Two sisters in Overton, Texas were trying to raise money for a present for their dad for Father’s Day when their lemonade stand was shut down by a code enforcement officer and the police chief. A police dashcam captured the officer telling the girls’ mother that they needed a permit to operate the stand. The police chief released the video after the lemonade stand shut-down became of interest to the media.
Breitbart Texas previously reported about the girls being busted for the unregulated lemonade stand.
The police dashcam video records the officer questioning Sandi Evans, the mother of seven and eight-year-old Zoey and Andria Green.
“You get a permit from the city to serve this?” the officer asked the mother of the girls.
“I didn’t know I had to,” the mother answers.
“Yes ma’am,” says the officer.
“Really? For a lemonade stand?” says the mother, “I had no clue.”
The surprised mom asked, “Okay, can I run down and get one real quick?”
“Yes ma’am,” the officer replies.
The mother adds, “I knew we had to for garage sales and stuff like that, but I didn’t know kids had to for a lemonade stand.”
The girls were trying to raise money to take their dad to Splash Kingdom for Father’s Day. They were selling lemonade for 50 cents, and kettle corn for a dollar. You could get both a drink and the kettle corn for a dollar.
According to KLTV7, the stand was open for about an hour. The little girls had made about $25.00 when the police arrived and shut them down.
After the little girl’s mother was told that a permit was required, a family friend quickly obtained the permit. The city waived the $150 fee.
Obtaining the permit did not end the matter.
The girls and their mother were told that a health department inspection of the family kitchen was required because the food was prepared there.
Texas House Bill 970 requires a government inspection and permit for any food that must be regulated by time or temperature control in order to prevent spoilage. Since the lemonade and kettle corn could grow bacteria, a permit and inspection was required.
The law was passed during the 2013 Texas legislative session.
HB 970 amended the Texas Health and Safety Code to prohibit a “cottage food production operation from selling to customers potentially hazardous food,” according to the House Bill Analysis report.
The intent of the law was to “expand the types of foods allowed to be produced by a cottage food production operation and the locations at which such an individual can sell the products, establishing additional regulations regarding the sale of cottage food products, and amending current law relating to a local government authority’s to regulate cottage food production operations.”
The girls told KLTV7, an ABC affiliate in Tyler, Texas, that they “felt a little mad, a little sad” and “confused.”
The application of the law here is confusing.
The House Bill Analysis report states that “persons who meet certain criteria can produce specific types of foods in their homes and sell directly to consumers without being regulated by a local health department.” Overton City officials told the family that their kitchen had to be inspected by the local health department.
The Bill Analysis states that “popcorn and popcorn snacks” sold from “an individual operating out of the individual’s home” is not a potentially hazardous food, so it appears that at least the popcorn did not have to be regulated. Lemonade is not specifically enumerated in the list of “potentially hazardous food,” although refrigerated items and milk and milk products are referred to.
While the law allows local health authorities “to act to prevent an immediate and serious threat to human life or health,” it is difficult to see that such was the case here. Perhaps it is because the girls and their mother had not “successfully completed an accredited basic food safety education or training program for food handlers.”
The sisters are planning to open the lemonade stand again this Saturday using a loophole in the law. If they give away the lemonade and kettle corn, and ask for a donation, government regulations provide for an exception to the permit and health inspection requirement.
The girls will have the stand open Saturday in Overton from 10:00 a.m. until 12:00 p.m.
Good news though, the law expressly states that it does not affect the right of any person to sue for nuisance or another tort arising out of the use of a home for cottage food production operations.
In 2011, Forbes Magazine reported that there was a war on lemonade stands and enumerated various states that had begun crackdowns. The article asked the question, “Who stands to lose from a couple of six-year-olds selling lemonade?”
Who is behind this government crackdown of lemonade stands, and why, is the question being asked by mothers across the state. By God – THIS IS TEXAS.
Lana Shadwick is a contributing writer and legal analyst for Breitbart Texas. Follow her on Twitter@LanaShadwick2