Taste police
Restaurant owners are faced with a bevy of new food regulations.
By Chuck Marvin, FSB Magazine

(FSB Magazine) -- AS IF RESTAURATEURS DIDN'T HAVE ENOUGH TO WORRY ABOUT -- paper-thin profit margins, for instance -- they now have to cope with a rash of new regulations. Chicago banned the sale of foie gras after protesters objected to the force-feeding of ducks and geese. New York officials impounded restaurant equipment that cooks food in a slow and delicate style called sous vide, citing health concerns. Regulators nationwide are also cracking down on restaurants that dry-cure sausage and other meats. Some chefs bridle at the rules. "Frankly, we handle safety better than regulators do," says chef and TV personality Mario Batali. But FSB sees plenty more ways bureaucrats could remove any trace of cruelty or risk from the dining experience:

" Ensure that all lobsters be fitted with blindfolds to prevent the emotional anguish of seeing their tank mates boiled.

" Food handlers often wear hairnets to protect patrons. But who says that a diner's hair is any safer than the chef's? Hairnets should be placed on the heads of all restaurant patrons.

" Mandate that all cows be milked by licensed massage therapists to cut down on chafing.

" To reduce the risk of infection from flying spittle, diners should be made to sit facing away from one another while eating. Or better yet, all diners should be required to eat alone.

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