Tainted Turkey Favored Over Fresh Milk

August 9, 2011 · 19 comments

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Factory farmed turkeys

Cargill, a giant United States meat processor, is recalling 36 million pounds of ground turkey produced at an Arkansas plant. The meat has been linked to a nationwide outbreak of salmonella food poisoning. This, in the face of a raid and three arrests at Rawesome, a natural foods buying club where no one has ever gotten ill.

The private natural foods buying club, Rawesome, in Venice, California was raided again by local law enforcement agents who discarded $10,000 in raw milk products, seized cash, computers and product.  In a raid on 2010, law enforcement agents entered the private buying club with guns drawn and pointed at shelves of organic food (see these incredible circumstances).  It is this 2010 raid at Rawesome that also lead to raids and seizure of $250,000 in raw milk cheeses at Morningland Dairy, though their cheese was also never associated with illness or outbreak.

On August 3rd, 2011, Rawesome was raided once more as part of a year-long sting that also targeted Healthy Family Farms, a Ventura, California farm which supplies both the buying club Rawesome as well as area farmers markets.  Three people were arrested.

Why aren’t these law enforcement agents raiding Cargill factories and arresting their employees at gun point? Isn’t it a crime to infect, sicken and kill people? Are they seizing and destroying turkeys that are contaminated?

No. They are not. In fact, it took four months for the recall of this tainted meat to occur. That, after 76 people were sickened and one person unfortunately died. There were no armed officials violently seizing and destroying property at Cargill plants.

Clearly, this is not an issue of food safety. It is an issue of who controls what and for how much. The California government wants it’s share of the bounty when it comes to sales. The private buyer’s club does not have to pay any taxes — the participants are owners of the animals and are entitled to receive the bounty from these animals without taxation.

This is what is so upsetting to the state government. They are not getting their “share” of the bounty in the form of tax dollars. They are trying to require the Rawesome Foods facility to pay for licensing so that they can then tax them. But Rawesome is not a public grocery store. It is a private buyers club. Doesn’t it always come down to dollars?

In American (and sometimes I forget that we are here in America) we have rights: We have the right to own and use property. We have the right to use the beneficence of the property. We have the right to contract with others to take care of that property.

So why are they not seizing sick turkeys from Cargil? Cargil is a huge conglomerate and can pay lobbyists, inspectors and officials to keep things quiet for as long as possible in spite of the dangerous and dirty food they are selling.

Here is yet another reason to get connected with your food supply and get involved in these issues. Get involved here:

Real Food Rights

Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund

Social Media Revolt against Government Raids


Natural News.com

Weston A Price Foundation Press Release

Photo Credit: Farm Sanctuary.org

This post is linked to: Real Food Wednesday, Healthy 2Day Wednesday, Foodie Wednesday, Creative Juice Thursday, Full Plate Thursday, Simple Lives Thursday, Pennywise Platter, Fresh Bites Friday, Fight Back Friday, Friday Food, Sugar-Free Sunday, Melt in Mouth Monday, Monday Mania, Weekend Carnival, Traditional Tuesday


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{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

1 jami August 10, 2011 at 10:48 am

Having these two events coincide really gives a clear picture of whats going on here. It is obviously not about the government acting for the protection of people’s health. It is quite the opposite. When people take their food choices, health and lifestyle into their own hands they are bucking the system. Hopefully the rest of America will wake up soon.


2 Jill August 10, 2011 at 11:45 am

Hi Jami,
Thanks for your comments. I did want to show exactly that.


3 Julia August 10, 2011 at 11:32 am

Outrageous! Thank you for bringing these events to light.


4 Anonymous August 10, 2011 at 11:53 am

I totally get it. And the Cargill thing is disgusting. Actually our food laws in general are disgusting which is why I source things locally. I am fortunately able to find everything from meat to milk to veg and grains since I live in NYC.

But…I have to ask. Raw milk is legal for sale in the state of California. And Jenny at the Nourished Kitchen recently wrote a GREAT write up of this case. She openly mentions that the buying club was targeted because they did not have the proper permits. Permits that they could have gotten from the state. Why didn’t they just go and get the permits that they needed to operate legally?

I am not arguing about the laws. They favor big producers and they need to change. You will find only agreement from me there. But clearly this buying club is large and profitable. They seized tens of thousands of dollars in cash. Were they claiming that they can’t secure the proper permits? Raw milk is a highly nutritious food, there is no doubt about it. But it is also very delicate and must be handled properly and in a timely fashion. People can get very sick from drinking improperly handled milk. I knew someone who contracted Listeriosis. She was sick for two years and had to quit her job. Even small companies should offer only safe products. And what happens when raw milk demand outpaces supply? Do we really believe that there will be no unscrupulous people getting into the raw milk business? All this aside, why didn’t Rawsome just go and get the permits that they needed to operate legally?

I may not have all the info on this case. And I would really be open to hearing your opinion of my questions.


5 Jill August 10, 2011 at 1:05 pm

I believe they did NOT need permits because they are a private buying club and the members actually own the animals. This stuff about a permit is just the officials trying to find a way to get them into the loop so that they can tax them.

The resource I gave for Natural News has written many articles on this and he discusses this aspect of the case.


6 Anonymous August 10, 2011 at 1:41 pm

Thanks for your response. I appreciate that you really responded and suggested some reading rather than shutting me down for disagreement. My desire is to understand the issue in it’s whole reality rather than take sides and only read headlines. I want to understand what is actually happening. After looking at the Natural News article I also went further and read the Forbes Article which is interesting. And they suggested a Venice, CA website (http://www.yovenice.com/2011/08/03/rawesome-food-raid-update-8-3-11/) that is detailing news press of the events. According to an LA Weekly report, they may have violated the regulations because they attempted to sell milk to non-members. But that may be overexxagerated or just a rumor. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

I agree. This is about money. But something isn’t adding up to me. If this is just a drop off point, why did they have so much cash? Perhaps the members pay proportionally for how much milk they use every week, rather than like a CSA where you pay the farm once a year for an even weekly share and then pick up veggies cash free. My CSA organizers never take money from me and we have a drop off location in our neighborhood. Perhaps this is why police are alleging that it is a store rather than a private buying club? And if they are charging a fee for giving a service to the members of this club, then they WOULD need a business liscence. That is all I am saying. The details don’t make sense to me.

But thank you for your approach. I will be reading up on this so as to be totally educated.


7 Anonymous August 10, 2011 at 1:48 pm

I guess what I was trying to say is ‘was this business a co-operative grocery store?’ Sorry. I got there eventually. Wouldn’t a co-operative grocery store need permits? It sounds like they are in a legal gray zone, hence all the police harrasment.


8 Ann August 10, 2011 at 12:24 pm

My husband are amazed at these abuses of power. Permits aside, they wasted food and the same people would probably complain that there are starving people on the street. If Cargill let one of there permits expire would they be raided or reminded. I don’t know all the facts, I am going on several articles I have read about this but unless some facts have been left out of every story I have read this a ridiculous use of power. We laugh about how it is legal for us to go to the store and purchase cigarettes which we KNOW will kill us but we can’t buy raw milk because it is deemed dangerous. What a backwards world!


9 Jill August 10, 2011 at 1:08 pm

Hi Ann,
It is ironic and ridiculous that we can easily buy cigarettes and alcohol and yet raw milk producers are being treated like drug dealers!


10 Amanda August 10, 2011 at 5:00 pm

Dear Jill,
I found you via the Healthy 2day Link up and wanted you to see a resource we’re putting together on Facebook to help like-minded blog carnival participants find each other and get notices when the carnivals go live:



11 The Table of Promise August 11, 2011 at 8:26 am

Hi! I am outting myself as the annoying Anonymous commenter from yesterday. I really thank you for your article and response. I have done some additional research on the topic, read some further articles and visited the websites of those arrested. I have gotten my thoughts together and wrote the below article. I didn’t want you to think I was just some heckler. You have a great blog. Thanks for being open to dissenting opinions.



12 Jill August 11, 2011 at 3:29 pm

Thanks for identifying yourself. It is a little disconcerting when someone comments and does not say who they are. I’m glad you wrote a post about this. I will read it. It clearly was an issue you were passionate about. My intention was not to write about the entire issue — just to make the comparison within the food safety issue. Some things get to complicated and you don’t know who is telling the truth…


13 The Table of Promise August 12, 2011 at 2:44 pm

I totally get it. And it does seem ridiculous, the part about getting people sick and the laws that support companies who do just that. I have to believe that the anger of the people is mounting. I feel that in the next several years something will change in the laws of the land. But…i fear that as the laws get tougher it will only make food more expensive and small producers will have an even tougher time of it. I guess we must stay tuned.


14 jean August 11, 2011 at 10:56 am

Just follow the money. Money has become god and we suffer the consequences of it. It is, as the Bible says, “the root of all evil”. On our island, we have no laws against eating local natural and raw foods and the only people who get sick from food poisoning are the tourists and part-time residents who want their conventional food that are often imported. Americans need to give more voice on the right to good food issue.


15 Jill August 11, 2011 at 3:30 pm

Where is your island?


16 Melissa @ Dyno-mom August 11, 2011 at 6:33 pm

You are dead-on when you say it is not about food safety, it is really about knee-jerk reaction to things that are misunderstood because of extreme political socialization. It is about living in “Brave New World” where anything organic, natural and humane is foreign an frightening.


17 Nicole Feliciano August 12, 2011 at 5:28 pm

Thanks so much for sharing with Momtrends for our Friday Food Linky. I love catching up on all the food news here. Your site is a terrific resource. Thanks for educating me.


18 Jill August 12, 2011 at 8:26 pm

Hi Nicole,
Thank you for commenting and accepting some of my not so pretty pictures! I’m glad you enjoy them!


19 Karen August 12, 2011 at 7:04 pm

Food safety, my eye.


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