Our Glorious Regulators

With all my years working in the food industry I came across some real asinine decisions coming from our regulators.

When labeling our food we now have to list all ingredients with allergens separate, so when picking up a carton of eggs, the ingredient list actually states contains eggs. A package marked Wheat Flour actually lists allergen: Wheat. Peanut Butter really has peanuts on the allergen list and even the carton of milk has, you guessed it, contains milk on the label.

The list goes on and on with obvious examples. I can see that in some cases listing allergens are important and will protect the few of us with these allergies, especially if they are life threatening.

Now here is another one. There are cans that are cooked to a specific temperature that do not need an expiration date on it. This reminds me of the “Gourmet” (LOL) canned rations the US Army served us in the 70’s that were still Leftovers from World War II. But now if you produce cans under the same procedures mentioned in this paragraph and have a larger production run (make more cans), they have to have an expiration date on it. Duh!

The best one of them all:

There is a food that does not spoil. They found it in the tombs of the pharaohs and it was still edible (between you and me, I would not have wanted to be the one eating it!). It is HONEY!  (see the article at the Smithsonian.com).

Yes, every jar of Honey I look at has an expiration date on it!!


Hamburger Versus Ground Beef:

According to the USDA: Beef fat may be added to “hamburger,” but not “ground beef.”

They both can contain up to 30% fat. Where does the fat come from in the ground beef if you are no allowed to add it?

And it is getting worse as time goes by. After I sold my store I heard stories where the inspector finding a minor violation was not worried much about what was done to correct it, but only concerned that the proper paperwork was filled out.
I know of one of our states that in order to vacuum pack items when a customer asks, there has to be a procedure filed on how it is done and every time you do it, it has to be recorded, making this service almost too cumbersome.

While we ran our store our inspection reports were always great, with just minor infractions, like storing a ladder behind the door in one of the bathrooms, but hearing about all these unnecessary changes makes me glad that I do not have to put up with them anymore.

I remember that smoking was allowed in food stores, which is unthinkable nowadays, but now a saw people bringing their dogs (pets, not working dogs) into stores that sell food, that seems to really be an improvement in the laws, dog hair all over the merchandise and the occasional accident on the floor.

In my time in the business I came across many more of these tidbits and I will add them as I can think of them, if they are appropriate.

And it seems that all those lawyers in Washington (I think there are way too many) have too much time on their hands and come up with more and more of these “…….” rules and regulations. I admit a few of them are to our benefit, but many just cost us more of our hard earned money!

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