Thursday, September 9, 2010

Defying the food police

Posted By on Thu, Sep 9, 2010 at 10:49 AM

What food police? Oooooh ... those food police. It seems the deck is stacked against small producers and in favor of corporate food giants, you know the ones that fill our food with chemicals, dyes, hormones, antibiotics, mistreat animals, formulate their foods to make them irresistible and offer their products at low, low prices so we can barely resist buying in bulk.

We can thank those corporate farming practices for several food scares recently as well as antibiotic resistant strains of deadly bacterias, like MRSA. These days, food is so processed Michael Pollan, a well-known real-food advocate, has stopped calling much of what's available at the grocery store food — instead he calls it "food-like substances." Meanwhile, our government is hanging back, waiting for the corporate farmers to tell them what to do.

But, there are a few people who aren't interested in this new way of processing food. Nay, they're looking back to a time when things were done on a smaller scale, in local markets and without all of the extra crap industrial processing introduces into the food chain.

While our country has had moments where we glorify rebels, we've come to a point when so many people have blinders on, and they're so scared of some food products, unsure which options really are best for their families, that anything outside of a brightly lit chain grocery store seems a little weird. But not everyone is willing to be passive in this battle to reintroduce health into our diets. Some are even being arrested for attempting to circumvent big food companies.

The ranks of food resisters are now expanding rapidly. Driven by increasingly harsh crackdowns by local and federal agencies on small producers and distributors of unpasteurized (raw) milk and other nutrient-dense foods, growing numbers of individuals involved in this part of the food chain are publicly refusing to abide by government edicts and shutdown orders.

But the reality for today's rebels is far from glorious. Max Kane, the owner of a buying club in Wisconsin that distributes raw milk, is facing jail if his appeal on a contempt of court conviction last December is denied. He had several times refused orders from the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection to provide information about the farmers who supply his milk and the names of his raw milk customers.

James Stewart, the manager of Rawesome Foods, which was raided June 30 by agents from five federal, state, and local agencies, is facing the possibility that the private food club he helped found five years ago could be demolished and plowed under by the Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety any day. Rawesome was served with a "Substandard Order" last month after it defied a closure order by public health authorities following the raid.

Brigitte Ruthman, owner of a 32-acre farm in the Massachusetts Berkshires, could lose her dairy after she was served in August with a cease-and-desist order for running a one-cow herd share serving three shareholders with raw milk, and announced her intention to resist.

Read the rest of this Grist.org article, by David Gumpert, here to find out about the six things you should know before defying the food police.

Frightening, isn't it? So much for a free country or that kooky myth about the "free market."

What is raw milk anyway? Check this out for the answer:

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