Community suppers may soon vanish

Will the food police shut down bake sales and teas?
Yes, people have become ill from eating food from non-commercial vendors. Yes, they are less likely to become ill eating from a commercial kitchen and restaurant.
As a young person, part of the fun of going to the Emo Fair was the chance to eat the hamburgers served from the booths, the fries from the 4-H club, and the corn from the big pots.
And squeeze up the cotton candy into tasty balls and stick it in my mouth.
Come Fun in the Sun, I looked forward to the fish fry at the Anglican Church, followed by a short walk to the United Church to have a big piece of homemade lemon pie with its high meringue crust.
I already can taste the pie.
When I was very young, one of the first business enterprises that I became involved in was selling “Kool Aid” on very hot summer days in front of my home.
It probably cost my mother more in sugar and packages of “Kool Aid” than I ever earned, but we would have fun.
Today, that little enterprise would violate the food rules. Today, only cold drinks still in their original container can be sold.
It seems to me that every festival or event across this province is somehow tied into food.
One of the traditions across the district is the family barbecue to mark the end of the school year. As a family, we always looked forward to that day when my children were in public school.
They looked forward to it, too, and it was fun to go and cook hotdogs and hamburgers on the grills, and enjoy the salads and baked beans. Everyone seemed to volunteer to make the evening successful.
Today, only pre-cooked products can be served on a bun. Hazardous raw meats are questionable.
With changing food-handling rules, the community fun barbecue and the potluck suppers may pass into history. Food prepared away from commercial kitchens is coming under more scrutiny all the time.
And not only is home-prepared food drawing the attention of health officials, but the manner in which the food is prepared, stored, and transported to events also is being checked on.
Recent statistics show that one in four North Americans get sick from the food and water they consume every year.
In Ontario, churches, service clubs, and fraternal organizations that prepare and serve meals for special events (or host bake sales) for their members and personally invited guests are exempt from the Food Premises Regulations, as authorized by the Health Act.
However, if the event is publicly advertised, rules apply.
Those potluck suppers, and fall dinners, may vanish into history. Churches may still have the dinners, but they won’t be able to let anyone know about them.
In the end, we will be safer because the food we eat all will be cooked in inspected commercial kitchens, but the social aspect of the community supper will disappear.

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