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How Fresh Is Too Fresh?

POSTED June 27, 2012 9:20 p.m.

Dear Editor,

Beret Rouge Basque Piperade is not available at the Oakdale Farmer’s Market.

Why?

According to Stanislaus County ... It’s TOO fresh!

The Stanislaus County Health Department just made it harder for small businesses to STAY in business. This year the Health Department introduced a Processed Food Registration Certificate (PFRC).

I am the owner of Beret Rouge Basque Piperade. For three years I have shared my handcrafted product with Oakdale at our farmer’s market. And this year I cannot. Due to the Health Department’s extensive regulation, I can no longer afford to have my sauce at the farmer’s market.

Here’s my story. I started the process of getting the PFRC. I paid an extra $358 to the Health Department to have a state representative inspect my kitchen and approve my bottling process.

I passed. Then I submitted a sample of my Piperade, to assess the ingredients. The results? My product was assessed as “too fresh” for sale at a farmer’s market! How can ANYTHING at a farmer’s market be “too fresh?” But here’s the irony, because I have a “wholesale license” I can sell this “fresh product” to a store. Does this seem crazy?

When I questioned this I was told I could hire a co-packer to “reformulate” my product. What? And make it “less fresh”? OR ... I can have the state test EVERY batch I make for $250/hour. That would make for some pretty expensive sauce! This is just crazy.

I’m hoping to call attention to this ridiculous bureaucracy, something that is running “the little guys” out of business. I want to fight this.

A lot of people out there are making great products but squashed by government regulation.

Can anyone out there help?

Thank you for supporting small local businesses!

Monet Bonson Beret Rouge Piperade

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