I’m beginning to think that, eventually, we’re going to be looking to the courts to resolve the ever-more-inflamed passions around food rights.
The Rawesome raid has unleashed ugly pent-up feelings in many places.
Following my August 3 post, Ron Garthwaite of Claravale Dairy said James Stewart, Rawesome’s manager, “deserves to be in jail” because of some past business dealings gone bad. Now, someone involved in a Santa Monica and Sacramento co-op is calling for a boycott of Claravale.
As we see on this blog, the old feud between Amanda Rose and Mark McAfee of Organic Pastures Dairy Co. is once again bursting into the open. (Kudos to McAfee for opening his milk pool records; I saw an email today from a media person wanting to follow up on the Rawesome raid, who said, “I called Trader Joe’s today to ask where they get their goats milk from and what they feed the goats. They said they could not disclose any information.”)
Maurice Kaehler puts it aptly, “We have met the enemy…and they are us.”
Everyone seems to have an opinion on what the Rawesome situation represents, but it may be we’ll have to watch the legal proceedings unfold to fully understand what’s happening. Remember, the three people charged in connection with the Rawesome case are now in the criminal realm, which has important implications (aside from the fact that they’ve already been thrown in jail.)
This is the first criminal case involving food rights that I am aware of. Everything else has been in the civil arena, where the rules of evidence are less strict, and the stakes not as high. I read where James Stewart could potentially be looking at eight years in jail if convicted of all charges.
Second, the defendants should have an opportunity to go before a jury of their peers. The civil cases until now have all been decided by judges.
Third, this kind of high-profile case could attract high-profile criminal defense lawyers. Mark McAfee said in a comment that he’s heard one such lawyer could be Christopher Darden, of O.J. Simpson fame.
Finally, the decision by prosecutors to put this into the criminal realm, in an area of the country where the passions over food and health are so strong, suggests the various agencies involved in the case feel they have a solid case.
The answers to two key related questions will tell us a good deal about the relevance of this case to the larger matter of food rights:
1. How eager will the prosecution be to settle this case before it goes to trial?
2. How eager will the defendants be to cop a plea?
The extent to which the defendants are willing to appear before a jury of their peers, and risk jail terms, will tell us much about how convinced they are that this is a case entirely about food rights and the right of association…and not a case of outsourcing gone bad or some other business screwup.
One of the things we have to keep reminding ourselves about in the Rawesome case is that this huge police action has occurred without a single case of illness from pathogens.
As a few people have noted, while this huge undercover investigation and crackdown has been occurring, Cargill has made dozens of people ill, including one death, with turkey poisoned with antibiotic-resistant salmonella.
Now, we come to learn via an astounding Wired piece, that it’s not even illegal for Cargill to be selling tainted turkey. No, under U.S. Department of Agriculture rules (which govern sale of meat), such salmonella is not even illegal. U.S. Food and Drug Administration rules (which govern milk and eggs) are different. But once again, we’re not talking about tainted product in the Rawesome case.
Talk about perversion of justice.
From Wiki: "Defeat in detail –is a military phrase referring to the tactic of bringing a large portion of one's own force to bear on small enemy units in sequence, rather than engaging the bulk of the enemy force all at once. This exposes one's own units to a small risk, yet allows for the eventual destruction of an entire enemy force."
Indeed, it is a "perversion of justice". Cargil fed contaminated meat to the masses and they were not shut down, they even killed a consumer.
Fighting among ourselves will only serve to divide the movement. Standing together does not mean we agree with everyone within the movement. As others have said, no one wants to sicken anyone. It is freedom of choice..
Dennis Sterns is one of Bill Marler's law partners. He originally wrote the piece. You better not read it. Id hate to have your brain filled with factual information from the most prominent foodborne litigation firm in the nation, and probably the world.
I recommend the March 23rd, 1775 speech by Patrick Henry in its entirety. If I may, here are two excerpts-
"Mr. President, it is natural to man to indulge in the illusions of hope. We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth, and listen to the song of that siren, till she transforms us into beasts. Is this the part of wise men, engaged in a great and arduous struggle for liberty? Are we disposed to be of the number of those who, having eyes, see not, and having ears, hear not, the things which so nearly concern their temporal salvation?"
"They tell us, sir, that we are weak — unable to cope with so formidable an adversary. But when shall we be stronger? Will it be the next week, or the next year? Will it be when we are totally disarmed, and when a (FDA) British guard shall be stationed in every house? Shall we gather strength by irresolution and inaction? Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance, by lying supinely on our backs, and hugging the delusive phantom of hope, until our enemies shall have bound us hand and foot?"
Mr. J. Ingvar Odegaard
Because last Wednesday, the 3rd of August, it was raided. Private property was wantonly destroyed and confiscated. And the manager and two others were locked up and then taken to a Judge.
A Judge that evidently has enforceable, secret, personal amendments to our United States Constitution going.
Who asked for this warrant?
Three Felonies a Day: How the Feds Target the Innocent (2009) by Harvey Silverglate might be relevant.
Highly restricted ultimately fraudulent court environments are part and parcel of these high-handed actions. Such misuse of the judiciary must be curbed by the highest court if the courts as a whole are friends of our liberty. The legislatures must unravel the labyrinths they have created. The executives must heel their agencies and their labyrinths of regulations. And the voters must shoulder the full responsibilities required of a self-governing people. The Pursuit of Happiness cannot possibly mean license. We must be a virtuous people. And vigorously defend freedom and liberty. Do we not already wear Jacob Marleys chains? We have forged them ourselves. The principle of as you sow, you reap, has clasped them to us. We can yet learn from the past, the present, and the sure future they will produce and change as Scrooge changed. Our future can be different, it can be much better.
Mr. J. Ingvar Odegaard
"Judiciary misuse must be curbed if the courts as a whole are to be friends of our liberty."
Mr. J. Ingvar Odegaard
And if it is revealed that there is a solid case against the three (or one or two of them) apart from what many see as the "food freedom" issues, then what about the co-op members who had their food seized and are now suffering loss? Is there enough desire and anger among them to band together and become the plaintiffs in a separate case? Such a case could distance themselves from any criminal charges against the three while keeping the food freedom issues in the spotlight. This is going to be very interesting…
Mary….thank you so much.
In this case the courts determined that salmonella ( or other pathogens ) was a contamination or an adulterant to meat. This alllows the USDA inspected stamp of approval to be applied to meat with pathogens…..clearly this will be a key to Defend the RAW THREE.
Pathogens are legally ok under gov standards. This changes slightly, later when ecoli 0157h7 was given an exception to this rule….but other pathogens are still ok in and or on meats.
Leaders are Readers…..if we expect to be smart and defend the right to access and consume whole unprocessed foods we need to know thy enemy. This enemy speaks out of both sides of its mouth ( as convenient to their cause ). This tIme I stand with Mary.
I intended to say….that in the BUTZ case, the courts held that salmonella and other pathogens were NOT considered contaminants or adulterations to meat.
When I tried to edit and amend the soft ware program ignorred me.
Get real. When he goes after Cargill and DeCoster, he'll be something. Right now…not so much.
Read the Butz case not Marler. Marler did not create a legal case he just reported it….the case shows the double standards and the duplicitous bias of our USDA, CDFA, and FDA.
Mark, the logic behind the case you refer to is that meat can be cooked therefore if a pathogen is in the meat, correct cooking temps will kill the Salmonella. You don't cook raw milk.
Please, spare us the hyperbole.
Your explanation about cooking meat overly simplistic, with about two-thirds of the chicken supply contaminated with campylobacter (from Consumer Reports). Here's what CDC says about the danger: "Even one drop of juice from raw chicken meat can infect a person. One way to become infected is to cut poultry meat on a cutting board, and then use the unwashed cutting board or utensil to prepare vegetables or other raw or lightly cooked foods. The Campylobacter organisms from the raw meat can thus spread to the other foods."
We've created a monster, yet no interference with chicken sales, but instead people are jailed over selling unpasteurized milk that hasn't even shown signs of pathogens. You need to get over your denial that the authorities are looking out for our interests.
The US is a nation of immigrants and the children of those immigrants. As a nation we have inherited many culinary traditions.
Some cultures tradtionalyl eat meat that has been "cooked" by marinating in mixture of an acidic medium like lime juice or vinaegar mixed with salt or sea water. Some cultures traditionally eat certain meats raw (steak tartar anyone?). There are many variations in between. The meats are safe to eat this way in grandmother's home country. Why are they not safe to eat this way in the US?
To say that it is acceptable to sell raw meat contaminated with a pathogen because "correct" cooking temperatures will kill the pathogen is an absurd argument. Even if someone subscribes to the "cook the life out of it" habit, they still have to handle the contaminated raw meat in the kitchen. Why should meat companies be allowed to pollute someone's kitchen?
You like to harp on raw milk as though it is inherently dangerous. Many of us, and our families and friends, have been drinking raw milk in the US for multiple generations without any incidences of illness. When we have experienced an incidents of food poisoning, it has been from the pasteurized milk or from restaurant food that was contaminated by the types of food that Marler or the government would have us believe are safe.
Why do you turn a blind eye to greater threats to human health? HUS and Guillane Barre are not the result of food poisoning. They are the result of improper medical treatments for diarrhea that were given by a system that that can't think outside the antibiotic box and believes that only a 'drug' can cure a disease.
Medical researchers know that there are effective phytomedicine treatments for diarrhea from enteric pathogencs that are effectively used in areas where dysentery is endemic. These phytomedicines are available in the US but the conventional pharma system can't patent them to claim exclusive selling rights, so they won't advocate for their use in our "health" care system.
Why aren't you pushing for a clean up the meat and pharma/chemical industries?
No illnesses, people love the product because it uses real ingredients… but how dare let people choose what they eat without the gov't and industry getting a cut of the action via regulation and equipment sales!
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August 8, 2011
The Pasteurization Police March On
Posted by Karen De Coster on August 8, 2011 08:41 AM
The Chicago Tribune has published a story about the Illinois Department of Public Health's threat to shut down artisanal ice cream makers for making fresh – not industrial/processed – ice cream.
Kris Swanberg, a laid-off teacher, did something with her newfound free time and started to sell a product called Nice Cream, an artisanal product of her own creativity. Her apparent issues, among many, are that she uses fresh strawberries instead of high fructose corn syrup-loaded strawberry syrup, and she makes fresh ice cream as opposed to using the industrial, pre-made, processed "ice cream" mix that is made from artificial ingredients and chemicals. The ice cream is so good that even the local Whole Foods store sells the product, as well as the farmers markets.
However, Kris is told she will need a dairy license to stay in business. To get the license, Kris would have to find a new work space for her business, have the product consistently tested for bacteria levels, change the labeling and packaging to meet state standards, and purchase a $40k pasteurizer or used pre-made mix. She's been told to use processed strawberry syrup or irradiated strawberries because fresh strawberries will not pass the bacteria tests. She's been told by the Health Department that even if she uses pasteurized milk "and boils all of her ingredients together, she would need to pasteurize it again in the special machine." Meanwhile, Kris Swanberg has been ordered to stop putting her products on the shelf.
Once again, the artisanal food makers are the new "terrorists" marked by the Food Nazis for harassment and, eventually, ruination of their businesses.
Ice cream shares anyone?
If I got together with a group of friends to make a large batch of ice cream from fresh, real food ingredients, and we then divided the end result among us so that each took home a portion of the "fruits of their labour", would we be guilty of a crime?
Very poor piece of journalism in my opinion. But it shows a lot of the public perception about raw milk that has to be overcome.
There is an inverse relationship between harrassment of raw milk and its popularity and market growth. The FDA does not understand this.
John Sheehan….FYI….Multiagency FDA, CDFA…SWAT action is harrassment of Raw Milk.
Kind of like the good that begets those that turn the other cheek and ask for another slap. A little Christ like in my book.
In 1971, the American Public Health Association (APHA) sued the USDA on the grounds that its mark of inspection ("inspected for wholesomeness") was misleading because, even though the USDA had put its stamp of approval on meat — literally — it did not, for example, test the meat for bacteria. Moreover, APHA argued that raw meat was commonly contaminated with Salmonella, which posed a risk to the public health. According to APHA, the USDA should instead require that meat carry both a warning label and cooking instructions. The USDA opposed the APHA, helped ably (and predictably) by the meat industry. As quoted by Marion Nestle in her great book, "Safe Food," the USDA's position was that, given how many foods are contaminated with Salmonella, "it would be unjustified to single out the meat industry and ask that the [USDA] require it to identify its raw products as being hazardous to health." (Note to readers: No, really, I am not making this up.)
In 1974, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the position of the USDA and the meat industry, doing so in a way that was as nonsensical as it was sexist. The court stated that: "The presence of salmonellae on meat does not constitute adulteration within this definition [of 'adulterated,' provided in 21 U.S.C. 601 (m)]….As it said in its letter of August 18, 1971 'the American consumer knows that raw meat and poultry are not sterile and, if handled improperly, perhaps could cause illness.' In other words, American housewives and cooks normally are not ignorant or stupid and their methods of preparing and cooking of food do not ordinarily result in salmonellosis.'" APHA v. Butz, 511 F.2d 331, 334 (1974).
Sophie, here is everything Bill Marler has written about DeCoster:
I immediately sent her PDF copies of the last 4 years of data.
Also…Farmagedon seems to be making a good impact.
I willl fully report back all about the meeting with the Secretary of Ag in CA ( when it happens) . The meeting has the who's who of CDFA in attendance.
I did provide copies of all the records for OPDC Milk Pool going back at least 4 years. I also asked CDFA to allow Amanda access to Milk Pool records directly while visiting Sacramento. CDFA refused to allow anyone access. They have a policy against outside access unless under court order. I could not even access my own records while visiting CDFA in Sacramento. This is security paranoid gov-ment.
I gave Amanda everything that she needed for a thorough review of OPDC purchases of outside milk.
There were none. That was more than a year ago.
Why be-labor this rediculous nonesense? Lets discuss meaningful subjects that really matter. Like all the asthma kids lives that are improved or saved by raw milk.
This is the truly important issue of the day….distractions play into the FDA game of Roulette with our lives.