Need help in Oregon (a request from a Portland Metro resident)
I live in Beaverton, Oregon and need other Oregonians to join me in contacting the Oregon Department of Agriculture to request that we be allowed to purchase raw meat and other "potentially hazardous" foods in our own containers (I am not sure which other foods fall into this category). I have been in dialogue with Daniel Menasche, the Customer Advocate of New Seasons Market, regarding this issue. He, and the rest of the New Seasons Market crew, would LOVE to allow customers to purchase raw meat in their own containers, but they are legally unable to do so. (He was shocked to learn that Whole Foods Market has been allowing this in our area - since WFM is apparently taking a risk in doing so, keep it quiet that they do!!!). The ODA needs to know that there is a desire and a need for the food safety laws to be adapted to allow the use of reusable containers when buying raw meats/poultry/etc from grocery stores. We need many, many voices to combine as a force for change. Here’s the phone number for the Oregon Department of Agriculture's food safety division: 503-986-4720. Please contact them!
[As a side note, you should know that the butcher paper used at New Season's market is definitely not compostable. Daniel says that New Seasons Market is constantly on the lookout for a butcher paper that is both moisture proof and compostable, but have not found an adequate product yet. If anyone knows of an effective product that they may not be aware of, please contact Daniel Menasche (can find his contact info on the New Seasons Website, I believe). In the meantime, Daniel is looking into the possibility of offering their compostable deli counter containers as an alternative to plastic-lined butcher paper at the meat counter, but he would need to add a small sticker with the ODA required "raw meat warning spiel" on it. He is going to look into it and make sure this is indeed legally allowed. Thus, there would be stickers, but the bulk of the packaging would be compostable. Better than the plastic-lined butcher paper, right? At least until we can convince the ODA that customers should be able to purchase raw meat in their own reusable containers.
If you have any questions or comments, I would love to hear them. I have created an email account that you can reach me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
(Sorry, I was wary of putting my general email address on here).