Raw Milk Raid Timeline

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This article is part of the Food Rights Network, a project of the Center for Media and Democracy. Find out more here.

The Raw Milk Raid Timeline provides a timeline of government raids of farmers and others selling and/or distributing raw milk.

2004

  • Spring: Organic Pastures, California: "Without notice, the FDA in association with state agencies visited Organic Pastures Dairy Company (OPDC) and carried out a multi-day investigation. The initial authority provided at arrival was suggested that the FDA was visiting to look at cheese production. On the second day of the inspection/ investigation an FDA investigator (Special Agent Jennifer King) was found secretly and illegally rapidly taking pictures of customer files of PET food sales and colostrum sales. OPDC demanded that the FDA leave and return the next day so that OPDC attorneys could respond to the illegal and unauthorized taking of customer data and file information. The FDA was found illegally operating outside of its jurisdiction, they were very embarrassed and did not return for five years."[1]

2006

  • August: Amos Miller Food, Pennsylvania: "Amos Miller Food was red tagged and embargoed. Aajonus Vonderplanitz, later co-founder of Rawesome Foods, ghost writes motion to quash. Judge throws the case out of court and quashes the complaint against Amos Miller. Miller continues supplying food."[1]

2007

  • February: Greg Niewendorp, Michigan: February: Greg Niewendorp sends legal notice to Michigan Department of Agriculture (MDA), alienating his property and notifying of non-compliance in the state’s unlawful, dangerous experimental TB cattle testing and eradication program. MDA quarantine’s his farm.
  • August 21: Two state police trespass on Niewendorp’s property – with a state vet in wait around the corner – to coerce him into testing. Niewendorp escorts them off the property
  • October 7: The state vet, enforcement agents, and representatives of the MDA, warrant in hand, with police and SWAT teams standing by down the road, trespass on Niewendorp’s farm, forcing his cattle to be used for the state’s experimental program and RFID ear-tagged for the National Animal Identification System.

2008

  • April 25, 2008: Mark Nolt's Nature's Sunlight Farm in Pennsylvania raided by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture and six state troopers, arrested, and $20,000-30,000 of his product and equipment seized. "They swooped in ... like a bunch of Vikings, handcuffed me and stole $30,000 worth of my milk, cheese and butter," Nolt told the New York Daily News.[4]
  • December 1, 2008: John Stowers and family's sheep farm and operators of organic food buying cooperative Manna Storehouse in LaGrange, Ohio, raided by "heavily armed team" of Ohio Department of Agriculture agents. Head of household John Stowers is not present at time of raid, nor his son Chad Stowers, a Navy Seabee serving in Iraq. Agents hold women and children-- the only family members present-- for hours while "ransack[ing] the premises and seiz[ing] belongings, including food, computers and records. . . . The agents confiscated one year’s worth of family food, food purchased for coop members, computers and all business records."[5][6]

2009

2010

  • April 2010: Dan Allgyer's Rainbow Acres Farm in Pennsylvania raided at 5am by the FDA with the U.S. Marshals and a state police trooper, following a months-long operation by an undercover investigator.[7]
  • June 2, 2010: Vernon Herschberger's Grazin' Acres Farm raided by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. He cuts the seals on his coolers and reopens his private farm store for business the next day.[8][9][10]
  • June 30, 2010: Rawesome Foods and its supplier, Healthy Family Farms, LLC, are raided and dairy products are seized.[11]

2011

  • August 3, 2011: U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the California Franchise Tax Board, the California Department of Food and Agriculture and police raid Rawesome Foods (Los Angeles, CA) and arrests James Cecil Stewart, Sharon Ann Palmer, and Eugenie Bloch.[12] Leading up to both raids, the Los Angeles County District Attorney "employed at least three paid informants to join Rawesome...They were to join and become part of the community and report back on what was happening." There were also, separately "at least half a dozen undercover investigators," and "the investigators mounted secret 'pole cameras' within the tiny food club in Venice, CA, to film members in the club picking up food." Defense lawyer Ajna Sharma-Wilson says, "They spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on informants and undercover agents. . . . They've spent millions on the whole case."[13]

Articles and Resources

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References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Government Overreach, Grassfed on The Hill, accessed September 13, 2011
  2. David Gumpert, A Raw-Milk Raid Leads to a Special Thanksgiving: After a Kentucky raw-milk farmer gets busted in Ohio, his shareholders decide to help run the farm and its distribution business, BusinessWeek, November 27, 2006
  3. David Gumpert, States Target Raw-Milk Farmers: Michigan is the latest to bust a provider of unprocessed milk—and its heavy-handed tactics may put three small farms out of business, BusinessWeek, October 19, 2006
  4. Bob Unruh, Feds launch 'Gestapo raid' over raw milk: Rally planned for farmer whose dairy swept by government, WorldNetDaily, May 4, 2008
  5. Kimberly Hartke, Publicist, Weston A. Price Foundation, Armed Authorities Raid Family Farm - Ohio Department of Agriculture Traumatizes Women and Small Children, press release, December 15, 2008
  6. Armed officers raid home, hold mom, kids for 6 hours: Health department cops allege licensing issues over food co-op, WorldNetDaily, December 17, 2008
  7. Stephen Dinan, Feds sting Amish farmer selling raw milk locally: Cite interstate commerce violation, Washington Times, April 28, 2011
  8. Chris Woodard, Raw Milk Raid: One day after his farm is raided and authorities tell him to shut things down a local farmer is still selling raw milk, NBC 15, June 3, 2010
  9. Mr. Augie, ALERT: Wisconsin Family Food Ministries Raided for Raw Milk– Defying Orders, Journal of Natural Food and Health, June 3, 2010
  10. Chris Rickert, Raw milk advocates decry raid on farm, LaCrosse Tribune, June 4, 2010
  11. David Gumpert, Authorities, Including FBI, Raid Aajonus Vonderplanitz' CA Buying Club and Raw Dairy Herdshare in New Buying Group Assault; He Orders Staff to Stay Open, Ignore Red Tag, The Complete Patient blog, July 1, 2010
  12. David Gumpert, Major New Escalation in War on Food Rights As Federal and Local Agencies Team to Arrest 3 in CA on Criminal Charges Associated with Rawesome Food Club, The Complete Patient blog, August 3, 2011
  13. David Gumpert, Rawesome Investigators Used Paid Informants, Pole Cameras--Prosecutor "Doesn't Want Raw Milk, She Wants Blood", The Complete Patient blog, October 7, 2011