Sunday, February 07, 2010

Easy to Explain

There's nothing confusing about this outrage. The job of "health inspectors," and in fact the job of all government regulation, is to protect the politically and economically powerful. In this case, restaurants that use expensive prepared foods made in factories from low-nutrition sources need protection from the little people who might actually use fresh, nutritious food. We can't have THAT, right? Excerpt:

One mom prepares hundreds of pounds of frozen fruit. The Chicago Department of Public Health says she doesn't have the correct license to make it into candy and sell it. Can she still give it to her son? Not in Chicago.

In a sad struggle that unfolded in a West Town kitchen Thursday night, Department of Health inspectors seized, slashed open and poured bleach over thousands of dollars of local peaches, pears, raspberry and plum purees owned by pastry chef Flora Lazar. She'd purchased the fruit from Green City Market farmers last summer and had planned to use it to make local fruit gelees for her business, Flora Confections.

More than $1,000 of food owned by the Sunday Dinner Club caterers was also destroyed by health department inspectors.

Inspectors cited no health problems with any of the food. They even encouraged Lazar's son to eat the confiscated granola bars from Sunday Dinner Club. They only said the food was prepared by chefs who didn't have the proper business licenses to prepare and sell it. But apparently in Chicago, you also need a license to give fruit to your child.

Even after Lazar had given the cooler to her son, health department inspector Greg Nelson refused to let him keep it. Instead the inspector called the Chicago Police Department to take it away from him. When I asked the inspectors why her son couldn't take the frozen bags of fruit, Nelson said "no comment." He gave the same reply when I asked if it posed any health risk.


These regulations have nothing, NOTHING, to do with protecting consumers. They are designed to protect campaign-contributing producers, and preserve the economic hegemony of corporations. There's no mystery here, except the mystery of why people think health inspectors are here to help them. ATSRTWT (Nod to MJE)

4 comments:

Lynne said...

Hey, Mungowitz, throw a dog a bone here ;-)! I wrote about this outrageous event on Friday:

http://knowledgeproblem.com/2010/02/05/a-disgusting-display-of-bureaucratic-force-from-the-chicago-department-of-public-health/

Sadly, your observation is entirely too true about regulation in general, and regulation in the City of Chicago in particular.

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