria like E. coli to develop in the digestive tracts of the animals. As stated above, antibiotics lead to resistant pathogenic strain bacteria in animals and humans, and the environment.

Pesticides and GMOs Cattle eat feed that has been treated with herbicide and pesticides all through its growing cycle, not to mention the DNA of these plants used for feed has often undergone alteration in a laboratory to change its basic gene structure so it can be resistant to the chemicals used on it to ward off pests.

Pesticides have been shown repeatedly to be toxic to the human body – it can kill all types of living organisms by attacking the nervous system – so how could it be harmless or cause negligable harm to humans and the environment? The Daily Green presented a report illustrating the harmful effects pesticides have on the health of young children. Because their bodies are smaller and still developing, they are more vulnerable, their metabolisms process these chemicals faster, and they have a greater overall negative impact. The damage? Disruption to hormonal, brain, and nervous system health, just to name a few.

The consumption of GMOs has been linked to widespread allergic reactions and problems in individuals – from soy, corn, and grains. It has also been shown to cause liver, reproductive, endocrine, and other health issues, as well as infant mortality rate (in laboratory rats). For more information about the dangers of GMOs, visit The Seeds of Deception.

Egg recall

One of the worst aspects of this egg recall (eggs originating from Wright County Egg farm in Iowa – one of the country’s largest producers – here’s the whole story) is that the issue is the salmonella – so, there’s salmonella in chicken meat from facilities that produce chickens…which provide the majority of supermarkets and restaurants with chicken meat. So why is it that the FDA apparently has no problem with that? If we were to look into just what causes salmonella in chickens, the abominable conditions of the facilities where these chickens live would become public knowledge. And then not many people would agree to buy these products. Well, it’s easy to see what the motivation is here.

If you’ve ever watched any food documentaries or read any books on food politics, you’ll notice that big food corporations and farms repeatedly decline to be interviewed or allow reporters or cameras inside their facilities. Most small-scale, sustainable farmers and food producers WELCOME the opportunity for people to come and tour their farm or facility during business operating hours and in some cases, after hours. Why, you may ask…why the wall of secrecy?

Radiation to the rescue

Now there is a threat of the FDA conducting a mass “sterilization”, or pasteurization of all eggs on the market to “eliminate” the problem. If you don’t believe me, just take a look at what’s already being done to spinach and tomatoes, lettuce, and other foods. The reasoning is that this process will kill E. coli and salmonella and make these foods safe once again for consumption.

As usual, the FDA and other authorities have employed short-sighted methods and are completely ignoring the cause of the pathogenic bacteria that is making consumers sick – the abhorrent conditions in facilities where food is raised and grown. But since these corporations often refuse to allow reporters and cameras in their facilities, they are allowed to continue producing food in ghastly conditions. This is exactly their goal.

How can you possibly get salmonella or E. coli from vegetables? Good question – the answer lies in runoff contamination which pollutes our soil and water from factory farms that raise animals for meat, or in food preparation environments – factories, kitchens, etc. where these foods are allowed to cross-contaminate on cooking and  cutting surfaces, and on machinery.

From Web M.D., “We’re very pleased to see one more tool that we can use to have what’s a nutritious, good product become even safer,” said Robert Brackett, senior vice president and chief science and regulatory affairs officer for the FDA. Sources like Web M.D.  impress that “irradiating spinach and iceberg lettuce is safe and won’t affect overall dietary nutrition, according to the FDA, which notes that although irradiating spinach curbs vitamin A and folate levels, that doesn’t hurt total dietary intake of those nutrients. Irradiation doesn’t make food radioactive, according to background information from the CDC”.

Other medical sources report that irradiation is, in fact, harmful to health. According to Medical News Today, “Food irradiation can result in loss of nutrients, for example vitamin E levels can be reduced by 25% after irradiation and vitamin C by 5-10%. This is compounded by the longer storage times of irradiated foods, and by loss of nutrients during cooking, which can result in the food finally eaten by the consumer to contain little more than ‘empty calories’. This is potentially damaging to the long and short-term health of consumers, particularly for sections of society already failing to obtain adequate nutrition.”

Irradiation of foods does not eliminate dangerous toxins which have already been created by bacteria prior to irradiation. “In some cases, such as C. botulinum, it is the toxin produced by the bacteria, rather than the bacteria itself, which poses the health hazard.”

When foods are irradiated, the chemical composition of the food has been noted to change and can cause mutations in bacteria which, like antibiotics, can lead to the development super-resistant strain bacteria.

What else? You should be prepared to pay a bit more for irradiated food, according to Brackett. About 3 to 5 cents more per pound. So not only is the food you are eating exposed to radiation and can harm your health, but you are expected to pay for it on top of all that? This is what I like to call insanity.

According to Natural News, “The FDA, you see, will seize upon each contamination event as a leverage point from which to ratchet up its food sterilization agenda, and the agency won’t stop until every scrap of fresh food sold at grocery stores is either pasteurized, fumigated or irradiated”.

How can food recalls work to fix the problem?

The answer is simple, but not easy. I’ll use the analogy of wielding the power of nutrition and nature to heal our bodies and health – if we changed our farming practices and methods back to the ways used by traditional farmers through the ages, we would heal the land, the creatures, and our bodies of many of the modern illnesses, problems, and scourges that plague our modern feedlots and factory farm environments. And I won’t pretend things would be perfect; there is no such thing as perfect health. But we would observe a vast improvement in the way things are.

We can use science and technology to our benefit – by taking advantage of modern inventions and discoveries like electricity, cold storage, sanitation, proper storage containment and facilities, and combine it with the best nature has to offer: real food that has not been damaged, processed, heat treated, denatured, deodorized, treated with chemicals, and extruded or otherwise altered by mechanization devices and processes. Just as big pharma has overtaken medical practice in treating symptoms, not causes, with drugs, procedures, and surgery, modern agricultural approaches seek to stop symptoms, not eliminate the issues that cause the problem in the first place.

Modern agriculture needs to heal itself by returning to tried-and-true methods used for thousands of years – and eliminate all these modern problems that exist due to the mechanization, standardization, deodorization, heat-treating, processing of foods which contain enzymes, nutrients, co-factors, amino acids, fats, proteins, probiotics (friendly bacteria), and prebiotics which aid in the digestion, assimilation, and nourishment of food in the body.

Buy from your local farmers, buy sustainable, know what you are eating and how it is produced:

  • eggs from pasture-raised hens
  • organ meats
  • healthy fats like butter, extra virgin olive oil, palm oil, coconut oil, tallow, and lard
  • sustainable or organically-grown produce – fruits, vegetables, legumes
  • whole and sprouted/soaked/fermented sustainable grains

If we can learn one important thing from food recalls, it’s that our [humans] way of packaging, processing, and making things readily available and more convenient anytime we want or need will never supercede nature’s innate ability to know how and what we need to maintain health.

So let’s put the focus where it needs to be – alter the face of industrial food processes, and recognize and embrace the important  health benefits of producing real food as nature intended.  We don’t need to step-up food regulation and safety laws, we need to acknowledge that food recalls happen due to these processes and mechanisms we’ve put into place – those systems we have come to believe are useful and even infallible, and which have ushered in the growth and development of harmful bacteria and harms to human health and the environment, on a scale which humanity has never before seen in history.

Want to know more?

Huge FDA recall of 10,000 products – another wakeup call to avoid processed foods!

Is cheap food really cheap?

The hidden costs of industrial food

Is hunger really a matter of willpower?

11 healthy and nutrient-dense foods at a glance

Nina Planck talks candidly about industrial food

Want to do more?

The time to act is now – oppose Bill S.510 – The Food Safety Modernization Act