BALLSTON SPA — On July 27 a state health inspector shut down seven-year-old Brendan Mulvaney’s lemonade stand outside his home in Ballston Spa. Mulvaney sells lemonade, water and sno-cowns to those attending the Saratoga County Fair since he neighbors the fairgrounds. Mulvaney was saving money for a family trip to Disney World.
According to Sen. Jim Tedisco, who drafted new legislation to keep child-run lemonade stands open in New York, the state Health Inspector triedtaking a picture of Mulvaney and his sign selling lemonade. Mulvaney was forced to stop selling lemonade and was told he needed a permit or else he would be fined. Since the incident the New York Department of Health (DOH) has issued an apology on July 29 and stated that the “agency does not inspect children’s lemonade stands” and that the DOH “does not issue permits for or oversee lemonade stands.” However, the DOH has since retracted that statement and said that Mulvaney needs a permit.
In a dramatic turn of events, by July 31, Governor Cuomo personally issued an apology to the Mulvaney family and stated, “Today I directed the Department ofHealthtoreacharesolutionwith the Mulvaney family to ensure that Brendan’s Lemonade Stand can continue to operate. If a permit is needed, I will personally pay for any necessary fees. We support Brendan’s entrepreneurial spirit and wish him the best of luck.”
According to state regulations a “temporary food service establishment” is a place where food is prepared or handled and served to the public, with or without charge, and which operates at a fixed location in conjunction with a single event or celebration of not more than 14 consecutive days duration. It also states that a temporary food service establishment shall obtain and display a valid permit from an issuing official authorized by the State Commissioner of Health.
“Based on that directive that the governor issued, we had a thoughtful conversation with Mr. Mulvaney, during that call we clarified was does and does not require a permit by department practice. Mr. Mulvaney indicated that his son wishes to sell lemonade only and we told him if that’s the case then no permit would be required,” said Gary Holmes, a spokesperson for the DOH.
“As part of this overall discussion, we spoke in Senator Tedsico’s office as well... What made this situation unique is that we arrived at the lemonade stand at the request of four permanent vendors inside the fair, and when we arrived at that location we did not see children present, we interacted with an adult and we were of the opinion that the set up was very much inline with what the vendors who were on permit were doing,” he added.
It is not out of the ordinary for the DOH to attend county fairs. The DOH inspects fairgrounds and requires permits to ensure public health and to protect the public from potential food born illnesses.
Tedisco’s bill would exempt children who operate pop-up lemonade stands under adult supervision from having to obtain and pay for any state permits.