Popular comedian and commentator Stephen Colbert entered into the debate over raw milk last week, airing a star-studded segment satirizing both the federal government and unpasteurized milk advocates.
The Colbert Report segment features Rawesome Foods, a raw food club in Venice, CA, which was raided by federal, state and local authorities in June. Security footage shows agents confiscated raw milk with guns raised.
Raw milk is illegal to sell in many states, but allowed in California. Authorities allege Rawesome failed to meet local and state public health regulations.
“The nanny state is always sticking their noses into our business, from baby seats to motorcycle helmets,” says Colbert in a jab at paternalistic regulations. “All over the nation patriots are rising up, like the citizens of Venice, California.”
“Liberty is under siege,” declares Colbert.
The show, which reenacts and dramatizes the Rawesome raid, features David Acheson, former Associate Commissioner for Foods at the Food and Drug Administration. The FDA cautions consumer against drinking raw milk because it can can harbor dangerous pathogens.
A straight-faced Acheson discusses the public health consequences of raw milk. “Raw milk has led to serious illness and death.”
The segment pokes fun at the FDA as well as raw milk advocates, the two sides of what has become a fierce debate over food freedom. Rawesome Food members question the FDA’s fear-mongering motives. Acheson assures Colbert that the FDA is simply interested in protecting public health.
Former presidential candidate and U.S. Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) offers a libertarian perspective in the sketch. “This is pasteurization without representation,” he says.
“If we continue on this course where the government tells us everything we can do, what we can put in our mouths, we will end up a zombie state,” says Paul. “We will end up with individuals who make no decisions for themselves.”
“People do have a right in a free society to do stupid things,” adds Paul.
“It is my right to get dysentery if I choose to do so,” says one Rawesome club member. That attitude, Colbert says, “Puts the ‘dumb’ in freedom.”
“Cleary the government has declared war,” says Colbert. “Whose side will you be on?”
Here’s the comedic sketch in entirety: