Local Chicago ice cream makers may be shut down by the state for silly reasons

From Monica Eng and Chris Borrelli in the Chicago Tribune:

.

“A few years ago, Kris Swanberg, having been laid-off from her job as a Chicago Public School teacher, remembered she received an ice cream maker as a wedding gift. The Chicago mom fished it out of her kitchen cabinet and eventually started a new career.

Today Swanberg’s Nice Cream — on offer at local Whole Foods and farmers markets — is considered a star of Chicago’s rich and beloved artisanal ice cream scene, one that could be shut down entirely by state rules, she recently learned.

She says that a couple of weeks ago a representative from the Illinois Department of Public Health came to Logan Square Kitchen and informed her she’d have to shut down if she did not get something called  “a dairy license.”

Swanberg and others in her field had operated for years now without ever hearing of such a thing and, indeed, they say, the City’s Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection, to whom they applied for business licenses, never informed them they would need one to operate.

To get this license Swanberg wrote, in an email, she would have to:

  1. “Work out of our own space. Currently we work out of the Logan Square Kitchen.”
  2. “Have our product tested once a month for bacterial levels.”
  3. “Change all of our packaging and labels to meet state standards.”
  4. “Purchase a pasteurizer, which from what the state tells me will be about $40,000 or use a pre-made ice cream mix.”

Swanberg says that the IDPH officer who visited told her that her ice cream probably wouldn’t pass the bacteria tests if she continued to use fresh strawberries. Instead the officer suggested she use “strawberry syrup,” Swanberg said.

IDPH spokesperson Melanie Arnold said that it isn’t illegal to use real strawberries but that IDPH “does not encourage it simply because when you try and clean a strawberry to make sure it doesn’t have any bacteria, it kind of deteriorates.”

The department’s Dairy Equipment Specialist, Don Wilding, said that other ice cream producers use irradiated strawberries. He says look good but he can’t vouch for the taste.

Swanberg could continue to work without a license, Wilding said, if she used a premade ice cream mix that is usually formulated with stabilizers and other additives — the kind of thing typically used at Dairy Queens, Wilding noted.

Still, Swanberg feels that using strawberry syrup and a premade soft serve mix might not attract the same customers who buy her product made from fresh organic cream blended with local and often organic produce like basil and strawberries she picks herself….”

Read it all in the Chicago Tribune.

1 Comment

Filed under News

One response to “Local Chicago ice cream makers may be shut down by the state for silly reasons

  1. This is just another way for the government and big business who are sleeping together, to cash in and control. They are pushing commercial foods on us. Just drive thru the Hudson River valley (New York), the next Napa Valley, and see all the GMO corn. All this corn is fed to animals that are raised for their meat for us to eat.

    Milkmen USA

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s