Children, Beware The Food Police
August 9, 2010 by Bob Livingston
Most every child has sought to fulfill their entrepreneurial spirit by opening a sidewalk lemonade stand. It’s as American as hotdogs, apple pie and… lemonade.
And as 7-year-old Julie Murphy of Oregon made plans do the same thing millions of kids have done before her—during an art fair held the last Thursday of each month on the streets of Northeast Portland and conveniently called Last Thursday—she never dreamed she’d be violating a government regulation.
Well, little Julie has now had her first experience with our boot-on-the-throat authorities. The local food police shut her down.
Julie and her mom toted gallons of bottled water, packets of Kool-Aid, bags of ice and some plastic gloves to a spot on the sidewalk July 29 and Julie set about selling lemonade to the hot and sweaty patrons and vendors. Then a “woman with a clipboard” walked up and asked to see her $120 temporary restaurant license.
“What? No license?,” asked the lady in the clipboard, who turned out to be county health inspector. “Well pack up or we’ll fine you $500.”
Well Oregonians tend to be prickly lot, and as Julie and her mom began packing, up nearby vendors and patrons suggested they stay, telling them the regulation-happy clipboard lady had no right to run them off. They suggested Julie offer her lemonade for free and accept donations. And business picked up.
But it wasn’t long until clipboard lady came back with help. Julie started crying, and patrons and vendors confronted the government thugs, creating quite a scene, as Julie’s mom told the local paper.
Multnomah County Health Department Supervisor Jon Kawaguchi told The Oregonian that, “…we still need to put the public’s health first.”
But, Eric Pippert, the food-borne illness prevention manager of the state’s public health division got to the heart of the matter when he said that technically, any lemonade stand—even one on your front lawn—must be licensed under state law, but inspectors are unlikely to go after kids selling lemonade, unless you’re on Alberta Street during Last Thursday. In other words, if you stand to make real money.
And then he made this telling statement: “When you go to a public event and set up shop, you’re suddenly engaging in commerce.” And government bureaucrats were afraid it was commerce outside their control.
After a week’s worth of hue and cry from the Portland masses, Multnomah County Chairman Jeff Cogen gave a reprieve to Julie and her fellow child-entrepreneurs. Cogan said he directed county health department workers to use “professional discretion” in doing their job.
“A lemonade stand is a classic, iconic American kid thing to do,” Cogen told The Oregonian. “I don’t want them to be in the business of shutting that down.” He also called Julie’s mom and apologized.
So, sanity is temporarily restored in Portland. But not so in Los Angeles, where four armed food-police thugs raided a natural market with guns drawn last month, ordering store workers to drop their mashed coconut cream and step away from the nuts, as The Los Angeles Times reported. Original story and video here.
It seems those dastardly marketers at Rawesome Foods were selling raw cow and goat milk and blocks of unpasteurized goat cheese. Oh, the horrors.
“This is about control and profit, not our health,” Rawsome Foods co-founder Aajonus Vonderplanitz told The Times. “How can we not have the freedom to choose what we eat?”
Because that freedom was taken away by our fascist Big Government at the behest of Big Food corporations like Monsanto and Archer Daniels Midland who spend Big Bucks to elect politicians and write laws ensuring they maintain a monopoly on food production while keeping the populace as unhealthy as possible so Big Pharma can continue to drug us into a stupor.