Support the 'Chili Bill'
If you want to know everything there is to know about chili, there is one definitive source — the International Chili Society (ICS) in San Juan Capistrano, Calif. The ICS sanctions more than 200 chili cook-offs in seven countries. Events support tourism, bring neighbors together and raise millions.
Vickie Marnick, ICS administrator, told us that several states have such strict health safety laws that it is almost impossible to host local events. In Minnesota, chili or soup must be prepared on-site and adhere to many of the same rules as commercial kitchens.
At the Brainerd Lakes Chamber, our annual Crosslake Chili Cook-off has lost about half its business entries because of enforcement of these rules. During slow tourism months, that really browns our beef.
We have no doubt that health officials are doing their jobs, but we believe the rules are overreaching. Marnick couldn’t recall a time when a person became sick or hospitalized from eating homemade contest chili. We searched for an example online and couldn’t find one, either.
So, here we are in the 2014 legislative session and Sen. Carrie Ruud and Rep. Joe Radinovich have authored a common-sense bill to relax the rules and save our collective beans. The bill is likely to pass the Legislature but may be at risk of being vetoed by Gov. Mark Dayton.
The Chamber’s position is that the “Chili Bill” doesn’t eliminate food safety. It eliminates a barrier to commerce and community traditions.
Granted, is this an international crisis? Probably not (unless you ask the ICS). But this is a moment that peppering our governor with messages really does make a difference.
Call 651-201-3400 or visit mn.gov/governor and click “Contact Us” to offer support for Bill SF2060.
CEO Brainerd Lakes Chamber
Director Crosslake Chamber