Art Carden  

Further Notes on the Need for Kitchen Regulation

Incentives in Foreign Policy... Coase on Regulating Goods and ...

I appreciate the feedback on yesterday's post about underground dinner parties, but I don't think people understand just how serious this is. Just a few minutes ago and just a step or so away from my precious perfect snowflake one-year-old son who should never face any risk or danger ever, I handled raw bacon.

As I understand it, improperly prepared food is a leading cause of illness, and raw meat is a frequent culprit. And yet if you look around the Carden family kitchen, you won't find any evidence that I'm licensed to handle raw bacon. Heck, I'm not even certified. I've never been through a bacon-handling training course. I'm not up to date on best practices for handling raw bacon. My bacon-cooking operation is completely unregulated.

You laugh, but should we give that kind of bacon-cooking freedom to someone who would tweet this?

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CATEGORIES: Regulation

COMMENTS (6 to date)
Chris H writes:

That is a terrible and irresponsible misuse of bacon! This is why bacon should only be handled by licensed bacon experts. Before you know it, people will probably be engaged in unregulated bacon parties where participants will probably end up with bacon that's too crispy or too soft for standards set by the National Association of Baconeers. Let's nip this scourge in the bud and have the government regulate bacon usage!

Greg G writes:

Excellent satire here but the thing that seems to be absent from these stories are any cases of regulators actually prosecuting anyone for these dinner parties.

Is it possible that regulators have used some common sense and that the non-existence of the dinner party crackdown is the real story?

MingoV writes:
...As I understand it, improperly prepared food is a leading cause of illness, and raw meat is a frequent culprit
That is not true in first world countries. Illnesses due to food-borne bacteria or viruses are not on the list of most common illnesses in the USA. I've had many illnesses in my life, but I had food poisoning only once (from food prepared at a licensed restaurant).

Aside: Raw meat in the USA is nearly parasite-free because of better care of cows and pigs. Raw meat can cause bacteria-related illnesses if left at room temperature for more than 30 minutes. So, if you get that bacon in the frying pan in less than half an hour, you'll be OK.

ThomasH writes:

Running through the comments on the regulation and non-regulation of food prepared in different settings seems to be the idea that it is essentially irrational for consumers to delegate to a third party ("government") the very information-gathering intensive job of finding out which restaurants prepare safe food because they do not see the need for government to carry out the same task about their own kitchens. Now of course government health regulation/inspections of restaurants in jurisdiction X may impose more costs on consumers than they are worth in reduced health risk, but that's an empirical matter not settled by giggling.

Krishnan writes:

Well - this process is already underway (i.e. controlling what people do in their own homes) - Bloomberg in NY is spending his money, political capital on a variety of ways to have the State Control what people can do - true, that the 16 oz sugary drink ban ran into trouble - but he has all kinds of other ideas

NYC will appoint a Commissioner for Grocery Stores with the specific duty of regulating and controlling what the stores sell - each store will have a quota on the total calories, fat, other things for all the items in that store and the regulations will require that the store reduce calories by 5% every year.

After that, NYC will start random inspections of home refrigerators and pantries - each home will have a quota of calories, fats, etc

When that is successful, the next idea would be to demand that each parent be licensed to be a parent - and take classes for 3 months BEFORE they can become parents (so, 9 + 3 = 12). Far too many children are born to parents who are not properly trained to be parents. (Children in some school districts now get breakfast, lunch AND dinner in some cases - because those systems do not believe the parents have the skills to be good parents (good as defined by the self appointed do gooders who are naturally exempt from such regulations)

Glen Raphael writes:

Greg G - yes, the authorities do shut down these sort of underground restaurants/supper clubs when they find out about them.

There was a guy in my neighborhood who went by the name "Dr. Claw" - he illegally made AMAZING lobster rolls in his house that people could come by and eat there or grab to take out. But his food was SO good that he got too popular, became too well-known, and was shut down by the authorities.

Another issue is whether alcohol is served - if you sell people alcohol (or a meal that includes it) in a residential area without paying appropriate taxes and getting appropriate permits, the authorities can get VERY picky about that. So another underground restaurant I've patronized in the past solves that problem with a strict BYOB policy - guests can bring their own wine but the chef only provides water and glasses.

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