No need to jack up the price of a glass of lemonade. Turns out kids won’t have to shell out $120 for a health permit to run their lemonade stands after all.
Multnomah County’s top elected official apologized Thursday for health inspectors who forced a 7-year-old girl to shut down her stand last week because she didn’t have a food-safety permit.
Chairman Jeff Cogen also said he has directed county health department workers to use “professional discretion” in doing their jobs.
Cogen said the inspectors were “following the rule book,” but should consider that food-safety laws are aimed at adults engaged in a professional food business, not kids running lemonade stands.
“A lemonade stand is a classic, iconic American kid thing to do,” he said. “I don’t want to be in the business of shutting that down.”
This was a no-brainer. I’m glad someone with some common sense stepped in and was the adult in the room here.
Profiles in Government Stupidity: Portland shuts down lemonade stand for operating without business license
“There’s no business that’s too small for government to torture.” - John Stossel
A government bureaucrat in Multnomah County, Oregon shut down a lemonade stand run by Julie Murphy, a 7 year old, because she was operating without a $150 business license. Sadly, this is not a joke:
It’s hardly unusual to hear small-business owners gripe about licensing requirements or complain that heavy-handed regulations are driving them into the red.
So when Multnomah County shut down an enterprise last week for operating without a license, you might just sigh and say, there they go again.
Except this entrepreneur was a 7-year-old named Julie Murphy. Her business was a lemonade stand at the Last Thursday monthly art fair in Northeast Portland. The government regulation she violated? Failing to get a $120 temporary restaurant license.
Turns out that kids’ lemonade stands — those constants of summertime — are supposed to get a permit in Oregon, particularly at big events that happen to be patrolled regularly by county health inspectors.
“I understand the reason behind what they’re doing and it’s a neighborhood event, and they’re trying to generate revenue,” said Jon Kawaguchi, environmental health supervisor for the Multnomah County Health Department. “But we still need to put the public’s health first.”
Even before her daughter had finished making the first batch of lemonade, a man walked up to buy a 50-cent cup.
“They wanted to support a little 7-year-old to earn a little extra summer loot,” she said. “People know what’s going on.”
Even so, Julie was careful about making the lemonade, cleaning her hands with hand sanitizer, using a scoop for the bagged ice and keeping everything covered when it wasn’t in use, Fife said.