A Carrollton, Texas woman make the mistake of trying to sell hot tamales…without a permit. She received a “warrant arrest notice” in the mail and was ordered to pay a $700 fine. Now, she’s trying to fight it in court.
“That has to be wrong,” Dennise Cruz thought when she got the corn-colored postcard from the City of Carrollton. “I don’t have any tickets under my name. That’s just my first reaction. Never would have I thought, tamales,” said Cruz. “To know that somebody can be arrested over that, that to me is unbelievable.”
A few months back, Cruz decided to whip up some masa, steam up some corn husks and post on Nextdoor she was selling tamales.
“It’s just so common. That’s why to me, I don’t understand why it’s such a big deal,” said Cruz.
But it was a big deal and carried $700 fine with the offense.
“When it hit me, I was like that is a lot of money,” said Cruz.
When she called the city, a clerk told her someone reported her for not having a food permit to sell the tamales.
“I don’t understand because if anything I would have rather them come to me first if they had any concerns,” said Cruz.
Carrollton Environmental Services said it takes food borne illnesses very seriously.
A director said a fine was issued and not a warning because tamales are considered “potentially hazardous food” due to the cooked corn and meat being used.
“What if somebody got sick from them? What if somebody could have died from them? And I completely understand those concerns,” said Cruz.
But she feels the city’s actions are a little extreme.
“I’ve seen so many people doing it. And unfortunately it’s me who’s having to deal with it,” said Cruz. “I’d just rather stay away from that at the moment, making tamales.”
Cruz said the fine would be $617, but because she wants to fight it in court it is $700.
These days, you have to have the government’s permission to do pretty much anything. The government’s ostensible motive is to protect people. In this case, they say they’re concerned about food-borne illnesses with Cruz’s tamales. As if having a government-issued permit would magically sanitize all the food she produces. Salmonella, E. coli, and other bacteria still find a way to poison food, even if that food was produced by a government-permitted business.
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