Out of Control Policy Blog

Raids Increasing on Farms and Food Supply Clubs

Apparently there is not enough real crime out there, and the desperate, desperate need to protect adults from their own choices is waxing.  Sheriffs, DAs, and state agriculture departments are cracking down on groups and businesses that purvey ultra-fresh and raw foods.

What's behind all these raids? They seem to stem from increasing concern at both the state and federal level about the spread of private food groups that have sprung up around the country in recent years -- food clubs and buying groups to provide specialized local products that are generally unavailable in groceries, like grass-fed meats, pastured eggs, fermented foods, and, in some cases, raw dairy products. Because they are private and limited to consumers who sign up for membership, these groups generally avoid obtaining retail and public health licenses required of retailers that sell to the general public.

And, apparently that is just intolerable.

My family and I belong to a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), basically a farmers co-op that provides us and other members fresh produce and other agricultural products. We like it because it is organic, fresh, and unprocessed. We get unpasteurized milk, and hormone/antibiotic-free chicken, etc. from them. We can, and have, visited the farms involved and seen for ourselves what the deal is. We know there are some risks in our choice, but we think that we can manage and mitigate them, and that the advantages outweigh them.

The fact that I have been a farmer, that my wife and I are highly educated, and that we probably know as much about the risks involved as any of the agricultural regulatory agencies means nothing to the nannies and bureaucrats who constantly assail our choices.  They know better, dammit!

Adrian Moore is Vice President, Policy


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