Thank you, Ari LeVaux, for your excellent article on GMOs and the Just Label It campaign ("Just Label It," Oct. 27). This initiative is crucially important because it's part of a much larger issue. Food rights themselves are under attack. Unknown to most people, public health departments all over this country have been engaging in campaigns of intimidation against small farmers and buying clubs. There have been armed raids, healthy food has been destroyed and/or confiscated, lawsuits have been filed and ordinary citizens have been arrested. In October, a health department regulator demanded that food be destroyed at a harvest dinner in Nevada. Although the farmer-hosts had secured all necessary permits and had a certified kitchen on site, the regulator insisted that the food not only be dumped but be doused with bleach. Read the full story on farmtoconsumer.org/quail-hollow-farm-dinner.htm. Here in "enlightened" California, Rawsome, a private raw-food buying club, was raided in August by an armed, multi-agency task force -- after a yearlong sting operation. Virtually everything was seized and the operator, along with a farmer and part-time worker were arrested and charged with criminal conspiracy; bail for the operator was originally set at $123,000! The state is also cracking down on herdshare programs with actions in Santa Clara, El Dorado, Placer, Riverside and L.A. counties.
Locally, do you wonder why those nice feta rounds, etc. are no longer available behind the bakery counter at the Co-op? Ask the Health Department. Although the sale of certified raw milk is legal in California, Humboldt County makes it a criminal offense, punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 and/or 90 days in jail. (It is now, however, available at the Blue Lake Rancheria store.)
Hopefully the Just Label It campaign is the beginning of a concentrated pushback against Big Ag and complicit governmental agencies. If we don't succeed in this effort, I'm afraid it will be game over, so get involved in this all-volunteer effort. This is about personal empowerment, standing up for our food choices and taking responsibility for our own health.
Kay Schaser, Eureka