THE BLOG
07/02/2010 01:51 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

What's the FBI Doing in My Milk?

This past Wednesday, June 30th, the FBI in conjunction with the FDA raided Rawsome, a private membership food-buying club that has supplied my home and much of the Venice and Santa Monica community with super high-quality nutrient-dense foods for the past decade. The club, which opens on Wednesdays and Saturdays only, is extremely popular among raw-foodists and other citizens who choose to eat foods which are unprocessed and "as natural and organic as possible." The general belief among this group is that these fresh foods are much better for the human body than pasteurized, irradiated, processed foods. The FDA does not share this opinion and has expressed its concern that many of these foods will be dangerous precisely because they are raw and untreated. For example, the FDA has expressed concerns about drinking unpasteurized milk products, which I have personally been drinking (and loving) for years. The FDA has now passed regulations against selling various raw foods, hence the need for a private club, which legally can operate without a license.

In order to shop at Rawsome, one must first read and sign a document detailing the alleged dangers of consuming natural, unprocessed and unpasteurized food products. Once signed, a would-be patron will pay an annual membership fee to gain the right to shop at the club. The shopping experience is reasonably run of the mill. Many of the foods sold at Rawsome - fruits, vegetables, nuts - can also be found at most any other market. The difference at Rawsome is that the quality is often better as is the possibility of finding heirloom varieties of one's favorite produce. There is also the fact that people who shop there have this "in the know" grin on their face as if they are hip to some special thing that will make a difference in their lives. And, of course, they are right. It feels great to shop at Rawsome knowing that it sources its foods from local organic farmers and vendors and goes to extraordinary efforts to provide the highest-quality, most nutrient-dense foods available. The FDA does not have the information necessary nor the legal right within a private membership club to dictate what food I am allowed to purchase, eat or feed to my family. Regardless, a raid was conducted yesterday and Rawsome has been shut down allegedly for operating without a license - a license that is not legally required for them to operate their private club.

On Saturday, July 3rd, I will be celebrating Independence Day one day early by doing my shopping at Rawsome. We will be on hand as Rawsome opens its doors despite the illegal and unfounded injunction against it. I want to encourage all members of Rawsome to meet me at 9:00am at Rawsome on Rose Avenue between 6th and 7th street in Venice, CA. In particular, if you are a member of the press, please be there to witness this. And, if you are not yet a member, come down and join. You'll be happy you did.