Raw Milk Rift: Rawesome Founder Turned In By One of His Own

Following Stewart's arrest in 2011, protests erupted in the raw milk community
Following Stewart's arrest in 2011, protests erupted in the raw milk community Photo: Cheesesalev via Flickr

Following armed raids in 2010 and two arrests in 2011, the founder of the Rawesome co-op, James Stewart, was again arrested last Thursday by “a trio of tough-looking men in street clothes driving unmarked luxury cars,” as reported by Food Safety News. Those would be bounty hunters, coming to collect Stewart for his failure to appear in court twice while out on two bonds, $30,000 in bail for his arrest for selling raw milk in L.A. and $100,000 in bail after his arrest for an illegal fund-raising scheme involving his efforts to help fund Sharon Palmer’s Heart Healthy Family Farms.

But before anyone starts pointing fingers at the oppressive, totalitarian dairy industry, it turns out that Stewart’s arrest came from someone within the raw foods circle, a raw-milk producer named Mark McAfee, who put up $100,000 against his own house to pay Stewart’s bail. After the Rawsome owner failed to show up in court and revealed that he was trying to go underground, McAfee located him and was even there to watch as Stewart was slammed against a car and taken back to jail.

Stewart claims that he was previously tortured in jail and admitted that he feared for his very life if he was arrested again. But McAfee, still a huge supporter of raw milk, said that this isn’t a case about raw milk, but one that comes down to James’ paranoid behavior and bad decisions, which forced him to turn the guy in. “I was the one who hired the bail agents to arrest James,” McAfee admits, with the understandable motive, “I didn’t want to lose my house.”

Rawesome Foods Founder Arrested [FSN]

Earlier: More Crying Over Spilt Raw Milk [GS]