Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Texas Budget Crisis Getting Worse:
Sex Shops Declared "Food Establishments"

Thanks to my student J for this tip. According to KENS5, Shades of Love, an "adult novelty store" in San Antonio is being forced by the city to pay $230 per year for a food permit and submit to annual health inspections. Why? Because they sell technically edible items that are "more for licking and tasting. Edible? No. [These items are] not going to fill you up."

A search of the Shades of Love website didn't return any items with "chocolate" or "edible" in the name, so perhaps the store has responded by changing their inventory. But the news clip features some standbys: edible bra and panties set made of candy necklaces, chocolate body paint, and lickable oil.

Here's what the government stiff had to say:
"Any facility in the city of San Antonio that sells food...edible substances...requires a food establishment permit. For one, it's the law, and two, in case there's a recall we certainly want to know the source."

A recall? Like because of an outbreak of food-borne illness? Riiight. Somebody ought to tell the health department that nobody actually eats these products--they're almost exclusively used as bachelorette party gifts and thrown out directly.

The City of San Antonio's website's own directions for getting a Food Establishment Permit recognize that "food establishments" either prepare or sell prepared food, and must have an on-site commercial kitchen or use a licensed commercial kitchen elsewhere. The site makes no mention of manufactured, packaged foods in a store. There is no license for having, say, a vending machine in your beauty salon.

Clearly this is just a cash grab on the city's part. But the clip above is television journalism at its finest. Who says the medium is dead!

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