The food police have increased the heat on private providers of nutrient-dense foods, raiding and shutting down Rawesome Foods, a Venice, CA, buying club run by raw-food advocate Aajonus Vonderplanitz.
In addition, the authorities have gone after a nearby goat dairy Vonderplanitz has a herdshare arrangement with–one they raided a year-and-a-half ago, run by Sharon Palmer.
Vonderplanitz is a celebrity of sorts in the emerging raw-food movement, which encourages consumption of not only raw dairy, but raw meat, fish, and vegetables as a means of ensuring good health and countering disease. He travels the world running workshops on the raw food diet, and is understood to have been out of the country yesterday when the raid was conducted by a collection of agents; he reported to several associates Friday afternoon that the raiding party included agents from the Los Angeles Police, city and county health departments, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Involvement of the FBI in a food buying club assault would be a first.
The raiding party confiscated dairy products and honey. By Friday afternoon, he had ordered his staff to open the buying club, and ignore the red tag placed on the property to signify its shutdown.
Most immediately, the legal reason behind the shutdown was the absence of a permit from the Los Angeles Department of Public Health to operate the buying club, according to the text of the shutdown order reproduced on a Yelp.com site.
It’s difficult not to think that the raid on Vonderplanitz’s buying club isn’t an intensification of the pressure on private food groups nationally, including the case against Max Kane in Wisconsin, the four buying clubs in Massachusetts, and more recently the shutdown of the Traditional Foods Warehouse in Minneapolis.
Vonderplanitz is one of the earliest supporters of raw milk, having fought crackdowns in California during the 1980s in Los Angeles. He was an early investor in Organic Pastures Dairy Co., and has provided legal and research documents supporting raw milk to farmers fighting regulators in various parts of the country. He says he used a raw diet to help him recover from terminal cancer when he was in his 20s. Max Kane credits the Vonderplanitz diet with helping him recover from Crohn’s disease.?