Imagine the scene. Cops barge in, guns drawn. “Sir, place the raw milk down and put your hands in the air!” That was apparently the sight at a recent raid of a California organic grocery store.
A Los Angeles Times story notes the following:
With no warning one weekday morning, investigators entered an organic grocery with a search warrant and ordered the hemp-clad workers to put down their buckets of mashed coconut cream and to step away from the nuts. Then, guns drawn, four officers fanned out across Rawesome Foods in Venice. Skirting past the arugula and peering under crates of zucchini, they found the raid’s target inside a walk-in refrigerator: unmarked jugs of raw milk.
The raid was reportedly a coordination among several government agencies: the county’s Department of Public Health and district attorney’s office, the state Department of Food and Agriculture, the FDA, and the federal Department of Agriculture. What concern motivated them to barge in with guns aimed: raw food. The thought! A video of the raid is also posted on the LA Times website.
The regulators justify such clearly overboard behavior on ensuring the public safety. Just what exactly is safe about aiming a gun at people in a grocery store for the audacity of selling food without a proper permit is not clear.
In addition to the safety rationale, government officials also claimed their extreme measures were aimed at ‘fairness.’ By fairness they mean protecting the privileged place of established, larger producers and retailers.
So, they kill two birds with one stone. They protect special interests (a common practice of overreaching government) while at the same time treating individuals in a rather paternalistic manner — incapable of making their own decisions about what to buy, sell or consume.