Tuesday, August 16, 2011

First They Came for Kid-Run Lemonade Stands, I

Then the "licensing gestapo" came for the adults, like artisanal ice cream maker Mrs. Swanberg:
Chicago Tribune -- "A few years ago, Kris Swanberg (pictured above), having been laid-off from her job as a Chicago Public School teacher, remembered she received an ice cream maker as a wedding gift. The Chicago mom fished it out of her kitchen cabinet and eventually started a new career.

Today Swanberg’s Nice Cream — on sale at local Whole Foods and farmers markets — is considered a star of Chicago’s rich and beloved artisanal ice cream scene, one that could be shut down entirely by state rules, she recently learned.

She says that a couple of weeks ago a representative from the Illinois Department of Public Health came to Logan Square Kitchen and informed her she’d have to shut down if she did not get something called  "a dairy license."

Swanberg and others in her field had operated for years now without ever hearing of such a thing and, indeed, they say, the City’s Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection, to whom they applied for business licenses, never informed them they would need one to operate."

MP: Maybe this is one reason we're not creating enough jobs... because burdensome government regulations are destroying businesses and jobs?

HT: Tim D.

29 Comments:

At 8/16/2011 9:38 PM, Blogger Milton Recht said...

Whole Foods has stopped doing business with Nice Cream due to Illinois requirements.
http://chicagoist.com/2011/08/09/nice_cream_co_not_taking_state_dair.php

From the same Chicago Tribune article as in blog:

Swanberg says that the IDPH officer who visited told her that her ice cream probably wouldn’t pass the bacteria tests if she continued to use fresh strawberries. Instead the officer suggested she use "strawberry syrup," Swanberg said.

IDPH [Illinois Department of Public Health] spokesperson Melanie Arnold said that it isn’t illegal to use real strawberries but that IDPH “does not encourage it simply because when you try and clean a strawberry to make sure it doesn’t have any bacteria, it kind of deteriorates.”

 
At 8/16/2011 9:50 PM, Blogger OBloodyHell said...

No, no, this is just to protect the children!

One can never, ever tell what kind of adulterants one might find in one's ice cream without help.

I mean, one might even find something weird, like, say, frogs in your sweets without special protection.

 
At 8/16/2011 10:02 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

I could start a business tomorrow, but my existing property is zoned only for traditional agriculture. No fish farm, etc.

The feds should order a temporary moratorium on all local regulatory rules. In six weeks the economy would bounce. Hope Obama is getting an fearful on his rural tour.

 
At 8/17/2011 12:15 AM, OpenID Sprewell said...

I for one love the fact that the same hippies that always want govt involved in everything are now having it come after them with guns drawn because they want to eat raw food and now even putting them in jail. Blowback's a bitch.

 
At 8/17/2011 1:14 AM, Blogger Stone Glasgow said...

A video I created about a leftist speaking with a woman who wants to start a lemonade stand in front of her house:

Hi, I'm a Liberal Democrat

 
At 8/17/2011 3:31 AM, OpenID American Delight said...

If I have to get a business license & dairy license to sell ice cream, then so does she. Once you establish these licensing rules, you can't just start waiving them for people who seem to be making a "nice" product.

These requirements were put in place by do-gooders seeking "consumer protection." Don't like it? Stop voting for Democrats & the Green Party.

 
At 8/17/2011 4:20 AM, Blogger glenzo said...

And obviously, this license is CRITICAL to the safety and success of the of the people and the nation.

 
At 8/17/2011 5:49 AM, Blogger geoih said...

Quote from glenzo: "And obviously, this license is CRITICAL to the safety and success of the of the people and the nation."

Duh! When was the last time you heard about some licensed business, operating total approval of the state, poisoning their customers with contaminated food.

This could never happen, because the state officials responsible for these wonderful programs protecting all of us would immediately be fired and all of the fees and taxes collected to run these terrific programs that didn't work would be refunded to the people.

 
At 8/17/2011 11:05 AM, Blogger Benjamin said...

Excellent blogging.

So often we hear caterwauling about "states rights."

People forget that bilious "local control" mantra is often little more than smokescreen for interests who wish for petty dikats--control to limit competition, intrude on people's private lives, or limit civil rights.

Is it the feds who want to shut this ice-cream lady down? Or license barbers? Or zone your land residential? Stop you from marrying a person of a different color? Stop you from voting?

A local government can downzone your property, yank your PI license, or seize your driver's license. You can't even push a push-cart vending service on the sidewalks of any major city in the US, without a permit. And try to get one. Local retailers will make sure you don't.

A local government can even tell you that your front yard is too messy.

The most benighted, backward, restrictive, corrupt governments in the USA are local governments. With scant oversight from local media, it is usually the gong show at the local level.

 
At 8/17/2011 11:40 AM, Blogger morganovich said...

american-

i think you are missing the point.

it's absurd that either of you needs a license.

the answer is not to make sure everyone falls in a hole, but to avoid it in the first place.

heaven forbid anyone should get fresh fruit instead of syrup in ice cream.

we all know how harmful fruit is.

 
At 8/17/2011 12:05 PM, Blogger Marko said...

If it were up to me, as a short term fix I would just require unregulated ice cream to be labeled "This product is not regulated by the Illinois Department of Public Health." If people still want it, they can buy it. I would try some after researching the company.

People have to come to rely too much on government regulation - they figure if the govt has inspected or issued a license, it must be safe. This is of course absurd. I would always allow an opt out of the regulation or inspection scheme as long as the package is clearly labeled as such. Of course the government won't allow my idea since it would eventually put their agency out of business!

 
At 8/17/2011 12:29 PM, Blogger Benjamin said...

It is difficult to buy raw milk in California, due to state regs.

Same problem--some people get sick and die from raw milk.

I like Marko's suggestion. A label that says, "No license," and perhaps an estimate of the risk. "One in 10,000 cups of this milk will be fatal."

The market works better when consumers are fully informed.

 
At 8/17/2011 12:44 PM, Blogger Mike said...

Benjamin,

Please, do me a personal favor and actually consider what I'm about to tell you.

The feds will uphold the states anti-business decisions. They have almost no authority to interfere with things like this, but they will and do if they can.

There's a man, just a few miles from my house, who was raided, arrested - BASED ON A FEDERAL STING - for selling orchids. Yes, flowers. Nothing illegal, he merely made a paperwork error. Guess what.... he spent 17 months in prison. Google it if you don't believe me.

 
At 8/17/2011 1:20 PM, Blogger Benjamin said...

Mike-

Personal favor done--hey, during U.S. Attorney General Edwin Meese's tenure, the feds would arrest guys for buying porno across state lines.

Under President Bush, the feds were trying to enforce anti-pot laws that the state of CA and City of Los Angeles didn't care about any more.

The Feds are not heroes, although they did play a heroic role in ensuring some civil rights.

That said, I run a small furniture manufacturing business. 99 percent of my interaction with government is local. If pay federal taxes when I am lucky enough to make money. When I export to Canada, I have to fill out annoying NAFTA paperwork.

Most of my interaction with the City of Los Angeles is okay, although mostly as they do not have the troops to enforce anything. Some of the state stuff is whacky, and pray no employee ever claims compensation for "stress."

The feds are a non-issue for me.

 
At 8/17/2011 1:27 PM, Blogger Mike said...

Benjamin,
Don't get me wrong...I agree with you for the most part. I guess my point is that there is little or no difference between them. The locals will get you unless they try and fail. At that point, they have to call their big brother who has no problem backing them, no matter what.

 
At 8/17/2011 1:46 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Marko,

"If it were up to me, as a short term fix I would just require unregulated ice cream to be labeled "This product is not regulated by the Illinois Department of Public Health." If people still want it, they can buy it. I would try some after researching the company. "

Even that common sense approach wouldn't have helped the folks at Rawesome Foods, in Venice, CA. See the Reason TV links in Sprewell's comment above.

We should be grateful that we aren't limited to official news releases such as this for all our news. This report sounds like a raid on a drug operation.

"In a case cited in the 21-page complaint, an undercover investigator received goat milk, stored in a cooler in the back of Healthy Family Farms van, in the parking lot of a grocery store."

Without seeing the same names in the Reason TV article and the DA's office press release, a person could conclude that these were two completely unrelated stories.

 
At 8/17/2011 1:52 PM, Blogger Benjamin said...

Ron H-

I agree, but I think some level of risk should be indicated. A consumer needs to make an informed choice.

Raw milk, in fact, can be dangerous, especially to pregnant women. They should know that.

The dairy industry doe not pasteurize milk for fun. There is a reason.

 
At 8/17/2011 1:53 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Benji

"The market works better when consumers are fully informed."

Not necessarily. Check out the links in Sprewell's comment above.

It should be obvious that there is little serious crime in LA County if the DA's office has time for this nonsense.

 
At 8/17/2011 2:17 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"I agree, but I think some level of risk should be indicated. A consumer needs to make an informed choice."

If you read the Reason TV articles and/or watch the videos, you will understand that the customers in this case are completely informed about what they are buying. Rawesome Foods is a private, not public Co-op, and every member signs a waiver acknowledging that they understands the risks they are taking.

"The dairy industry doe not pasteurize milk for fun. There is a reason."

I agree. Pasteurization kills harmful critters in raw milk. It also kills beneficial cells and much of the taste.

The issue isn't so much safety as it is choice. Let me risk death if I wish.

The state allows me to drive my car on public streets and highways without having to warn others that I might kill them. That's a much bigger risk to the public than raw milk.

Why is driving allowed, but informed, consenting adults can't drink raw milk in the privacy of their own bedrooms?

 
At 8/17/2011 2:20 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"Raw milk, in fact, can be dangerous, especially to pregnant women. They should know that."

And they do. Give people a little more credit. And, allow them to make their own choices.

 
At 8/17/2011 3:14 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

it's absurd that either of you needs a license.

Morganovich, I think that's his main point.

These rules are stupid and they are obviously barriers to entry put in place by the existing dairy industry via purchased political power to reduce competition for itself.

All of these rules and regs are little more than barriers.

A major SRO was just forced to force its members to take a bunch of SEC exams. The justification is to "separate the professional traders from the non-professional traders". The exams are utterly useless and there is no such distinction in natural life, but they essentially said that this is merely a barrier to entry. Just another reason for FINRA to fine everyone to increase its bonus pool.

In fact, these regulators and licensing boards have been going wild since 2008. As businesses close their doors, the revenue streams have dried up for local and state governments and regulatory agencies. So, they've taken to harassing and threatening the remaining businesses.

Please tell me again, Keynesian freaks, how it's all an aggregate demand issue and has nothing to do with regime uncertainty.

 
At 8/17/2011 4:37 PM, Blogger Benjamin said...

Ron H-

I'm just saying, put the risks on the label.

Also, crime rates in fact are dropping to 1960s levels in Los Angeles. I credit not our heavily, heavily unionized LAPD, but rather the fact we throw 500 people in jail in CA for every 100,000 residents. We jail everybody for a long time, especially after three strikes. Higher incarceration rates work--but local police departments are largely just a drain on taxpayer wallets.

Side note to Mike:

Also, have you noticed how many local governments are sticking their noes into religion. On the cover of the WSJ today is one local government that refused permits for a mosque (a dumb religion, but). Another guys can't put a cross on his front yard.

Local governments are often squalid cesspools of corruption and cronyism. They need federal oversight.

 
At 8/17/2011 5:18 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"Local governments are often squalid cesspools of corruption and cronyism. They need federal oversight."

They need oversight by the citizens they represent.

 
At 8/17/2011 5:21 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"I'm just saying, put the risks on the label. "

You mean like cigarette warning labels?

The warning is already on the label. it reads:

"Raw Milk"

 
At 8/17/2011 5:36 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"I'm just saying, put the risks on the label. "

Won't that require the establishment of a County Label Commission? A team of bi-lingual inspectors @ 65k- or two on a team ? County cars to drive - perhaps Chevy Volts @ $40k ea.? Health insurance? Retirement Plans?

Actually, your suggestion really sucks. I would rather deal with the additional work load for the County Coroner's office caused by unlabelled raw milk.

 
At 8/17/2011 5:42 PM, Blogger Benjamin said...

Ron H-

Yes, citizens do need to practice oversight.

But in many, many cases, the local DA's office actually wants to state AG or feds to come in, as the problem is too hot to handle, or there are conflicts of interest.

And if your local DA is corrupt, forget it.

Lemme ask this: If the feds are so, so awful,do you think the USA would be better off as 50 little countries? Each with its own laws and trade policies? Each a little empire, answerable to no one else?

In fact, the states are becoming barriers to growth. Often, we need clean and simple national regs and laws, but the states are in the way.

I wish commercial rights were embedded in the Constitution too, but our Founding Fathers were much more concerned with political rights, and the threat of standing militaries, than with commercial rights.

 
At 8/17/2011 8:26 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"And if your local DA is corrupt, forget it.

That is what elections are for. I know, that doesn't always work. That's also what your state AG is for. Any higher authority is unresponsive to local needs. If you have local problems handle them locally. I realize LA county has a larger population than most countries.


"Lemme ask this: If the feds are so, so awful,do you think the USA would be better off as 50 little countries? Each with its own laws and trade policies? Each a little empire, answerable to no one else?"

No, but there there could be something a little more balanced. Perhaps state and individual sovereignty could be maintained, and the states could create an agent to act on their common behalf for those things that could be more efficiently handled at a federal level, common national defense might be one such thing. regularizing trade and eliminating barriers among states might be another.

After a little thought, I came up with this simple little 4 page plan. I believe it will do the trick if enough people agree. It certainly seems like it would be an improvement over what we have now.

"In fact, the states are becoming barriers to growth. Often, we need clean and simple national regs and laws, but the states are in the way."

No we don't. If bigger is better, why not just advocate a Global Emporer, or King of the World? That should be clean and simple.

"I wish commercial rights were embedded in the Constitution too, but our Founding Fathers were much more concerned with political rights, and the threat of standing militaries, than with commercial rights."

The Founders were smart enough to know that the best thing any government could do is to stay completely out of the way of Commerce, except to ensure property rights, enforce contracts, and punish fraud. This wisdom has been completely lost in the last 230 years.

 
At 8/17/2011 8:57 PM, Blogger Daily Plunge said...

Kris is also an actress and married to mumblecore actor/director Joe Swanberg. I'm kind of surprised the story left that fact out.

 
At 8/17/2011 9:23 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"Kris is also an actress and married to mumblecore actor/director Joe Swanberg. I'm kind of surprised the story left that fact out."

That's interesting. Although it's not directly pertinent to the story, it might have diminished the sympathy factor to realize that the license nazis were only interfering with a successful actress and filmmaker, as she dabbled in her hobby of ice cream making, rather than a struggling young woman trying to make a living.

 

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