To the best of my knowledge the following transpired...
Basically a CSA farm was raided by the Nevada state health department for not producing a permit for the certified chef and farm owner to have a community feast. The bold letters were to avoid federal government hyperbole for the politically charged individuals who may contemplate.
The small family farm (website below)late last year organized a “Farm-to-Fork Dinner” – a dinner in which they feed guests meats and produce entirely raised and grown on their farms – prepared by a chef and his staff offsite in the big city, then transported using refrigeration trucks to the site, to be served on the farm.
The event sold out, and looked to be a great success. Unfortunately, it was not to be; two days before the event, the owners received a phone call from the Southern Nevada Health District informing them that because this is a “public” (sorta I guess) event, they needed a “special use permit” or face a fine. Incredibly, the farmers complied.
On the day of the event, the heath board inspector showed up. As if the woman who was inspecting could not better spend the states tax dollars, she was on the phone with her supervisor, perhaps to get some coaching for the event, or to make sure that whatever she was about to do was within the letter of the health code.
Surprisingly, since some of the items to be served were prepared offsite, then transported to the event, they were subject to the health code guidelines. Some items were not up to temperature for service (a huge no-no for those of you who are initiated in the finer points of mad inspection-passing skills.) The inspector demanded the items be discarded or face a hefty fine.
The host chef asked the inspector if they were able to save it for their families, or for their livestock. Can you guess the response? A big and ruthless, “Hell no”! The code specifically states that if the food is not to be destroyed, it needs to be held in containment until such time the health board can decide what to do with it. How stupid is that last part as if the board will speedily assemble? Its pretty much designed to make the process on paper look fair, but it actually completely ruthless and without prompt or fair due process.
Why did this event need a permit in the first place? How can there be a fine associated with non-compliance and yet the burden of proof placed on the farmer? Thankfully my state of North Carolina is more small farmer friendly but I feel sorry for all those people living in Nevada.
Anyways, below is the video of the events as a result of the raid.
It was an illegal raid, there was no warrant. The health department had no authority for the raid.
"1. Quail Hollow Farm complied and applied for a "special use permit". The guests did pay a fee for the event that included live music and a well-known chef.
2. State official had NO warrants, and was asked to leave after a call to the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund to find out their rights, but after the prepared food was destroyed.
3. The picnic crowd rallied after the State official left, and prepared a new meal with all the fresh veggies that were in the cooler, ready for the next days farmers market. They proceeded to enjoy the evening."
Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
posted 8 years ago
In most jurisdictions, when you charge $$ for a meal, you put yourself into the "restaurant" category. Once you have done that, you are held to the same standards that any restaurant must comply with, including Health dept. inspections.
I would believe your explanation, John, IF that rule were applied uniformly. If it were applied to church clam bakes (and the like) the same as it was to this CSA, then that would be a different matter.
However, my personal experience with having been called into my local IRS office for an enforcement issue (it wasn't me they were accusing), those guys already know who the guilty ones are and are just looking for "evidence" to allow them to take down the ones they don't like.
I’m currently listening to the podcast where the health department showed up at the Missoula winter market. It is way beyond political; it’s corporate. The large corporations know that the SMALL market and ‘real’ foods are a BIG threat.
Proof: Despite the fact that our economy has been sucking for quite some time the local market in Columbia keeps growing larger when so many other businesses are closing. Columbia’s Rosewood Deli and Earth Fare are always packed while I’ve seen three different mainstream grocery stores close within the last two years.
We must be vigilant folks. Don’t be fooled by the likes of Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods. If you read the labels closely you will find the ingredients in many products are the same as those in the mainstream supermarket – you are just paying more. It’s called GREENWASHING.
In the meantime the local health department is still going around harassing the small local producer who was never a threat in the first place. There IS a reason for this – they are not there because they are bored and they are not there for our protection.