Inspired by a photo posted on Facebook by a local radio broadcaster and an in depth conversation regarding an individual selling fruit on the side of the road. The question posed by the poster was what do you see here? Her observation was that she saw a hardworking man trying to make an honest buck. My observation was I see an individual selling produce for public consumption without the proper permits or food safety measures being taken. There was no visible signage in the photograph to indicate that he had obtained a food permit nor was there a hand washing station visible in the photo. The food was displayed for sale in crates sitting in a dirt lot and in the street gutter on the corner of Nellis and Sun Valley. In addition to the unprepared fruit that was being displayed there was prepared and ready to eat fruit in plastic containers with no labeling as to the location at which it was prepared. With the recent passing and implementation of rules governing “cottage kitchens” by the Southern Nevada Health District regulations clearly state “The food to be sold must be labeled with “MADE IN A COTTAGE FOOD OPERATION THAT IS NOT TO GOVERNMENT FOOD SAFETY INSPECTION” printed prominently on the label for the food item: I wish I could share the photo with you however, it was not mine to share…..
How many times have you been approached by someone in a parking lot trying to sell you tamales or corn on the cob? My question to them is always this. May I see your food handlers card, health permit and business license please? Not once has anyone ever been able to produce any such documentation. Truth be told I absolutely LOVE tamales….. however, I am a Las Vegas Native so I know a little bit about hedging my bets.
As a twenty five year veteran in the food service and hospitality management industry and having survived historical numbers of health inspections such as those I endured during the Frontier Hotel Strike in 1991, I can assure you that I am more than qualified to question the safe handling of food products.
With all of the hype of GMO’s and eating so called “organic” foods these days and being “aware” of what you put into your body…. blah blah blah…. American’s have completely lost focus that the number one way people contract a food borne illness or intestinal (enteric) disease is from the transmittal of fecal waste. Proper hand washing is the most effective way to prevent the spread of infectious diseases. Food handlers in Southern Nevada are required to wash their hands after handling currency before resuming the handling of food. With no hand washing station how was he able to wash his hands after each monetary transaction? There is a reason that hand washing stations in food service establishments are in public view! Hand sanitizer is not an acceptable substitute! Hand sanitizer does not kill Norovirus! The food was being displayed in the DIRT! Not on any sort of table or anything that was elevated from the ground. The ground where people walk and spit and litter etc. Would you eat food that was picked up off of the floor in a restaurant?
I am not saying by any stretch of the means that the FDA is a fail proof system, believe me they are not! If it was a fail proof system we would not have seen pandemic numbers of ecoli breakouts, Escherichia coli (E. coil 0157H7) kills an average of 500 people every year!
As a small business owner there are costs associated with doing business. Including licensing and permitting as required for whatever your industry requires. If everyone follows the guidelines and pays the fees it will lessen the burden for all. When proprietors operate and sell goods without following the rules it makes it more expensive for those of us that do.
I am all for a man working hard to put food on the table for his family and keep them sleeping indoors, that’s all I am trying to do, but if you are going to do business in this city/country then you need to follow the rules. Simple as that!