The following is a letter to the Barry County Health Board. I encourage everyone to read it, and if they have any questions about this issue, to contact their board members. They are John Starchman, Dennis Baker, Rocky Mills, Jan Thomas and Pauline Gage. Kathleen King is the administrator. For more information, contact the health department at 847-2114.
Dear Board Member,
I am writing to express my concern and opposition to the recent article in the newspaper stating: If you are planning to hold a fundraiser that will involve the sale of food items to the general public, you need to obtain a temporary food service permit from the Barry County Health Department. This includes community organizations, school service projects, charitable causes, fundraisers for medical expenses, holiday luncheons, celebrations or fall festivals. It says sale of food but I assume it will make no difference if there is a charge or a donation.
Over the years I have been involved in several benefits and fundraisers, large and small, and they all require a great deal of planning and work by everyone involved. Everyone has a busy schedule and willingly takes the time to help their communities and friends and neighbors and friends and neighbors in this way. This would only add to the time and work needed for these functions.
I understand that this matter has been temporarily suspended pending further review. I have to wonder why this has come up now if it has been on the books for several years. Is this motivated by a concern for public health or a revenue-generating method? I suspect the latter. If it is the former, may I suggest a no-cost permit and a video class that we could do in-house. As firefighters, there are a lot of classes that we handle this way with great success.
The enforcement of this old law could very well put an end to a lot of events that help a lot of people and that our communities look forward to and enjoy.
Chief of the Exeter Fire
P.S.: According to the Missouri Revised Statutes, "Food sold at religious events or charitable functions is exempt from food inspection laws and regulations when - 196.291. All sales of foods which are not potentially hazardous foods, as defined by regulations, sold by religious, charitable, or nonprofit organizations at their religious events or at charitable functions and activities shall be exempt from all state laws and regulations relating to food inspection, pursuant to sections 196.190 to 196.271.