October 19, 2018

In MN, A Chili Cookoff Exception To Food Safety Rules?

Rep. Joe Radinovich (DFL), the youngest member of Minnesota’s 2013-14 Legislature introduced two bills this week, one of them was about aligning high school graduation standards with college readiness, but that’s not the one people are talking about. Because the other bill has to do with winning prizes for chili.

Anaheim ChiliRadinovich, who is 26, co-authored a bill that would exempt chili and soup prepared for contests from the state food safety law that applies to potlucks. The “chili exception” would only apply to chili or soup prepared for cookoffs where: no fee is charged, food preparation volunteers have received food safety training and th efood id served in a cup or a bowl that bears the disclaimer: “Contents were prepared by volunteers trained in food safety, but consumers assume the risk of food-borne illness as a result of consumption.”

The bill came about after state health authorities told contestants in the Crosslake Chamber of Commerce‘s annual chili cook-off, which is held at various Cross Lake businesses, that food had to be cooked on-site. Enforcement of the rule removed a multi-year winner from contention because he couldn’t wheel a meat smoker into the bank where he worked. (His winning recipe contains for beef brisket smoked for 18 hours.)

“It just seems crazy that they’d rather have the chili prepared at a veterinary clinic or a hair salon than in a business owner’s home kitchen,” Cindy Myogeto, the chamber director told the Associated Press.

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