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Starving to death protects you from food poisoning

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Starving to death protects you from food poisoning

Postby RugbyD » Thu Nov 30, 2006 10:33 am

Good enough for government work.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/co ... 01583.html

Freshly Baked Handouts Forbidden in Fairfax
County Says Health Of Homeless Is at Issue

By Jacqueline L. Salmon
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, November 29, 2006; A01

The casserole has been canned.

Under a tough new Fairfax County policy, residents can no longer donate food prepared in their homes or a church kitchen -- be it a tuna casserole, sandwiches or even a batch of cookies -- unless the kitchen is approved by the county, health officials said yesterday.

They said the crackdown on home-cooked meals is aimed at preventing food poisoning among homeless people.

But it is infuriating operators of shelters for the homeless and leaders of a coalition of churches that provides shelter and meals to homeless people during the winter. They said the strict standards for food served in the shelters will make it more difficult to serve healthy, hot meals to homeless people. The enforcement also, they said, makes little sense.

"We're very aware that a number of homeless people eat out of dumpsters, and mom's pot roast has got to be healthier than that," said Jim Brigl, chief executive of Fairfax Area Christian Emergency & Transitional Services. "But that doesn't meet the code."

County officials estimate that about 2,000 people are homeless in Fairfax. They are served by a network of shelters that swells to more than three dozen over the winter. FACETS, a Fairfax nonprofit group, coordinates most hypothermia shelters, which are set to open Friday in two dozen churches and other facilities.

The crackdown came after the county Health Department received a complaint about food being served to the homeless population that was bedding down at area houses of worship as part of the wintertime hypothermia program that began last year. Health officials took a closer look at what shelter residents ate and where the food came from.

Under state and county code, food served to the public must be prepared in a kitchen that has been inspected and certified by the county Health Department. Those standards are high: a commercial-grade refrigerator, a three-compartment sink to wash, rinse and sanitize dishes and a separate hand-washing sink, among other requirements.

Health officials said they weren't aware that food from unapproved kitchens was being served in homeless shelters.

"We're dealing with a medically fragile population . . . so they're more susceptible to food-borne illnesses than the general population," said Tom Crow, the county Health Department's director of environmental health. "We're trying to protect those people."

To help the churches prepare, the Health Department is waiving a $60 fee for certification and is holding additional safe food-handling classes for church volunteers. It is also giving churches that do not have approved kitchens a list of other houses of worship with such facilities.

"We're not trying to come across as being a heavy-handed government," Crow said.

Nonetheless, ministers from several of the two dozen participating churches said they oppose the crackdown and hope the Health Department backs off.

"We see the reason for being certified. They want to ensure people's health and safety," said the Rev. Keary Kincannon of Rising Hope United Methodist Mission Church in the Alexandria portion of Fairfax County, which will open as a hypothermia shelter for four months starting Friday.

"On the other hand, how much do you have to be a stickler with that?" Kincannon asked. "What's more important: whether we're open to have somebody get in out of the cold and get a meal? There's kind of a balance there."

The Rev. Judy Fender of Burke United Methodist Church said 50 volunteers had been planning to cook beef stew, pork loin and other nutritious meals in the church kitchen when it hosts the hypothermia shelter Dec. 17 through 23.

But she found out this week that, because the kitchen is not Health Department-approved, it will have to prepare its food elsewhere.

It will be a logistical nightmare, Fender predicted, and is an insult to members who have cooked meals for years in the church kitchen without any problems.

"Why do [they] think that the traditional way of fixing a home-cooked meal is going to poison people off the street?" Fender asked.

She said she will appeal to a higher authority to get the Health Department to back off.

"I'm probably going to be in prayer that something is going to give on this," Fender said.

The crackdown has also hit year-round shelters. They prepare their food in on-site commercial kitchens, but many also accept donations from people who bring leftover food, home-baked goodies and other products to their doors.

"It takes the personal element out," said Pam Michell, executive director of New Hope Housing, which runs three year-round shelters and two wintertime programs.

"There's something about being able to bring a batch of brownies or being able to bring a home-cooked casserole to a shelter and feel like you're doing your part to end homelessness," she said. "That warm, fuzzy touch is going to go away."
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Postby PlayingWithFire » Thu Nov 30, 2006 10:53 am

Homeless people: "Give us food please, we are starving..."

Government: "Not with our seal of approval! We set the bar high so the 1 in 5000 food poisoning resulting from church's kitchen made food doesn't happen..."

:-t
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Postby Big Pimpin » Thu Nov 30, 2006 11:18 am

This is outstanding. It's so ridiculous that it's comical. :-b
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Postby Omaha Red Sox » Thu Nov 30, 2006 11:26 am

Have to cover all of your bases now so nobody gets hurt. Or, at least, if someone gets hurt it doesn't come back to you. It's all about covering your ass.
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Postby josebach » Thu Nov 30, 2006 11:31 am

More likely than not, a homeless person complained and because the law states that food served to the public must follow code, the Health Department had no choice but to start enforcing the rule. Otherwise, they could probably be sued. I bet whoever filed the complaint is feeling pretty stupid now.
Last edited by josebach on Thu Nov 30, 2006 11:33 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby 1337_Dude » Thu Nov 30, 2006 11:33 am

Amazing.
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Postby RugbyD » Thu Nov 30, 2006 11:38 am

this situation can be ebst summarized as: "Nothing is broken, it must be fixed!"
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Postby acsguitar » Thu Nov 30, 2006 12:29 pm

Ahh washington, d.c. metro area...has there ever been an area on earth more suitable for putting a giant bubble around and throwing away the key to the doors.

I wonder if they are gonna start ticketing people for giving homeless people food on the street

I can see it now.

a Big Orange Sign

WARNING!!:

DO NOT FEED THE HOMELESS PEOPLE!! YOUR POT PIE MAY GIVE THEM DIAHREEA OR GAS
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Postby Art Vandelay » Thu Nov 30, 2006 1:30 pm

I used to work about a block away from the park affectionately referred to as 'bum village.' There was always a lot of homeless people in the park, on the streets nearby, and hanging at the metro station...also, a lot of drugs, prostitution, etc, happened in the area. Anyway, there was one homeless guy who I saw almost every day, and I kind of became friends with. I'd usually visit with him for at least a few minutes every day, gave him a hat and gloves one day when it was getting really cold, an umbrella, etc. There was a Subway sandwich shop across the street from my work, and they had a deal where you could get two foot-long subs for $8 after 5pm or something, so oftentimes I would stop on my way out of work, pick up a sandwich for myself, and for an extra couple of bucks get duke a sandwich as well.

For about six months I gave this guy at least a couple of sandwiches a week, and other stuff, then one day I was walking from my work to the metro station and I saw him running toward me at a full sprint, yelling into his hand as he ran. I figured he had gone over the deep end. As he neared I noticed that he had a small walkie-talkie in his hand, and a badge on a string around his neck. He ran into the park and tackled some guy, then a bunch of uniformed officers came over and arrested the guy. The homeless man I'd been helping out for months was a damn undercover cop! I was pissed. I wasn't making much money at the time, and here I was, spending $25-30 bucks a month or so on someone who probably made close to $100,000 a year. Ridiculous.

The juxtaposition between the haves and the have nots in Washington DC is crazy. Bum Village was in a park that was about two blocks away from the White House. You've got the capitol and leaders of the richest, most powerful nation on earch, thousands of tourists, and then, literally less than a quarter mile away, a park with 50-100 homeless people living in it.
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Postby acsguitar » Thu Nov 30, 2006 1:33 pm

Art Vandelay wrote:I used to work about a block away from the park affectionately referred to as 'bum village.' There was always a lot of homeless people in the park, on the streets nearby, and hanging at the metro station...also, a lot of drugs, prostitution, etc, happened in the area. Anyway, there was one homeless guy who I saw almost every day, and I kind of became friends with. I'd usually visit with him for at least a few minutes every day, gave him a hat and gloves one day when it was getting really cold, an umbrella, etc. There was a Subway sandwich shop across the street from my work, and they had a deal where you could get two foot-long subs for $8 after 5pm or something, so oftentimes I would stop on my way out of work, pick up a sandwich for myself, and for an extra couple of bucks get duke a sandwich as well.

For about six months I gave this guy at least a couple of sandwiches a week, and other stuff, then one day I was walking from my work to the metro station and I saw him running toward me at a full sprint, yelling into his hand as he ran. I figured he had gone over the deep end. As he neared I noticed that he had a small walkie-talkie in his hand, and a badge on a string around his neck. He ran into the park and tackled some guy, then a bunch of uniformed officers came over and arrested the guy. The homeless man I'd been helping out for months was a damn undercover cop! I was pissed. I wasn't making much money at the time, and here I was, spending $25-30 bucks a month or so on someone who probably made close to $100,000 a year. Ridiculous.

The juxtaposition between the haves and the have nots in Washington DC is crazy. Bum Village was in a park that was about two blocks away from the White House. You've got the capitol and leaders of the richest, most powerful nation on earch, thousands of tourists, and then, literally less than a quarter mile away, a park with 50-100 homeless people living in it.


That is one of the craziest stories I have ever heard. I woulda been like dude you owe me alot of money homey
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