Lemonade stand squeezed by permit cost
The Edmonds Kiwanis Club had to squelch plans for a lemonade stand fundraiser over the Fourth of July weekend due to a change in Washington state’s food safety code.
Kiwanis ran the stand last year without a hitch, but were informed by officials from the Snohomish County Health District that a $200 temporary food service permit would be necessary this year.
The permit is required for vendors selling iced drinks at a food event, such as a market or fair.
The code change requires vendors selling “crushed ice drinks” to have a “self-contained machine that makes its own ice,” said Gary Hanada, manager of the county’s Environmental Health Division.
He said the permit would be required because the Kiwanis’ planned to use ice in lemonade that would not be dispensed by this type of machine.
Kiwanis member Chris Williams contacted the county and told them this would shut down a charitable organization.
He said the county was “very cordial” and let him know that it was not their rule, but “rules are rules.”
“By the time the costs are added in and a $200 fee is paid, it simply makes no sense, or cents, to continue the lemonade stand,” Williams said.
Last year, the Kiwanis raised about $570 to support their charitable work, including donating bike helmets, dictionaries and food to disadvantaged kids.
While the Health District cannot change the rule, Hanada said, they are developing a permit category that will require only a small fee and minimal requirements for this type of vendor.
Code revisions related to the fee would have to be reviewed by a Food Advisory Committee and approved by the Board of Health, Hanada said.
Williams said the Health District suggested the Kiwanis sell prepackaged foods, which qualify for a permit exemption.
The Kiwanis could sell commercially packaged popcorn, ice cream bars, candy bars or a number of other prepackaged items.
However, they opted to close the stand, which would have been set up on the front lawn of Williams’ business by City Hall on Fifth Avenue N.
The Kiwanis intended to sell lemonade on July 5 during the Edmonds Summer Market.
Williams said his lawn offered a prime location, but the Kiwanis did not want to offer products that would compete with market vendors or the “natural, local” products sold.
“That seems like it’s violating the integrity of the public market,” Williams said. “It just wouldn’t seem right.”
He said Kiwanis chose to sell lemonade because market vendors were not offering it.
“The Health District is sympathetic toward the Kiwanis’ concerns,” Hanada said.
Sympathies aside, Hanada said limiting bare-hand contact with any food is ideal, as it is one of the leading causes of food borne illness.
Williams said there was no bare-hand contact with any of the items used to make the lemonade. All the ingredients were placed inside a beverage bubbler machine and dispensed into a plastic cup.
Despite efforts to keep the stand going, it has been broken down and the bubbler has been sold.
Williams said Kiwanis is a civic-minded organization, and they will find other creative ways to raise money.
“We’re constantly raising money for something,” Williams said. “That’s what it’s all about.
“We all put our heads together to try to figure out a way to let the lemonade stand live, but alas it died.”
For more information about Edmonds Kiwanis, visit www.snohomishkiwanis.org/edmonds_seniors.htm.
The following foods might qualify for a permit exemption from the Health District:
• Popcorn and flavored popcorn prepared from commercially packaged potentially non-hazardous food ingredients
• Cotton candy
• Dried herbs and spices processed in an approved facility
• Crushed ice drinks containing only non-potentially hazardous food ingredients and dispensed from a self-contained machine that makes its own ice. Drinks with potentially hazardous food, snow cones, and shaved ice are not included
• Corn on the cob prepared for immediate service
• Whole peppers roasted for immediate service
• Roasted nuts, roasted peanuts, and roasted candy-coated nuts
• Chocolate-dipped ice cream bars prepared from prepackaged ice cream bars produced in a food processing plant
• Chocolate-dipped bananas prepared from bananas peeled and frozen in an approved facility
• Individual samples of non-potentially hazardous sliced fruits and vegetables