Farmers

The Bureaucracy Faced by Food Producers

An entrepreneur, who has been working on growing her dedicated following of people who want natural prepared meals and healthful alternatives to the central food supply, has encountered multiple hurdles when trying to both start and expand her operations.

1. She purchased a retail food license for a place ($250), but ended up having to move into a new location and was told she was going to have to purchase ANOTHER retail food license ($250) – this was after the City-County Health Department told her she would have to “get the facility up to code” even though it was a restaurant previously (the previous operators were operating for TWO YEARS not in code and were never fined or questioned).  And then, the license expires at the end of the year!  So she will have to purchase ANOTHER retail food license in January of 2013 ($250)!  That is a total of $750 for a retail food license for a small business that has not even technically started selling to the public through this retail food establishment yet!

2. She has a source of naturally-raised and USDA-processed chicken that her customers are eager to purchase.  The people who process these chickens are certified by all of the agencies necessary to show that the chickens have been handled and processed up to “code”. HOWEVER, she is not allowed to re-sell these chickens to her customers.  Why?  The City-County Health Department has told her that the people raising the chickens themselves would have to be certified by the USDA (the time and cost for this is extensive – likely in the thousands of dollars by the end of it).  We are talking about between 20 and 30 chickens.

3. She wanted to purchase Italian Sausage from a small, local market and use it in her tortellini soup. But she was not “allowed” to! According to rules and regulations, the small local market can sell directly to the consumer, but as soon as the market sells to her they need a wholesale license and to be inspected by the USDA!  An impossible feat for this small-time market – this is an added expense that is not worth spending the money – there is just not enough volume to justify the investment, and therefore stops the creation of this product in its entirety.

4. If she wants to use farm-fresh eggs in a recipe, then she must have a license from the Colorado Department of Agriculture (CDA), and a home inspection. She can sell farm-fresh eggs in her store-front, but SHE IS NOT ALLOWED TO USE THEM IN RECIPES.  All eggs served to the public must be pasteurized.  There are groups of people who do not want pasteurized products, and she has been stopped from using farm-fresh eggs in her recipes. People who want products that have not been pasteurized do not get the option of purchasing these products from her.

5. This entrepreneur started a very small indoor farmer’s market that was never inspected by the Health Department (after all, it was produce being sold by willing sellers and purchased by willing buyers – no prepared foods were involved) – and she was warned by someone in the Extension office that her market may have been “illegal”.  She asked me, “Don’t we have the right to gather and sell the goods we’ve produced?

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Do We?

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Small, local, micro producers should never be held to the same “laws” as large multi-national companies that lobby Congress to create these atrocious rules and regulations (what they call “law”) that eventually stop small producers from producing.  Follow the money.  You can see that most of our representatives in Congress have got there through the very money that ends up creating “laws” that hurt small farmers, entrepreneurs, and producers of food products.

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It is people’s natural and unalienable right to consume products that they want to and exchange those products amongst each other.  There are no laws that can stop people who grow food or raise animals from getting those to willing consumers who are willing to purchase those items. And if those “laws” exist, then we can get rid of them in our own localities and communities.

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