The question I keep asking myself about the raid Wednesday on Rawesome Foods is this: why is the government confronting Aajonus Vonderplanitz?
Certainly officials had to know going into his private food outlet in Venice, CA, that they were taking on someone who is both extremely knowledgeable about the laws and also more than willing to challenge the authorities.
Quite simply, Vonderplanitz won’t take grief from anyone, least of all public health regulators. He’s already made that clear. Yesterday, his lawyer walked out of a hearing scheduled by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. “That hearing was to occur less than 24 hours after the raid; impossible, no sane court would support such brief notice,” he says.
Moreover, according to Vonderplanitz, the search warrant used in the Wednesday raid claims the buying club was “used as the means of committing a felony.” Serious allegation.
In an email to members explaining the events of the last couple days, Vonderplanitz says he previously confronted the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health in 2005, when it tried to shutter Rawsome, quoting from a letter he sent then:
“Without intending to be antagonistic, we must face the legal implications regarding your trespassing onto that property clearly posted as no trespassing. Seven of the members testified that you enter the posted NO-Trespassing premises without permission or warrant. Four of them testified that they told you to leave the property immediately but you refused and did not leave for about 30 minutes. That was antagonism and harassment against us. We are willing to forgive your trespass unless you and the county continue to harass us. Resultantly, the Hearing Notice is without legal merit. This letter and supportive document have explained everything that you would have learned in a hearing and we choose not to attend.”
In his email, Vonderplanitz asks, “Why, five years later, is the county attempting to close Rawesome?”
He offers some possible reasons, including his backing of raw dairy farmers who have been targeted by federal and state officials in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Illinois. Government officials “are upset,” he states.
But beyond those immediate issues, wonders Vonderplanitz, “What is the larger picture/story here?”
He offers his ideas: “We must consider that the government is aligned with Big Dairy and has clandestine representatives in government. They want to continue to monopolize dairy and regulate it to the point that small dairy farmers cannot survive with or without them. The proverbial thorn in their sides is the healthy raw dairy movement. It has also been suggested and argued by many people that there exists a ruling class that wants to dumb-down everybody so that they can be easily controlled. The greater civilization grows in numbers, the more they feel the need to control people. Lowering people’s health results in a weak populations that is not going to have the health, energy and time to stop politicians from stealing tax dollars for banksters,”
He also argues that local government agencies are doing the work of the federal government because they are so dependent on government funds.
His conclusion: “Obviously to me, they have come to my backyard Los Angeles to cut off the legs of Right to Consume Healthy Foods/me. (RTCHF is his nonprofit organization that sponsors other private food organizations.) They want to win this here so they can establish precedents. We cannot allow that to happen. It will affect everyone in USA and Canada.”
I wonder if there’s another factor here that Vonderplanitz doesn’t allude to directly. If you read through his buying club membership materials, he takes what many in public health would consider to be a radical view of food rights. The application says the member wants food that is not only free of chemicals and undue heating or cooling, but also “may contain microbes, including but not limited to salmonella, E.coli, campylobacter,listeria, gangrene and parasites…” In other words, don’t try to give us protection we don’t want.
This promises to be a protracted battle. Vonderplanitz invites those who want to support his legal efforts to contribute through his web site.
Shari Danielson, who runs a popular food web site, a couple weeks ago came up with this idea that food poisoning lawyer Bill Marler and I should engage in a debate about raw milk. So we went back and forth via email, and she just posted the entire exchange. Interesting debate, now that I look at it again…and we kept it civil.