Skip to comments.Potlucks get lucky break from gov (Potluck police defeated)
Posted on 09/25/2004 6:10:38 PM PDT by formercalifornian
You can bring that chicken casserole to your church's potluck dinner and eat it in peace, after all.
Gov. Blagojevich on Friday signed legislation exempting potlucks, a staple of church basements and community centers, from inspection by state and local health officials. "Potluck meals are a long-standing tradition that do not warrant government intrusion," he said.
The law applies to free potlucks on private property sponsored by individuals or nonprofits. Events that charge a fee or are on public property are subject to inspection.
Until now, the question of how potlucks should be regulated was open to interpretation by local health departments, said Tom Schafer, spokesman for the Illinois Department of Public Health, which supported the legislation.
Some health departments don't bat an eye. Others are aggressive and shut down such events. That's what residents say happened with community potlucks in Sen. Dan Rutherford's north-central Illinois district, prompting him to take a good look at the issue. Rutherford (R-Pontiac) sponsored the bill with Rep. Keith Sommer (R-Morton).
Health experts urge people to remember that basic food handling practices still apply at potlucks -- where people often make it a habit to leave food that should be kept warm or cold sitting out for hours.
In 1998, about 45 people ended up in the hospital, apparently victims of food poisoning, after eating a potluck lunch for employees of the University of Illinois at Chicago Medical Center.
Dianne Hoffmann of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Batavia -- which holds frequent potlucks, including an Octoberfest featuring pastor Ron Weidler's homemade sauerkraut -- doesn't think potlucks should be regulated at all.
"People coming to this type of venue know that a number of different families and cooks are providing [food]. That's the understanding of potluck," she said. "I don't think anyone has ever felt uncomfortable or uneasy that it wasn't cooked in a proper manner."
Wow, Here I thought that potlatches were in trouble.
Talk about over-regulation!
Tazewell county here.
Yes. It's kind of absurd.