Saturday, January 13, 2007

Breakthrough's Peanut Butter and Jelly Caper Before the City Council

Breakthrough's Senior Program Director, Bill Curry, testified before a City Council Committee this week about an incident that happened in our dining room during our kids' summer program. City departments were squabbling over whether or not organizations like Breakthrough needed a retail food license to serve food to kids and homeless guests and we were caught in the middle.

We had tried to get the license, but were told by the issuing department that we didn't need one. When a woman from the city health department came out and demanded to see our license which we could not produce, she took peanut butter and jelly sandwiches that had been prepared for the kids' field trip and threw them all in the garbage right in front of the kids.

Alderman Burke was livid. Here's what an article in the Chicago Tribune had to say...
Also on Wednesday, the committee advanced a measure that would exempt soup kitchens and food depositories that prepare food for consumption from a recently imposed requirement to obtain a retail food establishment license.

Burke, crimson with anger, decried what he called City Hall bureaucracy and demanded that a Health Department official give him details of what he called "the great peanut butter and jelly sandwich caper."

In an incident last July, speakers at a meeting said that a new department employee destroyed sandwiches in front of needy children because a not-for-profit organization at 3330 W. Carroll St. that prepared the sandwiches did not have the proper license.

"And this is city that works?" Burke asked sarcastically.


Anonymous said...

Now for the latest on this...

As a result of the meeting the law was changed last thursday...exempting all charitable organizations in Chicago from the need to get a Food Retail License.

We are still happy to comply with regular health inspections and readily pass those concerning the conditions of the facility, and food handlers, but that crazy license was a thorn in our flesh that has been removed!!!!


Paul said...

My goodness. Heartless bureaucracy. That's great to hear the thorn has been removed. Wow.

Anonymous said...

I couldn't believe this when I heard about it back in the summer. I am glad to see that sometimes we have politicians who see the insanity that can be produced with an over abundance of rules. Thank you Ald. Burke.