Food Not Bombs contests cease-and-desist order

foodnotbombs-courant

Food Not Bombs had a hearing with the Middletown Health Department in Hartford on August 11, to appeal the cease-and-desist order they were issued earlier this year for serving food without a license.

Abe Bobman '11 receives counsel from attorney Elizabeth Conklin

Two witnesses from the Health Department testified about their investigation of FNB, but the hearing ended before any other witnesses could be called. Abe Bobman ’11 (pictured at right), the Food Not Bombs representative in these proceedings, will get to testify at a later hearing which has not been scheduled yet.

From the Hartford Courant:

During Tuesday’s hearing, Alexandria Boccio, the lawyer representing the Middletown Health Department, called two witnesses — Manfred Rehm, a public health sanitarian, and Salvatore Nesci, chief public health sanitarian. The nearly five-hour hearing grew contentious at times as one of Food Not Bombs’ lawyers repeatedly objected to Boccio’s line of questioning.

[…] Nesci said the Middletown group did not protect its food with sneeze guards and proper utensils and did not use gloves. Nesci said he doesn’t want to stop Food Not Bombs from giving out food to the needy, but that he wants the group to be licensed and to keep a record of who prepares the food in case it makes someone ill.

“They are fulfilling a recognizable need,” he said. “Their work is admirable … [but] it needs to be brought into compliance.”

In his cross examination of Nesci, Peter Goselin, one of two lawyers representing Food Not Bombs at no charge, focused on why school bake sales and lemonade stands are not regulated. Goselin asked several times why those groups are exempted from the laws that regulate the public distribution of food, and why that exemption doesn’t apply to Food Not Bombs.

Nesci said that unlike a biannual bake sale, Food Not Bombs holds weekly potlucks, which puts it in the same category as a regulated food establishment. Rehm said his department doesn’t have the “manpower” to regulate occasional and unannounced bake sales and lemonade stands.

…So ideally all food distribution, everywhere, would be regulated – lemonade stands are only just sneaky enough to slip by.

A Hartford chapter of FNB showed up outside the government building  before the hearing to distribute free bagels, coffee, and oatmeal in solidarity with the Middletown group, but were warned by Hartford police that they needed a food license to do so and asked to move across the street.

Food Not Bombs serves food in front of The Buttonwood Tree

For now, Food Not Bombs has agreed to cook in a licensed kitchen at the First Church of Christ Congregational until the state rules on the validity of the city’s cease-and-desist order, which it seems won’t be for awhile.

Check out the Courant’s photo gallery of Food Not Bombs gatherings on March 29th and April 4th this year, and the court proceedings on August 11th.

Hartford Courant: Anti-Hunger Group Contests Cease-and-Desist Order
Middletown Eye: Coverage of Food Not Bombs issue

27 thoughts on “Food Not Bombs contests cease-and-desist order

  1. Pingback: Food Not Bombs offers appeal; Middletown cracks down on soup kitchen – Wesleying

  2. Peter

    “FNB cannot be regulated as the Health Department demands without fundamentally compromising the nature of its activities.”

    I’d like to hear more about this. Frankly, unless the group can give rational reasons for not obeying simple health standards, they have no right to make this anything bigger than it is – empty meaningless “protest” for the sake of attention.

  3. Peter

    “FNB cannot be regulated as the Health Department demands without fundamentally compromising the nature of its activities.”

    I’d like to hear more about this. Frankly, unless the group can give rational reasons for not obeying simple health standards, they have no right to make this anything bigger than it is – empty meaningless “protest” for the sake of attention.

  4. anon

    i sat in on a food-not-bombs cooking event once. . .

    Forget sanitation, those guys just plain didn’t know anything about cooking.

  5. anon

    i sat in on a food-not-bombs cooking event once. . .

    Forget sanitation, those guys just plain didn’t know anything about cooking.

  6. Anonymous

    Food Not Bombs is essentially a weekly exercise of people preparing food to share with other people. It is not a charity, an organization or a student group. Food is generally accumulated from a variety of free sources including Long Lane and other local farms, local grocery stores, private gardens/donations and the leftovers of the fruit and veggie coop. Idealogical objections aside, FNB cannot be regulated as the Health Department demands without fundamentally compromising the nature of its activities. FNBers enjoy the food too, if anyone were to be contaminated (which it has never been, except with kindness) they would be the first to know.

  7. Anonymous

    Food Not Bombs is essentially a weekly exercise of people preparing food to share with other people. It is not a charity, an organization or a student group. Food is generally accumulated from a variety of free sources including Long Lane and other local farms, local grocery stores, private gardens/donations and the leftovers of the fruit and veggie coop. Idealogical objections aside, FNB cannot be regulated as the Health Department demands without fundamentally compromising the nature of its activities. FNBers enjoy the food too, if anyone were to be contaminated (which it has never been, except with kindness) they would be the first to know.

  8. Anonymous

    Food Not Bombs is essentially a weekly exercise of people preparing food to share with other people. It is not a charity, an organization or a student group. Food is generally accumulated from a variety of free sources including Long Lane and other local farms, local grocery stores, private gardens/donations and the leftovers of the fruit and veggie coop. Idealogical objections aside, FNB cannot be regulated as the Health Department demands without fundamentally compromising the nature of its activities. FNBers enjoy the food too, if anyone were to be contaminated (which it has never been, except with kindness) they would be the first to know.

  9. Anonymous

    anyone whos ever used illegal drugs or engaged in underage drinking needs to shut the fuck up about “you gotta obey the law”

  10. Anonymous

    anyone whos ever used illegal drugs or engaged in underage drinking needs to shut the fuck up about “you gotta obey the law”

  11. Anonymous

    anyone whos ever used illegal drugs or engaged in underage drinking needs to shut the fuck up about “you gotta obey the law”

  12. Anonymous

    get a fucking license. oh wait, the point of the group is “sticking it to the man”. in that case, cease and desist is in order.

  13. Anonymous

    get a fucking license. oh wait, the point of the group is “sticking it to the man”. in that case, cease and desist is in order.

  14. Anonymous

    get a fucking license. oh wait, the point of the group is “sticking it to the man”. in that case, cease and desist is in order.

  15. Anonymous

    Frankly, I’d have to think that Middletown is in the right on this – there’s nothing wrong with asking that a group that regularly distributes food on public streets be in compliance with the laws regarding food distribution, especially as regards health and safety issues.

  16. Anonymous

    Frankly, I’d have to think that Middletown is in the right on this – there’s nothing wrong with asking that a group that regularly distributes food on public streets be in compliance with the laws regarding food distribution, especially as regards health and safety issues.

  17. Anonymous

    Frankly, I’d have to think that Middletown is in the right on this – there’s nothing wrong with asking that a group that regularly distributes food on public streets be in compliance with the laws regarding food distribution, especially as regards health and safety issues.

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