May 10, 2018 06:32 PM
A Minneapolis indoor market has been shut down by the city for not having the required food license.
The city served a search warrant at Uptown Locavore last week, and the business is currently closed.
It is located on Hennepin Avenue in Uptown. And it's called an indoor farmers market by owner Will Winter.
"You want to get fresh farm food, I hook you up with the farmer," he said.
But now all of Winter's food has red "held for investigation" warnings on it.
"Everything in here is locked up," he said. "It would be a crime if I peeled off any of that tape."
Details in the search warrant show the Minneapolis Health Department has concerns. Among them "distributing raw, unpasteurized milk and un-inspected beef."
"We know that raw milk can contain some really dangerous organisms," said Gretchen Musicant, Commissioner of Health for the City of Minneapolis.
The warrant goes on to say Uptown Locavore "does not have a grocery or food-related business license."
"The Minnesota law says that you can purchase raw milk, but it has to be right from the farmer," Musicant said. "And so when it enters stores, it enters a different legal venue."
But Winter disagrees, stressing his business is not a grocery store, but instead a private buying club with a required membership allowing them to sell certain foods from up to 50 different farmers that would technically be legal in commercial outlets.
"The reason this is legal is it's a private transaction between consenting adults," Winter said.
Yet Musicant points out why these products need oversight.
"We know that in 2013 in Minneapolis, we had 22 people who got sick from eating cheese that was made from unpasteurized raw milk," Musicant said.
But Winter said that hasn't been the case at Uptown Locavore.
"Never a complaint, never made anyone sick, never had any questions about our food," Winter said.
For now, though, business is on hold while the investigation continues.
"It's springtime and we have all this great food coming," Winter said. "And we can't let people in that door."
The city says its now preparing an inspection report.
As for the food, it's currently under a health embargo. And depending on the outcome of the investigation, it could end up being returned to the farms that produced it.
Updated: May 10, 2018 06:32 PM
Created: May 10, 2018 03:51 PM
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