STOCKTON, Calif. — A single mother could be jailed for up to a year because she shared homemade meals through a Facebook food group.
Mariza Ruelas of Stockton was charged after a year-long investigation by county inspectors that ended with an undercover sting operation.
“It was just unreal that they were saying you could face up to a year in jail,” Reulas, a mother of six, told Fox 40 in Sacramento.
Reulas and others in the Stockton, California-area had been trading food, organizing potlucks and sharing recipes on the 209 Food Spot Facebook page for several years. Not all of the exchanges involved money, but some did.
“Somebody would be like, ‘Oh I don’t have anything to trade you but I would love to buy a plate,’” Reulas said.
Members of the 209 Food Spot page did not realize that San Joaquin County health inspectors were monitoring their activity.
In October 2015, an undercover investigator ordered a ceviche – a seafood dish — from Reulas. A few months later the mother of six received a summons for selling food and engaging in business without a permit – each a misdemeanor.