Middletown Health Dept. confiscates FNB meal

Rehm confiscates Food Not Bombs mealIn what amounts to an escalation of the Middletown Health Department’s crackdown on Food Not Bombs, today’s meal was interrupted—for the second week in a row—by Public Health Sanitarian Manfred Rehm and officers of the Middletown Police Department. Rehm (see photo on right), after consulting with supervisor Sal Nesci, confiscated all the food that Food Not Bombs had prepared to distribute to members of the Middletown community.

“They took the food right out of my hands before I could get it into my mouth,” said Reverend Cocomo Rock of the 191914 Ministries. “And then he told me he was going to throw all of it in the garbage.”

Ed McKeon of the Middletown Eye has a full report:

Sunday, soon after members of the local Food Not Bombs chapter set up tables and placed pots of jambalaya, rice, beans, tofu, and cake on the table as part of a meal they share with the community, the Public Health Sanitarian Manfred Rehm began photographing the activities with his cell phone. He could then be heard calling his supervisor, health department manager Sal Nesci, asking for a directive.

“The press is here,” Rehm was heard to say. “And they want to talk to someone.

“On the other end of the phone, Nesci could be heard clearly to say, “Tell them no comment.”

After calling in two police officers, Rehm confiscated all the prepared foods. When the members of the group asked about the pots and spoons he was taking, Rehm indicated they could pick up the cooking utensils at the Health Department on Monday.

Food Not Bombs member Abe Bobman ’11 was issued a summons to appear in court for the commission of a misdemeanor—distributing food without a license. Last week, Food Not Bomb members were issued tickets.

[Photo by Ed McKeon at Middletown Eye News.]

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38 thoughts on “Middletown Health Dept. confiscates FNB meal

  1. Anonymous

    Hey #13 and #15, when you invite all these rejects onto your campus for free food, please don’t call the police when you find that all your possessions have been stolen by all of the rejects you guys fed. The only saving grace will be that the food you guys fed them will probably lead to them getting sick. LOL

  2. Anonymous

    Hey #13 and #15, when you invite all these rejects onto your campus for free food, please don’t call the police when you find that all your possessions have been stolen by all of the rejects you guys fed. The only saving grace will be that the food you guys fed them will probably lead to them getting sick. LOL

  3. Anonymous

    why can’t they just have the food on wesleyan’s campus and then avoid this whole problem? it’ll bring more people

  4. Anonymous

    why can’t they just have the food on wesleyan’s campus and then avoid this whole problem? it’ll bring more people

  5. Anonymous

    they are not serving it in a park, or any other picnic-appropriate space. they’re serving it on the street. there really isn’t much wiggle room there. on the picnic thing generally, i’d say consult a lawyer. but again, that would subvert their precious principles. aw, shucks.

    get over yourselves. helping other people is an undignified life that doesn’t get you things like your name on the wesleying blog. awareness is an overrated concept. just do your shit and do it right.

  6. Anonymous

    they are not serving it in a park, or any other picnic-appropriate space. they’re serving it on the street. there really isn’t much wiggle room there. on the picnic thing generally, i’d say consult a lawyer. but again, that would subvert their precious principles. aw, shucks.

    get over yourselves. helping other people is an undignified life that doesn’t get you things like your name on the wesleying blog. awareness is an overrated concept. just do your shit and do it right.

  7. Anonymous

    i’m also curious about what 2:36 said. if i were having a picnic at a public park and shared my food with some strangers, would i be hassled like this?

  8. Anonymous

    i’m also curious about what 2:36 said. if i were having a picnic at a public park and shared my food with some strangers, would i be hassled like this?

  9. Anonymous

    maybe this is a really stupid idea, if it is, I apologize, but couldn’t FNB give out invitations to the people it serves and argue that it’s an outdoor picnic, that the people being served are guests, and that therefore it isn’t a violation of serving food without a permit?
    OH! You’re my new favorite blogger fyi

  10. Anonymous

    maybe this is a really stupid idea, if it is, I apologize, but couldn’t FNB give out invitations to the people it serves and argue that it’s an outdoor picnic, that the people being served are guests, and that therefore it isn’t a violation of serving food without a permit?
    OH! You’re my new favorite blogger fyi

  11. Anonymous

    maybe this is a really stupid idea, if it is, I apologize, but couldn’t FNB give out invitations to the people it serves and argue that it’s an outdoor picnic, that the people being served are guests, and that therefore it isn’t a violation of serving food without a permit?

  12. Anonymous

    maybe this is a really stupid idea, if it is, I apologize, but couldn’t FNB give out invitations to the people it serves and argue that it’s an outdoor picnic, that the people being served are guests, and that therefore it isn’t a violation of serving food without a permit?

  13. Anonymous

    this just proves that working outside the boundaries of the state, _is_ working against the state.

  14. Anonymous

    this just proves that working outside the boundaries of the state, _is_ working against the state.

  15. Anonymous

    think of this way,

    you will eventually get arrested for repeatedly ignoring criminal citations – and the people whom you are trying to help will starve.

    it seems to me that you guys are more interested in “martyrdom” than actually helping people, typical of Wesleyan.

    the law enforcement and the police officers, they are not philosophers that interpretate morals based on context; their job is to enforce the law.

    by citing how “important” FNB is and how “dependent” middletown people on your program is irrelevant in the face of law. you may not care for the law, I understand but the fact you guys repeatedly disobeyed the law after one citation already tells me that you hate the authority and care more about defying them than your actual stated the cause

    if this is the case, then I recommend getting the license and inviting the said police officer and middletown health commissioner to your event once you guys are certified.

  16. Anonymous

    think of this way,

    you will eventually get arrested for repeatedly ignoring criminal citations – and the people whom you are trying to help will starve.

    it seems to me that you guys are more interested in “martyrdom” than actually helping people, typical of Wesleyan.

    the law enforcement and the police officers, they are not philosophers that interpretate morals based on context; their job is to enforce the law.

    by citing how “important” FNB is and how “dependent” middletown people on your program is irrelevant in the face of law. you may not care for the law, I understand but the fact you guys repeatedly disobeyed the law after one citation already tells me that you hate the authority and care more about defying them than your actual stated the cause

    if this is the case, then I recommend getting the license and inviting the said police officer and middletown health commissioner to your event once you guys are certified.

  17. Anonymous

    The permit would be free, but it would be difficult, and require a huge change of food not bombs, mostly that it be subsumed within a soup kitchen. It would probably take a while to get certified and the process is pretty onerous for an organization set up to simply cook and share food. While we clearly have nothing against the health code, we don’t believe we fall under it because we are not a charity organization serving food, but a political and community organization sharing food with whoever wants it.

    We will probably continue being fined, and could be end up being arrested. We dont think this is cool or fun, we really want it to go away so we can focus on redistributing food.

    There are a number of people who are dependent on food not bombs meals. As one man said today “i rely on this meal, its the only food i can get on sundays.” Most of the non students involved in food not bombs are poor and/or homeless. The soup kitchen doesnt serve on sunday, and food not bombs is one of their main sources of fresh fruits and vegetables.

    in addition to the hot food that the health department hates so much, we distribute the entire excess of the fruit and veggie coop to the people who come, giving them food to cook with all week.

  18. Anonymous

    The permit would be free, but it would be difficult, and require a huge change of food not bombs, mostly that it be subsumed within a soup kitchen. It would probably take a while to get certified and the process is pretty onerous for an organization set up to simply cook and share food. While we clearly have nothing against the health code, we don’t believe we fall under it because we are not a charity organization serving food, but a political and community organization sharing food with whoever wants it.

    We will probably continue being fined, and could be end up being arrested. We dont think this is cool or fun, we really want it to go away so we can focus on redistributing food.

    There are a number of people who are dependent on food not bombs meals. As one man said today “i rely on this meal, its the only food i can get on sundays.” Most of the non students involved in food not bombs are poor and/or homeless. The soup kitchen doesnt serve on sunday, and food not bombs is one of their main sources of fresh fruits and vegetables.

    in addition to the hot food that the health department hates so much, we distribute the entire excess of the fruit and veggie coop to the people who come, giving them food to cook with all week.

  19. Anonymous

    I want to know:

    How hard it is for them to get a license? Would it require money? How fast could they get one?

    What kind of punishments could they be looking at if they continue this without a license?

    Are there people who are genuinely dependent on this service? How many people who eat with them are homeless / in poverty / would not be eating if it weren’t for them?

    If the answer to that last question is “yes” and the health dept is just taking food away from starving people, then this is very crazy. Otherwise it’s just sort of crazy.

  20. Anonymous

    I want to know:

    How hard it is for them to get a license? Would it require money? How fast could they get one?

    What kind of punishments could they be looking at if they continue this without a license?

    Are there people who are genuinely dependent on this service? How many people who eat with them are homeless / in poverty / would not be eating if it weren’t for them?

    If the answer to that last question is “yes” and the health dept is just taking food away from starving people, then this is very crazy. Otherwise it’s just sort of crazy.

  21. Anonymous

    the community that we share food with is fine with it. its the city health board that has a problem with it. why dont we ask the people who eat the food what THEY want.

    and for all the conservatives who dont like us, isnt this an example of useless and expansive government regulation that does not help anyone? come on libertarians!

  22. Anonymous

    the community that we share food with is fine with it. its the city health board that has a problem with it. why dont we ask the people who eat the food what THEY want.

    and for all the conservatives who dont like us, isnt this an example of useless and expansive government regulation that does not help anyone? come on libertarians!

  23. Anonymous

    Get a fucking license. Your immature attempt to both accomplish goals and subvert authority is just hilariously stupid. If you want to serve a community, you have to follow its norms. Tough shit.

  24. Anonymous

    Get a fucking license. Your immature attempt to both accomplish goals and subvert authority is just hilariously stupid. If you want to serve a community, you have to follow its norms. Tough shit.

  25. Anonymous

    Oh my god, they (mtown public health) seriously need to stop. What if it was a fucking potluck or something? If people choose to take the food, then they take the risk of getting sick from it, just like everything else in this world.

    Think about which is better for the community, really: Free food to those who need it, with the chance that one might get sick if one chooses to eat it, or no free food at all? Obviously keep the food. Be chill and enjoy this rare event when students and townies work together to do something undeniably (I thought) good.

  26. Anonymous

    Oh my god, they (mtown public health) seriously need to stop. What if it was a fucking potluck or something? If people choose to take the food, then they take the risk of getting sick from it, just like everything else in this world.

    Think about which is better for the community, really: Free food to those who need it, with the chance that one might get sick if one chooses to eat it, or no free food at all? Obviously keep the food. Be chill and enjoy this rare event when students and townies work together to do something undeniably (I thought) good.

  27. Anonymous

    Good for FNB! We all should be proud of them for offering this service to community residents. This confiscation is bollocks.

  28. Anonymous

    Good for FNB! We all should be proud of them for offering this service to community residents. This confiscation is bollocks.

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