ON-Lion Letter
Earlier this year, Dennise Cruz posted on the social-media site Nextdoor to tell her neighbors that she was selling extra homemade tamales.  At least one of her neighbors alerted the authorities.  Instead of just ignoring the complaint or informing Dennise that she would need a permit to sell tamales legally, the city of Carrollton, Tex., took drastic action and mailed her a "warrant arrest notice" and ultimately fined her $700, according to Nick Sibilla of the Institute for Justice (IJ) in Arlington, Va.

"I don't understand," Cruz told a television interviewer.  "I would have rather them come to me first if they had any concerns."

"Cruz is not the only victim of culinary criminalization in America," Sibilla points out.  Last year, the New York Police Department arrested three women for selling churros without a license.  Their contraband churros meant they could face fines as high as $1,000.  A few months later, the San Bernardino Police Department boasted about a government crackdown on street vendors selling fruits and flowers.

"Somewhat ironically, Texas has some of the better laws in the nation for selling other types of homemade food," he continues.  "Three years ago, Texas greatly expanded its 'cottage food' laws, by easing restrictions on selling baked goods.  One year after the new law went into effect, the Institute for Justice found more than 1,400 individuals had created their own cottage food businesses, while the environmental health departments for the state's 25 largest cities and counties 'found no complaints regarding foodborne illnesses from a cottage food business.'  But that law does not apply to 'potentially hazardous' foods, like those with meat, so tamales are not covered by the cottage food law.

The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation in Milwaukee substantially supports IJ.
Actions: E-mail | Permalink |