By Ari LeVaux
August 3 was a telling day for food freedom in America, but the events were framed in terms of food safety. In Venice, California, the Rawesome raw food club was raided by armed federal and county agents who arrested a club volunteer and seized computers, files, cash, and $70,000 worth of perishable produce. James Stewart, 64, was charged on 13 counts, 12 of them related to the processing and sale of unpasteurized milk to club members. The other count involved unwashed, room-temperature eggs—a storage method Rawesome members prefer. The agents dumped gallons of raw milk and filled a large flatbed with seized food, including coconuts, watermelons, and frozen buffalo meat.
That same morning, leaders at the multinational conglomerate Cargill were calculating how best to deal with a deadly outbreak of drug-resistant Salmonella that originated in a Cargill-owned turkey factory.
When word of the raw milk crackdown got out, a bevy of high-profile lawyers offered to represent the raw foodies pro bono, says Rawesome member Lela Buttery, 29. Christopher Darden, who helped prosecute O.J. Simpson, appeared at Stewart’s arraignment just in time to lower his bail from the $121,000 that prosecutors had recommended to $30,000, and to strike a rarely used clause that would have prevented Stewart from employing a bail bondsman.
Buttery told me the mood in the courtroom was almost comical when Stewart’s initial $121,000 bail was announced. “We’d been watching child molesters and wife-beaters get half that amount. James is accused of things like processing milk without pasteurization and gets such a high bail amount … the felons in court burst out laughing.”
Read the full post at The Atlantic