There was a raid in Venice Beach last week, and it wasn't one of the many (legal'ish) medical marijuana shops that dot the California landscape. Police came into Rawesome, a raw food, local, organic market and drew their guns. They were there for the yogurt and made sure that none of the hemp-wearing (LA Times description) employees stood in their way.
In this context, raw foods refer specifically to unpasteurized diary products, but raw foods can simply mean food straight from the source, unadulterated. The rules for dairy products are you must pasteurize to keep the public safe from potentially deadly bacteria. Some people disagree and want to fight for their right to drink or eat whatever they want.
I'm split on this issue. I do believe the over-processing of foods has robbed us of nutrition and injects harmful additives. However, if you don't know exactly where your dairy is coming from and under what conditions it's obtained, contained, and transported, you don't know how safe that raw cheese or milk is to consume.
According to the LA Times:
Scientists and regulators point to epidemiological evidence linking disease outbreaks to raw milk: The milk can transmit bacteria such as E. coli O157:H7, salmonella, campylobacter, and listeria, which can result in diarrhea, kidney failure, or death.
I'm guessing the folks at Rawesome feel confident in their dairy sources, and perhaps if I were to visit their store and the dairy farms where the product came from, I would too. But as someone who survived a serious food contamination, I'm not willing to risk de-regulating our food supply across the board. Someone will cut corners, and some people will die. I'm sure you don't want it to be your child who picks up a container of contaminated yogurt, and I know I don't.
Perhaps the guns were unnecessary against a group of clean food loving vegans, but I do appreciate that someone, finally, is taking food safety seriously after years of benign neglect.
Do you think you should be able to buy raw food without regulation?
Image via boliston/Flickr