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Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler » It WAS, Just A Matter of Time
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Amish Face Food Safety Scrutiny In Ohio

Now of course, for any of this to make sense, we have to just for a minute, imagine the Amish culture recently appeared on the scene. Nevermind the Amish folks as we know them immigrated to the U.S. around 1730. The group originally known as Anabaptists (no that’s not anti-baptist.) broke away from the British Empire during the Lutherian religious reformation of the 16th century, on their basis of rejecting infant baptism. Later a leader of the movement, Menno Simmons moved his flock to Switzerland and they became known as Mennonites. Yet later during the late 17th century the sect fractured even more and immigrated to the fledgling colonies, recognizing them as a prime area for the practice of religious freedoms. They arrived primarily in William Penn’s “holy experiment” Pennsylvania after determining that the “religious tolerance” quotient was quite high in that area. They rapidly prospered in the rich farm land and spread into Ohio and western Maryland. During this period they picked up the moniker of Amish or Mennonites. Their religious ordinances encourage them to maintain a very simplistic lifestyle, including prohibition on the use of motorized machinery or electricity. The Mennonite (or Old Order German Baptists or Brethren) did adopt some modern technology while maintaining the traditional clothing and beards for men. Sorry for the historic digression, I couldn’t help myself as my particular religious sect is a direct descendant of these groups.

[Clarification / Update: I didn’t make it very clear above. The Mennonites and Amish are different sects of Baptist-Christian origin. The Mennonites drive cars, have electricity and use modern mechanized equipment. They Mennonites do however, dress similar to Amish and are often confused with each other. Both sects are prevalent in the Ohio, Pennsylvania, western Maryland areas primarily in the agricultural areas of these states. -JB]

Now, it must be noted that the Amish have done quite well for almost 250 years here in the U.S., without the dubious benefit of gubmint teaching them well settled matters such as food preservation, handling and safety.

Not even temperatures hovering below zero or a foot of snow stopped customers from trekking to Mary’s Amish Market for her fruit pies and Swiss cheese.

But state regulators are stopping by for another reason.

Bureaucrats being what they are, can’t resist the urge to create jobs for even more of their compadres, thus ever expanding government jobs at our expense, right?

The country kitchen and other home bakers in an Amish enclave in northwest Ohio have come under scrutiny for selling meats and cheeses without a license and cream pies and pumpkin rolls without the refrigeration required to thwart foodborne stomach illnesses.

Food safety overseers in several states say they are seeing more people selling their homemade pies, candies and jams. Some are farmers starting up a small business catering to those who want organic foods, while others are just looking to make a little extra money.

And we all know where the scrutiny will lead. Cattle call for more bureaucrats and especially revenue for licenses to support said ‘crats.

The trend comes at a time food safety is getting more attention because of highly publicized food poisoning outbreaks.

“There’s a perception that foods that are local are safer, and that favors the local producer,” said Mike Govro, assistant administrator of the food safety division in Oregon. “Whether it’s true or not, you have to look at each producer individually.”

Of course, everyone remembers the Great Amish Food Poisoning Outbreak of 2004™ right? Never mind that Mary probably understands food safety and related matters more than the entire Ohio Department of Public Health. After all, it’s patently obvious that those same practices have allowed her family and community prosper, let alone NOT die of some horrid food-borne illness. No point in letting those pesky facts get in the way of government regulations the everybody knows keep us from imminent death at all times, right?

Customers of Mary’s Amish Market are angry that regulators are telling owner Mary Slabaugh that she must conform to state regulations and needs a license because she isn’t using the kitchen in her home to bake. [emph mine]

Now we get down to the real argument. The state realizes they’re missing out on some nice revenue licensing a successful business.

She hopes to work out an agreement with inspectors, and for now, the only change she has made is keeping some items on ice. Supporters are bringing her ice cubes to keep cold the cheese and meat she stores in an unplugged icebox and signing petitions asking the state to let the Amish alone.

“Why should we try to change their beliefs?” said Earl Sayre, a loyal customer.

The Amish avoid using electricity to preserve their simple lifestyle, and have little use for government intervention and licenses.

I do notice the last sentence fails to attribute a source. After all since we’re ganging up on the Amish, it’s necessary to subtly imply they are anarchists, since they “have little use for government intervention and licenses.” Perhaps that would be more honestly stated as follows: “The Amish are individualists and chose a simple, yet proven lifestyle to prosper without the use of modern technology.”

About 40,000 Amish live in Ohio, the largest concentration in the United States. Most are in the northeast part of the state, about 80 miles from Slabaugh and her neighbors.

Regulators say the issue is about food safety, not anyone’s beliefs.

“This isn’t aimed at any particular group,” said Chuck Kirchner, the state Agriculture Department’s director of food safety. “It applies across the board to everybody.”

No, the issue is the government is missing out on their piece of the action in a successful business, as well as an opportunity to create even more useless jobs for the clueless. As far as boards, the only one I see needed is the one thwacking Chucky over the head, hopefully imparting a clue.

Inspectors have the authority to throw out food products, but such steps are unlikely because they want to work with the Amish, said Dave Zeller, environmental health director with the Kenton-Hardin Health District.

“We’re not going to go in and close any of these places down,” he said. “We try to help people first. That’s why we’re trying to do everything we can to educate the Amish.”

We’re from the government and here to help. Buuuuwaaaaaahaaaaaaaa. Nice touch with the education bit though, over 200 years of living as they do has obviously endangered their entire culture, somebody just has to save them from themselves.

Rules vary from state to state. Generally, though, there is more leniency and licenses are not needed for people who use their homes to make low-risk foods such as fruit pies, candy and jelly. The rules are stricter for canned vegetables and products containing milk and eggs.

Ohio doesn’t license or inspect home bakers who sell cookies, cakes and breads.

Unless you’re Amish and selling a lot of delicious food products at reasonable prices. They’re obviously willing and ready to make an exception for Mrs. Slabaugh and her satisfied customers.

In Michigan and Tennessee, regulators can fine repeat violators of food rules. Tennessee inspectors last year began stepping up their supervision of cooks who sell homemade fruit pies and breads at farmers markets. New rules require those items to be made in a commercial-style kitchen.

Well those commercial-style ovens do cook much safer than our home ovens. Never mind they cost 10 times as much.

“There was a huge outcry,” said William Morris, a food safety specialist with the University of Tennessee’s food science department. “It virtually closed down one farmers market.”

That’s OK, Morris, no need to get concerned with the state eradicating successful eeevil capitalistic ventures.

Oregon requires a license for people who sell food made in their home kitchens.

Farmers markets selling homemade goods in Minnesota are checked once a year, but those sites aren’t a high priority, said Kevin Elfering, director of dairy and food inspection for the state agriculture department.

A few foodborne illnesses have been linked to domestic kitchens that sell homemade food to the public. They include canned green beans sold at markets in several states and candy sold by the Amish that led to a stomach virus outbreak that sickened 48 people in Minnesota in 2002.

48 people? Sheesh, you better get to work on that impending disaster. That’s a least 1/1000th of the number of deaths by people watching more than 10 minutes of “An Inconvenient Truth”.

Around the Amish community of about 200 families where Slabaugh lives and works, hand-painted white signs hang on fence posts advertising eggs, quilts, vinegar, cheese and baked goods.

Slabaugh makes and sells oatmeal cookies, angel food cakes, bags of chocolate candies and jars of apple butter inside a red metal barn next to a pasture where horses graze. Cherry, apple and peach pies cost $4.50.

She’s been making and selling baked goods for 24 years and says it’s no secret she doesn’t have refrigeration. Her cream pies and pumpkin rolls sell quickly.

“They’re not here long enough to get bad,” Slabaugh said. “It would be different if people were getting sick.” [emph mine]

I guess that last little zinger got past the rigorous, fact-checking, scrotum-sniffing, skatey-eight levels of editors.

25 Responses to “It WAS, Just A Matter of Time”
  1. LC HOGHEAD Comment by LC HOGHEAD

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    Whats next, telling the six year old kid with a lemonade stand he needs a license and refrigeration?? Good Grief, leave the woman alone.Are there no more serious problems to tackle in Ohio??

  2. LC HOGHEAD Comment by LC HOGHEAD

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    oh yeah, FIRST !!!

  3. NevadaDailySteve Comment by NevadaDailySteve

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    I’ve been buying food from the Mennonites in our area for years. You name it, they make it and they make it better. I hope Missouri doesn’t start messing with their success. I don’t know what I’d do without my snickerdoodles and apple pies.

  4. Lord Nazh Comment by Lord Nazh

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    You’d think everyone would love the Amish, since they are doing their part to fight Global Warming! :)

    I agree with Mish, it’s all about the dollars. Anytime the government steps into a situation to AVOID a potential disaster, a disaster is more likely to occur.

  5. hitnrun Comment by hitnrun

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    The Amish avoid using electricity to preserve their simple lifestyle, and have little use for government intervention and licenses.

    I wonder if that was intended to be a complement. I certainly took it as such on their behalf.

    It takes a village to raise a child. The village is Washington (or Columbus, in this case). You are the child.

  6. Lady Heather Comment by Lady Heather

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    Hey Government!

    In this instance, mind your own damn business!

    If people are dying from them, that’s one thing. But they’re not and they’re even eating more of them. So leave the Amish the hell alone. Stick one of those cream pies in your mouth and STFU.

    I feel safer eating food from these people than I do my local McDonald’s that get the health dept inspection every so often

    Can’t enjoy anything anymore without these overpaid, do-gooder, busybodies sticking their fat noses into everyone’s business.

    Pisses me off.

  7. Emperor Misha I Comment by Emperor Misha I

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    How sweet…

    The gummint realizes that they’re missing out on some sweet revenue here, so they move in and tell them that “they’re happy to let them go on doing business, if only they’ll buy this, er, license. Yes, license, that’s it.”

    Why don’t the gummint troglodytes just do it up front and tell people like Mary that “it’s a nice store you got here. Would be a real shame if sumpin’ was to happen to it…”

    Keep the nation clean, kill a bureaucrat.

  8. chuck Comment by chuck

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    So, since we see a rash of food-borne illnesses break out, that all trace back to government inspected facilities, that means we had better get the government to inspecting everything else? 48 people sick in 200 years. I would bet Peter Pan would love to have that safety record.

  9. Unregistered Comment by salfter

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    OT:

    Anyone else here remember Michael Crook, the oxygen thief behind the “Forsake the Troops” website? He’s one of the few idiotarians who can get Sean Hannity and Alan Colmes to agree on something…that something being that he’s a worthless sack of shit. He had made even more of an annoyance of himself by sending DMCA takedown notices to anyone who posted about him.

    He’s agreed to knock it off:

    DMCA Abuser Apologizes for Takedown Campaign

    Michael Crook, the man behind a string of meritless online copyright complaints, has agreed to withdraw those complaints, take a copyright law course, and apologize for interfering with the free speech rights of his targets.

    The agreement settles a lawsuit against Crook filed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) on behalf of Jeff Diehl, the editor of the Internet magazine 10 Zen Monkeys. Diehl was forced to modify an article posted about Crook’s behavior in a fake sex-ad scheme after Crook sent baseless Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) takedown notices, claiming to be the copyright holder of an image used in the story. In fact, the image was from a Fox News program and legally used as part of commentary on Crook. But Crook repeated his claims and then attempted to use the same process to get the image removed from other websites reporting on his takedown campaign.

    “Crook’s legal threats interfered with legitimate debate about his controversial online behavior,” said EFF Staff Attorney Jason Schultz. “Public figures must not be allowed to use bogus copyright claims to squelch speech.”

    In addition to withdrawing current complaints against Diehl and every other target of his takedown campaign and taking a copyright law course, Crook has also agreed to limit any future DMCA notices to works authored or photographed by himself or his wife, or where the copyright was specifically assigned to him. All future notices must also include a link to EFF information on his case, as well as the settlement agreement. Crook has also recorded a video statement to apologize and publicize the dangers of abusing copyright law.

    “We’re pleased that Crook has taken responsibility for his egregious behavior,” said EFF Staff Attorney Corynne McSherry. “Hopefully, this will set a precedent to prevent future abuse of the law by those who dislike online news-reporting and criticism.”

    The settlement with Michael Crook is part of EFF’s ongoing campaign to protect online free speech from the chilling effects of bogus intellectual property claims. EFF recently filed suit against the man who claims to have created the popular line dance “The Electric Slide” for misusing copyright law to remove an online documentary video that included footage of people trying to do the dance.

  10. Unregistered Comment by Billy Downes

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    Inspectors have the authority to throw out food products, but such steps are unlikely because they want to work with the Amish

    “Nice food items you have there, Mary. Real shame if something bad happened to ‘em.”

    Largest mafia in the world.

  11. LC Mrs. M-ITT™ Comment by LC Mrs. M-ITT™

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    I’ve been buying food from the Mennonites in our area for years.

    I haven’t encountered too many Amish, but the Mennonites are alot like them…only with electricity. M and I were on a vacation trip to Northern Tennessee when we stopped off at a little Mennonite Grocery/Deli that someone recommended as having some of the most delicious deli sandwiches you ever tasted…and they were right. Best sandwiches we’ve ever had..and that includes what we could make at home. Of course even the bread they used was fresh made..along with all the tomatoes, lettuce, and onions were straight out of the garden.
    As we were leaving, I walked over to the garden next to the building. They had the most beautiful dahlia’s growing amongst the vegetables. I commented on them to one of the ladies working in the garden….without a word she immediately went over and proceeded to dig one up to give to me. Took me several minutes to convince her that I did not intend for her to give me one…plus the fact that we were nearly 800 miles from home and the poor plant would be dead before I could replant it. Very selfless and self sufficient people. Just like the Amish.

    Leave em alone you Bureaucratic Jackasses!

  12. LC SkyeChild Comment by LC SkyeChild

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    Okay…let me see if I have this straight…the Amish, who have been around for centuries, make food that supposedly doesn’t meet gummint standards, and the feds complain.

    However, a Taco Bell in NYC, was it? was infested with rats the day AFTER it passed a gummint health inspection.

    I’ll lay you good odds that the only rats you’ll find on Amish property are government ones.

  13. AyUaxe Comment by AyUaxe

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    Muzzies demand halal food from public accomodations and get it, they demand to be allowed to continue in jobs, though they won’t do the job if it involves the slightest possible contact with pork or liquor or a dog, yet gummint has to interfere in a successful, peaceful, overall healthy community of religious separatists. Asshats.

  14. SoCalOilMan, LC Comment by SoCalOilMan, LC

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    Whats next, telling the six year old kid with a lemonade stand he needs a license and refrigeration??

    You asked.

    When life hands you lemons…
    …get license, sheepish police tell boys

  15. NCLivingBrit Comment by NCLivingBrit

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    If this was Halal, you can bet your arse the Bile-ocrats would be wary of touching it with a ten foot pole.

    I’ve eaten Amish food and I’ve eaten Halal food. I’ve seen the kitchen the -amazing- Amish apple pie was cooked in and I’ve seen a halal butchers back room.

    Guess which one I think needs more regulation?

    Fucking Gub’ment and their sticky fingers, getting into everything as usual.

  16. LC HOGHEAD Comment by LC HOGHEAD

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    I wonder if the gubmint checks on the Muslim street vendors in Dearborn??????

  17. Unregistered Comment by ClimbingFreeman

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    Isn’t there a computer with solitaire these gvt. food inspectors can waste their days on? I’d rather have them playing games online during their working hours than bugging the Amish. I mean jeez…if you’re bugging the Amish for what they do, you obviously have nothing better to do.

    Bizarro Plan for TEOTWAWKI #165: head north, join the Amish. They already know what to do in case of power failure.

  18. LC Guido Cabrone Comment by LC Guido Cabrone

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    In this part of the Empire, if you want fantastic Ham, bacon, or, for that matter, any other meats, you go to a little town called Yoder. One of our local “fast food” chains, (which has fantastic food, BTW), advertises “Yoder Cinnamon Rolls” on the breakfast menu.

    What is so special about Yoder? Well, hmm… maybe it’s being in the middle of the Amish and Mennonite part of the state.

    Methinks a certain batch of bureaucraps needs their heads bashed in with a wooden baseball bat.

    Bizarro Plan for TEOTWAWKI #165: head north, join the Amish. They already know what to do in case of power failure.

    Not so Bizarro, Climbing Freeman. Damn good idea, IMNSHO.

  19. LC JackBoot IC/A-OBR Comment by LC JackBoot IC/A-OBR

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    Ahhh Guids-

    Well, hmm… maybe it’s being in the middle of the Amish and Mennonite part of the state.

    Indeed, that family name is found throughout the region. I graduated with no less than 3, all unrelated surprisingly, and from Mennonite families.

    Ham, bacon, or, for that matter, any other meats

    *belly grumbling* Do they ever know how to butcher and smoke meat. I occasionally mail-order a favorite sandwich meat- Sweet Lebanon Bologna from Seltzer’s Smokehouse Meats. I should also point out that the best potato chips in the U.S. (Utz’s) also originate from this group of fine folks in that area.

  20. LC Guido Cabrone Comment by LC Guido Cabrone

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    Do they ever know how to butcher and smoke meat.

    A ham from YB Meats is a religious experience. That’s where the Christmas ham always came from when I was growing up… I have never found anything to compare to one. (And believe me, I have looked.)

  21. LC Guido Cabrone Comment by LC Guido Cabrone

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    I occasionally mail-order a favorite sandwich meat- Sweet Lebanon Bologna from Seltzer’s Smokehouse Meats.

    There is a butcher shop in Newton, (I worked just down the street and around the corner for a couple years), that makes sandwiches with Seltzer’s Sweet Lebanon…

    DROOOOOLLLLLL…………

  22. Unregistered Comment by mindy1

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    For crying out loud-the amish live up to a HIGHER standard. I rarely hear about illness from their food-they have been doing it for years and do not want to make themselves sick.

  23. MrSpkr Comment by MrSpkr

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    No kidding. You know, grabbing a fresh berry pie from the back of an Amish wagon was one of the few bright spots in my six months of living up north with the Yankees. If the government regulators try to force them to buy ice or get permits, they’ll just shut down — and that would be a terrible loss.

    Dammit. Why can’t these government nitwits leave people the hell alone?

  24. Unregistered Comment by P

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    “Why can’t these government nitwits leave people the hell alone?”

    Because they got into the work to do just the opposite IN THE FIRST PLACE, that’s why…

  25. memoryleak Comment by memoryleak

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    There was until recently a really nice Amish market in my town till the building owner decided he could earn more lea$e profit by turning the building into a PetSmart :sick_ee:
    The best meats, candies, pies, cakes, breads to be had all gone. :cry_wp: Sad to see big brother and big business drive these fine people away.