June 4, 2023

Missouri Bill Would Exempt Non-Profit Dinners from Regulation

In the Missouri Senate, SB 432 was passed last week. The measure would allow non-profit organizations to prepare food without regulation, pre-empting local food codes. The bill now goes to the House, where it is being discussed in the Professional Registration and Licensing Committee.

TIlapia DinnerThe bill would require organizations to post signs stating that the food being served is not inspected or regulated. According to the language in the bill, “the nonprofit organization shall inform the consumer by placing a clearly visible placard at the serving location that the food was prepared in a kitchen that is not subject to regulation and inspection by the regulatory authority.”

Republican Senator Mike Cunningham is sponsoring the bill, claiming that inspectors are acting as “food Nazis” by shutting down charitable chili dinners. He said in a statement, “food brings people together; it sustains our bodies and is the center of our society. By breaking bread with our fellow citizens, we are able to build friendships and bind communities.”

But a search on Barfblog reveals that charitable fundraisers have been the source of outbreaks that have sickened hundreds of people in the last few years. For example, a fundraiser at a South Carolina church in 2009 sickened at least 125 people; Salmonella was the determined to be the cause of that outbreak. And outbreaks in restaurants, which are heavily regulated and frequently inspected, are common. Employees in restaurants are well trained in food safety yet outbreaks still occur; can the same be said about workers at charitable events?

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