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May 7, 2008 09:30 AM

"Doing bacon is illegal" in LA - Drew Carey and black market bacon dogs

No ... it is not a calorie thang ... the beautiful people finally outlawing fat.

However, unless a vendor has special equipment and permits to sell legal bacon, it can land you in jail like one vendor who spent 45 days in the slammer.

Yes, there ARE food police ... "“Bacon is a potentially hazardous food,” says Terrence Powell of the LA County Health Department. "

But the illegal trade continues for those hooked on bacon despite LA's lardon laws ... however, keep an eye out for nearby porta potties should the evidence need to be flushed.

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  1. That Is Terrible!!!!
    Big Brother is live and well in LA.
    If Mr. Powell can point to an outbreak of cases of food born illness caused by bacon dogs perhaps it is justified.
    Trashing the unlicensed vendors carts is a way to protect the licensed vendors So that is alright but reqiring a $27,000 cart to sell hot dogs is ridiculous.

    1. Wow. Bacon is one of the safest foods there is -- I can't imagine a scenario where the bacon would be hazardous and the hot dog itself wouldn't. The only way bacon can be considered "potentially hazardous" is to consider anything that can be ingested "potentially hazardous" -- which technically speaking is true. If people do get sick, it's much more likely to be from the condiments getting cross-contaminated than from the bacon. Using that "potentially hazardous" excuse, they can shut down just about anyone. Can we set up a fund for Ms. Palacias?

      1 Reply
      1. re: Ruth Lafler

        Another fact about bacon is that it's got LESS fat per serving than most anything else we could consider to be fatty. That's because a serving of bacon is a few slices, which don't add up to much weight. Cheese, for example, has much more fat than bacon.

      2. Does anybody know or have a link to some info on why bacon, a cured and smoked meat product that is served fully cooked, is considered a potentially hazardous food? I have never, ever heard of anyone, under any circumstance gettin sick from eating bacon. I would like to see a better explanation of what this new, expensive cart offers - is it refrigeration? Better cleansing of utensils? Couldn't those things be replicated for something less than $27,000?

        Edit: I just read the LA Weekly article that the Drew Carrey Project site links, and it explains that what is illegal, apparently, is grilling. Hot dogs must be boiled or steamed and cannot be grilled, which of course, bacon dogs require. But that just brings up more questions - what's in the $27,000 cart that makes it legal to grill, and does that mean that every single knish, souvlaki and sabrett dog cart in NYC is susceptible to the same problems as grilling carts in LA are?

        I guess I can't help but feel that in this wonderful country of ours, there has got to be good rhyme and reason for imposing and enforcing such extreme freedom-limiting dictates. You’ll take my pork bellies when you pry them from my cold dead fingers!

        1. I think the thing is, too many of the "carts" are simply a wire mail-room type cart with a sheet pan on top/sterno cans underneath, not an actual grill. I really don't think that anything is cooked to a safe temperature here. No refrigeration, maybe an ice chest rolled alongside but not always. Who knows how long the dogs and bacon have been sitting in "the danger zone", especially on a hot Santa Ana day.

          8 Replies
          1. re: ErikaK

            Did you see the story? That wasn't the kind of set-up they were referring to. And wouldn't having a hot food under the hot sun help it stay hot? Isn't that better than having it on a grill on a cool day where it's more likely to drop into the "warm" danger zone?

            1. re: Ruth Lafler

              In a time when budget concerns cause school programs to be cut in California and cities like Vallejo to go bankrupt and cut police salaries ... one wonders why someone like Mr. Powell is being paid to hurt vendors in business for more than 20 years without ONE single health violation. As a result of Mr. Powell's harrasment, Ms. Palacias stands to lose not only her business but her home.

              People always look at the big items like education or health care for the least helpless in our society. Maybe someone should spend some time making cuts in the budget for absurties like this. I volunteer my time. Give me a call Arnold.

              1. re: Ruth Lafler

                I think the grill that they threw in the garbage was a modified shopping cart that people use to get groceries home, but grilling in Ms. Palacias' cart would be just as illegal since it doesn't seem to meet the grilling standards.

                I had the same reaction as Ruth Lafler had above, and I couldn't find any link to a fund for her.

                1. re: Ruth Lafler

                  "wouldn't ... hot food under the hot sun help it stay hot?"

                  Yes, but not enough! and grills on cool days should cook/keep it hot enough if they're working properly. I wonder why they don't just wrap cooked-but-still-limp bacon around steamed dogs and cook it on a flat-top however it's powered (I can't believe they're using sterno, that would be wayyy too expensive) until the bacon is crisp. I'm sure it would taste the same.

                  Seems to me the real issue is sufficiency of proper equipment: cold-holding for uncooked food, cooking equipment to ensure proper doneness, hot-holding for cooked food until it's served and consumed, not to mention hand-washing and other sanitary facilities for the food-handler. If it's all there what's the problem, if it's not then there may be a risk that health professionals have to address.

                  1. re: hsk

                    I think you hit the nail on the head, hks. As much as I adore these 'dogs, I'm the first to admit they aren't very sanitary, nor is the prepping environs.

                    1. re: hsk

                      My point was that whether it was under the hot sun was irrelevant if the issue is them being hot enough. Being under the hot sun isn't going to make them hot enough, but it certainly isn't going to make them *less* hot!

                      1. re: Ruth Lafler

                        Perhaps there are more airborne pathogens on hot days? Or that there are more animals around on hot days?

                  2. re: ErikaK

                    That makes no sense. If your scenario is true then why just bacon?? Everything would have to be considered hazardous.


                  3. I'm so sorry. I'm usually very open. And in general I haven't a bigoted bone in my body.

                    All that said, sometimes I wonder if California and LA in particular is where all the nuts go to roost. :)

                    Ok, you can pelt me with bacon now for saying that, but every so often you hear a story like this one and you just say wow, they are just so far out there out there!

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: HarryK

                      I don't think it's just LA. I'm sure every city has it's bizzare laws that are probably based more a couple peoples fears than anything factual.
                      Be it food related or otherwise.