Church’s Pot Luck Dinner Shut Down By Health Department

Mad Cow

9WSYR reported that a church in the small town of New Woodstock, NY had its annual pot luck dinner shut down by the local health department. Because the food to be served at the dinner was prepared in people’s homes, it was coming from “unapproved sources.”

300 people showed up on Saturday night, only to be told to take their food home. Director of Environmental Health for Madison County, Geoffrey Snyder, explained in an email why they nixed the Open Door Baptist Church’s 28th annual wild game dinner.

“A similar wild game dinner held in Oneida County prompted a costly and resource intensive State Health Department and NYSDEC investigation following the determination that illegal wild game infected with Mad Cow Disease was served.”

If the pot luck dinner wasn’t open to the public there would have been no problem. But since the church advertised it as a public event, they were required to comply with public health policy. The pastor of the church said he will work with health officials in planning next year’s event.

I don’t know, shouldn’t free people be able to make the decision as to whether or not they should risk attending an event featuring food from “unapproved sources.” It’s not like they would have been unaware that the food sources were unapproved seeing that it was advertised as a potluck dinner.

Update: Via “M” in the comments below, the incident of the meat a mad-cow infected deer being served in the past was pretty much a non-issue.

A white-tailed deer recently diagnosed with chronic wasting disease was eaten by as many as 350 people at a sportsmen’s dinner last month, a health department official said.

Oneida County officials did not discover the animal was infected with the neurological illness until about two weeks after the Verona Fire Department’s annual Sportsmen’s Feast on March 13. The venison was served as steak, chili, stew, sausage and meat patties.

After the animal was slaughtered, the head was sent to state labs for required testing where the disease was diagnosed.

Ken Fanelli, spokesman for the Oneida County Health Department, said the deer “showed no sign of sickness” when it was donated. He said people who ate the venison do not need to worry about contracting the disease, but urged them to contact state or local health officials.

“There’s no indication whatsoever that the disease has been linked to human illness of any kind,” Fanelli said.

So nobody got sick, nobody died, but I’ll bet they managed to scare the heck out of quite a few people.