In December 2015, a woman in Stockton, California was cited for operating a food facility and engaging in business without a permit.
Mariza Reulas is a single mother with six children, and she now faces potential jail time for selling a homemade dish to an undercover investigator. You would think this was some kind of drug sting, but she is only selling ceviche, a popular dish in South America.
According to the Institute for Justice, Reulas is a member of the 209 Food Spot group on Facebook, where Stockton residents share recipes, organize potlucks and occasionally buy and trade what they cook. “Somebody would be like, ‘Oh, I don’t have anything to trade you, but I would love to buy a plate,” said Reulas, referring to the Facebook group.
When an undercover investigator from San Joaquin County called Reulas asking to buy ceviche, she affirmed that she would sell it to him. According to California laws, this is illegal.
Reulas was charged, along with other members of 209 Food Spot, with two misdemeanors. She was offered a plea bargain of three years of probation, 80 hours of community service and a $235 fine, however, she refused to plea guilty.
A trial has been set for December; Reulas faces up to a year in jail if she is found guilty.
San Joaquin County Deputy District Attorney Kelly McDaniel attempts to justify terrorizing Reulas and others for the non-violent act of selling homemade meals by saying that she is only “enforcing” the laws, as if this meant that she carries no responsibility from the harm that has been and will be caused to Reulas and her family.
“I don’t write the laws, I enforce them. And the legislature has felt that this is a crime,” said McDaniel.
Further, McDaniel tries to justify jailing Reulas because, according to her, selling any food that is not subject to health department inspection puts whoever eats it in real danger and somehow undercuts business owners with permits by presenting competition to the market place.
One thing is for sure, bureaucrats do not like competition.
Why does McDaniel, on behalf of the California legislature, think that it is her responsibility to regulate what ends up on your plate? Truthfully, she’s not concerned about how dangerous or healthy your food may be; she is only concerned with hurting entrepreneurs who function outside of the government’s stranglehold on the marketplace.
Of course, you should be able to choose what food you want to buy and which businesses or entrepreneurs you want to support!
The legislature is not after your best interest, and these laws are most assuredly not written to ensure that you are provided with healthy food. Business licensing and permit laws were only created to be a means of market control.
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Contributed by Ryan Banister of The Daily Sheeple.