Excerpt from the latest David E. Gumpert posts on The Complete Patient blog:
“James Stewart, manager of Rawsome Foods in Los Angeles’ Venice district, has been having a nightmare–“that they’ll come and bulldoze this property.”
“This property” consists of one forty-foot and two twenty-foot shipping containers that have been refurbished into a funky food distribution center used by the 1,500 members of Rawesome, which is a private food club.
He’s been studying the August 18 “Substandard Order” received from the Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety, and for the life of him, can’t figure out what the exact appeal process is, or the date by which he needs to file an appeal. Nor can he get a straight answer from the department.
“Today could be the day–we could be shut even though we’ve done nothing wrong,” and even though there hadn’t been a peep from any city agency in the two years that the structures have been on the vacant lot. Stewart says he was led to believe that, because the containers are temporary, they aren’t subject to the same building regulations as a permanent structure.
In the meantime, Rawesome has continued to serve its members, opening yesterday as scheduled.
Now, Stewart appreciates that the “Substandard Order” isn’t about building codes or safety, It’s about politics, and The State made a strong political statement with its guns-drawn raids June 30 (on Rawesome and nearby Rawesome herdshare farmer Sharon Palmer) that included practically a batallion of food and health regulatory agencies at the city, state, and federal levels. “I’m under full attack,” he told me….”
Above excerpt is from David’s Sept 2, 2010 post on The Complete Patient blog. Read the whole thing here.
And the passage below is from David’s August 31st, 2010 post on The Complete Patient blog:
“Gradually, the various follow-up assault roles of The State agencies involved in the raid on Rawesome Foods are becoming clear.
A few days ago, we learned that the Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety was assigned to harass Rawesome about building safety codes.
Now we learn that the California Department of Food and Agriculture has been assigned to do lab tests of all the food stolen, er, seized, in the June 30 raid. That information came to light a via a press release issued by CDFA saying its lab “detected” listeria monocytogenes in two varieties of raw-milk cheese from a Missouri producer, Morningland Dairy.
The dairy, which has been selling raw cheeses nationally for thirty years, has never had an illness from its cheeses, its general manager, Denise Dixon, told me. Indeed, the FDA, in a separate press release, in which it said the Morningland cheese was taken from Rawesome, states that no one has become ill from the supposedly contaminated cheese. (The FDA censors reviewing the draft press release must have missed that statement.)
The matter of listeria monocytogenes in foods has become a contentious issue in the raw milk world, especially in New York state, where agriculture officials have made numerous findings of listeria monocytogenes in raw milk over the last five years, without any individuals becoming ill. Within the scientific community,there has been much debate over the last twenty years over whether trace amounts of listeria monocytogenes really are any kind of health threat, since the bacteria are considered pervasive, and illnesses quite rare.
In the meantime, tiny Morningland Dairy, with six employees, has essentially become caught up in the dragnet growing out of the assault on Rawesome Foods by State agents with guns drawn. Now that they carried out such a huge hit on a small private organization, the agencies are under pressure to show “results.” So the city of Los Angeles started with health code violations and moved on to building violations; California is devoting huge resources to examining all the food and finally, to the agents’ collective relief, I am sure, has a “bingo” in finding a few listeria cells in Morningland cheese. And Morningland has been pressured to recall all its cheese from the first of this year, and prohibited by Missouri officials (presumably recruited by FDA) from shipping any cheese–in effect, shut down. In the authoritarians’ view, just a minor casualty on the road to sterile food.
Now, as I understand it, the huge DeCoster egg operation that has sickened 1,200 people with contaminated eggs since May, continues operations. …”