Major New Escalation in War on Food Rights As Federal and Local Agencies Team to Arrest 3 in CA on Criminal Charges Associated with Rawesome Food Club

The American government has launched a major new escalation in its campaign against food rights by arresting on criminal charges the manager of the private Rawesome Food Club in Venice, CA, a farmer who supplies the club, and her assistant.

The circumstances of the arrest, following on an investigation by California and federal officials involving purchases of raw dairy products by undercover agents who joined the club, sound eerily similar to the case brought last April against Amish farmer Daniel Allgyer. In that case, U.S. Food and Drug Administration officials spent 13 months in an undercover investigation, in which FDA agents joined a Maryland food club under assumed names.

The California arrests, following on a new raid on Rawesome, come just 13 months after the same agencies launched a highly publicized raid on the food club. It re-opened the next day and has been operating since, fighting off efforts by the Los Angeles Building Dept. to shut it down.

Re-opening won’t be so easy this time around, since the club’s manager, James Stewart, is in jail, apparently being held on $125,000 bail.

The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office said the three “were arrested today on criminal conspiracy charges stemming from the alleged illegal production and sale of unpasteurized goat milk, goat cheese and other products.”

“Sharon Ann Palmer, 51 (dob 04/14/1960), James Cecil Stewart, 64 (dob 07/26/1947) and Eugenie Victoria Bloch, 58 (03/17/1953) were charged in a 13-count complaint, BA 385253, which includes four conspiracy counts. Stewart and Bloch were expected to appear in Department 30 in the Foltz Criminal Justice Center Thursday for arraignment, said Deputy District Attorney Kelly Sakir of the District Attorney’s Environmental Law Section. Palmer’s arraignment hearing has not been set.

“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.

“During a year-long investigation, investigators made undercover purchases of unpasteurized dairy products from Healthy Family Farms stands at Los Angeles, Ventura and Santa Barbara county farmers markets and at Rawesome. The products included unpasteurized goat milk, cheese, yogurt and kefir.

The investigation found that Healthy Family Farms and Rawesome customers were required to pay a membership fee of up to $50, or purchase a one-time ‘day pass’ at Rawesome to purchase products there. Bloch reportedly informed undercover operatives that the membership payments and paperwork were needed for ‘legal’ reasons, and they were not supposed to sell dairy products to nonmembers.”

And if you doubt this latest escalation wasn’t well coordinated among American government agencies, consider this from the D.A.’s press release: “Agencies taking part in the ongoing investigation include the U.S. Food and Drug Administration; the California Franchise Tax Board; the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s Milk and Dairy Food Safety Branch and the department’s Division of Measurement Standards; the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office; the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health; the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department, the Ventura County Department of Public Health; the Los Angeles Police Department and the Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety.” How many is that? Eight, nine? I’m rushing here to catch a plane…

It’s more clear than ever that FDA officials are leading an expanding national effort to smash private food organizations committed to obtaining nutrient-dense foods for their members.

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27 Comments on "Major New Escalation in War on Food Rights As Federal and Local Agencies Team to Arrest 3 in CA on Criminal Charges Associated with Rawesome Food Club"

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Sylvia Gibson
August 4, 2011 5:12 am

Wow. What more can I say… what happened to freedom?

Blair McMorran
August 4, 2011 5:15 am

Sylvia, we forgot how to fight. Donate, call, organize and keep your eyes on the prize.

milk farmer
August 4, 2011 5:24 am

This could be a very galvanizing event…if the raw milk community stays together….but if we have some dedicated to splitting the movement….because they somehow know better than the rest of us…or working towards the goal of placating the authorities, it will be a real punch in the gut. Those with the power cannot be trusted….and those that throw in with those that seek to 'work with them' have no place in the REAL movement.

The ENTIRE raw milk community of California (and the rest of the country) needs to stand behind Rawsome.

milk farmer
August 4, 2011 5:57 am

Wow…. who'd a thunk that Dad was right when he said "shut up and listen".

I'd like to hear from those in California in regards to

In the real food movement trust is paramount.

Nourish Yourself
August 4, 2011 6:05 am

TYRANNY…I am speechless!!!! BRAVEHEART – we all need to watch that and learn from the Scottish!!! PUSH BACK, STAND TOGETHER!

This is a PRIVATE FOOD CLUB, it is ILLEGAL what they DID!!!

milk farmer
August 4, 2011 6:14 am

Damn…from what I am reading now they should keep James Stewart in jail for the rest of his life.

I guess Aajonus is no longer associated with Rawsome. Smart.

Greed is not good.

Dig a little…all is not smelling like a rose.

Blair McMorran
August 4, 2011 6:20 am

Wow Milk Farmer, this is terrible info if it is true. I trust our man David will dig up the truth.

Blair McMorran
August 4, 2011 6:28 am

"In the real food movement trust is paramount."-Milk Farmer

Now more than ever.

Sylvia Gibson
August 4, 2011 6:28 am

"Government officials say that even contaminated ground turkey is safe to eat "

Contaminated crap is "safe" to eat……

"To express dismay at the Rawsome Food Co-Op raid in Venice CA, pls call California Dept of Food & Agriculture: 916.654.0773 (direct)."

milk farmer
August 4, 2011 6:40 am

Yes Blair…now more than ever.

Thanks too, I love it when someone uses a word that I have to look up…although I am partial to English usage. lol

August 4, 2011 7:00 am

I just started reading the alleged private investigator's report on Sharon Palmer's possible fraudulent business practices at the website. I'm taking it with a grain of salt, as it appears to be primarily an anti-Aajonus site, and it seems awfully convenient and coincidental for the government goons for this information to be coming forward now. It would be great if anyone can point to who is behind or owns it.

Mary Jean
August 4, 2011 7:37 am

In reading the evidence section, history and facts, it appears that Vonderplanitz is the owner/author of the site and that he has been at odds with Palmer and Stewart for a while.

August 4, 2011 7:43 am

OK, now that I've had time to read the site through….WOW! I can't believe it. What's scary is that I used to belong to a Rawsome co-op (not the one that was raided) last year, but I didn't order any of the Healthy Family Farm's products, thank goodness!

Concerned Person
August 4, 2011 7:51 am

Not looking good for the food club business. Makes you wonder what you may actually be buying at farmer's markets.

Mark McAfee
August 4, 2011 8:04 am

RAWMI is formed….officially as of today. A Raw Milk Freedom day that will be very easy to remember. It is August 4th…FDA Raw Milk Waterloo Day…the day that the FDA screwed up.

I am very proud to announce that the first directors meeting at Raw Milk Institute was held today. We are so very proud and excited to have this behind us and now we can address our mission with zeal.

As to the FDA Waterloo….

All day long I have been working with Kim Hartke and Ann Marie Micheals, and others across America to get a rally coordinated at… Read more »

Concerned Person
August 4, 2011 9:00 am

Remember when I posted this last October. I loved soap operas when I was a teen.

With all the media coverage about Rawesome Foods I became interested in the theories and history of Aajonus Vonderplanitz.

A quick internet search found three (presumably accurate) interview transcripts or other quotes from the man himself:

If we believe in the accuracy of the pieces, then we learn that Aajonus Vonderplanitz:

has craved orgasms since age three.

has overcome dyslexia, autism, juvenile diabetes, peritonitis, blood and bone cancer… Read more »

Concerned Person
August 4, 2011 10:11 am

So a guy who claims to have been saved by coyotes (drinks his own urine etc. etc.) is going after a farmer whose own son says his mother would drive to commercial egg producers and purchase between 30 120 dozen eggs, put them in Healthy Family Farms cartons and sell them for twice as much. Meat was also being slaughtered down on the farm without USDA or CDFA inspection. Her estranged son was estimating $10,000.00 a month sales in meat and $10,000.00 a month sales in eggs. Milk, meat and produce was apparently fraudulently sold as organic to various… Read more »

Gordon Watson
August 4, 2011 10:31 am

as for = Aajonus " believes that AIDS was created at UCLA in 1961-62 and that AIDS, polio and swine flu are government conspiracies." … there's an awful lot of hard evidence substantiating these notions … if you dare to actually investigate and think for yourself,

August 4, 2011 10:52 am

The issues of Happy Family Farms credibility and Aajonus's personal views of the world are a separate and discrete issue from the raid on Rawsome.

Sharon Palmer's credibility issues and Aajonus's complaints with her as a supplier is an issue to be sorted out between Rawsome management and its members. It has nothing to do with food freedom or food rights.

The raid on the Rawsome facility is an issue related to our right to choose the foods we want to eat. This is the key point.

milk farmer
August 4, 2011 11:14 am

Indeed. I doubt the goons were there because eggs were mislabeled, or the chickens had eaten soy…………

Know your farmer only works when you really know your farmer…and actually see the farm. It shouldn't take a PI to find out who they are.

A rally is in order….but frankly, the deception that is obviously going on prevents this from becoming a significant watershed event.

Lying outsourcers are scum of the earth, and those that give them cover, even worse.

Blair McMorran
August 4, 2011 11:26 am

Milk Farmer wrote:

Yes Blair…now more than ever.

Thanks too, I love it when someone uses a word that I have to look up…although I am partial to English usage. lol

Milk Farmer – there is no equivalent word in the English language. Sinverguenza literally means without pride, without integrity nor fear of God. Sinverguenzas are destructive, evil and selfish. Sort of like D.C., or the FDA….greedy petty small self-serving parasites.

The possibility that RAWSOME had these sinverguenzas in their management and suppliers is repugnant, outrageous – it violates God, nature and every honest hard-working honorable farmer… Read more »

Blair McMorran
August 4, 2011 11:55 am

Aajonis (sp?)may seem like a kook to you, but his commitment, wallet, and voice shine a lot more true than yours does. Your posts always leave me cold; not from the heart or any real experience. You are just blowing air up your skirt.

Sylvia Gibson
August 5, 2011 2:39 am

Seems being part of a private membership means nothing? Sounds like "Lacavelier/Larue et al" did entrapment.

Ingvar Odegaard
August 8, 2011 11:50 am

<bold>test </bold>

D Smith
August 10, 2011 10:00 pm

To all of the people who posted here about vegetarian and vegan lifestyles. I have a few words. In case you didn't understand the concept of WAPF, they don't really support vegan or vegetarianism because they support ANIMAL PRODUCTS. For Pete's sake you don't need to be a brain surgeon to figure it out. If you choose to support veganism or vegetarianism (and yes, Sally knows the difference – to the ignoramous who said she didn't – believe me she does) that's great, but then stay off the WAPF boards and don't comment. The… Read more »

bill h
August 11, 2011 3:24 am

Hi Suzanne, sorry for the misunderstanding as that poem was not meant to be a slam on vegetarians at all but intended to symbolize my thought that regardless of what diet philosophy any of us have, let's unite around the commonalities rather than the differences. I can't tell you how many times, people have come up to me over the years saying they believe in this way of eating or that way, and my response is always the same – "good for you as this means you are at least thinking about what you put into your body".… Read more »

August 11, 2011 9:52 am

bill h, thank you for that clarification. I am happy to know that we are sharing the road to bring forth quality nourishment.

Perhaps I have encountered more of the fringe than the core in my travels.