Keeping you Safe from Homemade Ice Cream

By Mark T. Mitchell for FRONT PORCH REPUBLIC

A story from the Chicago Tribune tells of an enterprising mother named Kris Swanberg, who runs a wildly successful ice cream business. Of course, where food is concerned, the State will sooner or later insert itself because you could get sick eating fresh cream and fresh strawberries. According to Ms. Swanberg,

a couple of weeks ago a representative from the Illinois Department of Public Health came to Logan Square Kitchen and informed her she’d have to shut down if she did not get something called  “a dairy license.”

To get this license Swanberg wrote, in an email, she would have to:

  1. “Work out of our own space. Currently we work out of the Logan Square Kitchen.”
  2. “Have our product tested once a month for bacterial levels.”
  3. “Change all of our packaging and labels to meet state standards.”
  4. “Purchase a pasteurizer, which from what the state tells me will be about $40,000 or use a pre-made ice cream mix.”

Swanberg says that the IDPH officer who visited told her that her ice cream probably wouldn’t pass the bacteria tests if she continued to use fresh strawberries. Instead the officer suggested she use “strawberry syrup,” Swanberg said.

Strawberry syrup. This sums up the matter quite nicely: stop making the “risky” stuff that tastes great and that customers love and start using strawberry syrup made with copious amounts of high fructose corn syrup and other “safe” unpronounceable “food stuffs” that no doubt serve as the primary ingredient in pre-made ice cream mix. In the name of safety forgo food in exchange for chemically enriched pseudo food.

Or purchase a $40,000 pasteurizer which in effect prices the boutique maker out of business in favor of the corporate big dogs who can afford such things and who are no doubt are happy that these presumptuous upstarts are stifled.

Will Ms. Swanberg’s “Nice Cream” live to see another Chicago summer?

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