Can we can?

May 4, 2013 | 15 comments
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There’s a flurry of facebook posts flying today, based on discussions at right wing survival websites about an alleged decision by the LDS church to stop canning in the Eastern part of the United States, due to excessive government regulation. Has anyone heard about this?

Can we still can?

15 Responses to Can we can?

  1. queuno on May 4, 2013 at 9:07 pm

    They are probably closing down the less productive canneries. Suddenly, this is a conspiracy theory?

  2. Rob Perkins on May 4, 2013 at 9:16 pm

    If they close, it will be because buying canned goods are a better use of funds than canning with volunteers. And I’d wager (were I a bettin’ man) that it has more to do with insurance than excessive government regulation.

  3. Shawn on May 4, 2013 at 9:30 pm

    Yes, and it has a number of conspiracy nuts, and prepper gurus upset.

    I can’t quantify if it is every cannery in the East, (and what line determines “east”) or just selected canneries that were built to specifications that no longer comply with new FDA regulations.

    I would not entertain any notion proffered by some zealots and extremists who are capitalizing on this, to push their own agendas.

    See http://www.bishops-storehouse.org/cannery for the announcement from the Worcester, MA Cannery.

  4. Jenn on May 4, 2013 at 10:00 pm

    For whatever it’s worth, that site from bishops-storehouse.org isn’t “SANCTIONED OR RUN BY THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER-DAY SAINTS.” So I wouldn’t take it as official church policy for a whole area, but probably just that one cannery.

  5. Cameron N on May 4, 2013 at 10:20 pm

    It happened to my ward in San Diego. The high priest making the announcement seemed quite flustered and upset. I guess we’re so enlightened we have validate someone putting food in a can.

  6. Ardis E. Parshall on May 4, 2013 at 10:45 pm

    This sounds like a slight reworking of the panic of 2011, when the rumors were that the two canneries in Tennessee had been visited bt federal agents seeking names and addresses of people who were using the canneries to stockpile food. That was phoney, of course, and I’d bet the farm this one is, too. Anti-government conspiracists at work — in 2011 it was the tyrannical government wanting to identify and neutralize anyone prepared to outlast government efforts to starve us into submission, and in 2013 it’s evil government regulation overwhelming the forces of righteousness (but apparently only evil government on the East Cast …)

    Who’s spreading the rumors this time? The wicked flee when none pursueth.

  7. Mike Maxwell on May 5, 2013 at 9:29 am

    Seems to be that it is a huge waste of our tithing dollars to be running canneries at all. There are lots of private enterprises that do this much more efficiently.

  8. J. Stapley on May 5, 2013 at 9:00 pm

    A couple of items:

    1. We generally like the FDA and USDA to regulate food production and distribution. Adulteration and food safety are genuine concerns.

    2. It is my understanding that some canneries that engage in certain food processes have chosen to limit production in lieu of modernizing working conditions.

    3. Generally speaking, canneries have never been about efficiency. This is worth a read.

  9. jks on May 6, 2013 at 12:21 am

    Our cannery had to stop a couple of years ago. We were told it was because the government wouldn’t let us do it anymore the way we’d been doing it do to new regulation. We’d all need food handlers permits or something like that that would require members to attend a class. It wasn’t just a simple thing. It is just isn’t practical. THis is in Washington state.
    This isn’t a conspiracy theory. It is just simple laws and regulations and them deciding that it was better to close up shop than to try to force members to take a class and pass a test just to buy a can of beans.

  10. jader3rd on May 6, 2013 at 12:59 am

    I know the cannery near my house in Washington closed up shop due to a regulation that an FDA employee had to be on hand at all times.
    The conspiracy part of the closing was that previously the church got some waiver for the rule because it’s a non-profit. But the waiver wasn’t re-authorized because of the church’s role in Prop 8.

  11. Ardis E. Parshall on May 6, 2013 at 1:11 am

    Why would such (presumably federal) regulations not apply to every cannery in the US, jks? Volunteer workers in the cannery, dairy, and bakery in Salt Lake are not required to take classes or earn permits. I don’t question your accurate reporting of what you were told, only that that can’t be the whole story — maybe somebody’s assumption.

  12. Ardis E. Parshall on May 6, 2013 at 1:28 am

    jader3rd, I don’t question your accurate reporting of what you heard, either, but even minus the conspiracy part, that explanation doesn’t seem plausible, either. Even if there were such a regulation of a constant FDA presence (which I question), closing a plant because of inability or unwillingness to meet it doesn’t make sense: there’s a problem with supposing a business could be closed because a federal agency refused to provide a mandated agent (private enterprise all over the country would scream bloody hell if they were forced out of business because of such a bureaucratic failure beyond the control of the business) — and it makes as little sense to suppose that the Church would close a plant solely because they refused to allow the presence of such an agent: what possible reason could they have for refusing to allow an inspector to do his duty, assuming there were such a law?

    I have no more knowledge of the reasons for closing any canneries that may have been closed than does the man in the moon, but these explanations, however faithfully repeated, smack of uninformed rumor.

  13. Adam G. on May 6, 2013 at 12:08 pm

    Ardis P.,
    I have no knowledge of any actual incident, but a federal agency deciding that a facility needs to have a federal inspector on-site, costs to be paid by the facility, and the facility having to close down if it doesn’t agree, is not unusual. So having to pay the costs of the inspector would be one explanation.
    The other explanation is that regulation can be quite burdensome and many, many regulations are kept more in spirit than in detail. Having an inspector on-site might mean full compliance with a number of technical regulations that the facility perhaps wasn’t even aware of, so rather than get a number of fines–have to revamp the facility–and hire an employee or consultant to address regulatory issues–perhaps you just close down.
    One other thing to keep in mind is that federal agency policy and practice and interpretation of their regulations can vary significantly from region to region. Even a new official taking over an assigned area can make a significant difference in on-the-ground enforcement.

    None of these observations are meant as endorsement of any rumors on Facebook, of which I have no personal knowledge.

  14. jks on May 6, 2013 at 5:22 pm

    Ardis – The law changed in Washington state, not a federal law. States and counties have laws about food and food handling.
    jader3rd and I may not have our details right (you might notice I said “or something like that). But the canneries here were closed because the way they were currently being run was ILLEGAL because of new laws/regulations. In order to be legal, the cannery would have had to change how they did things. Or maybe we had an exemption and no longer have the exemption anymore. Either way, it can no longer legally run.
    Of course SLC and other cities and states have very different laws about food businesses.
    You can say it is all rumor, but we can’t can there anymore at either the wet pack or dry pack canneries. However, we are allowed to buy the food in bulk and take the canning equipment offsite and can it offsite.

  15. Rob Perkins on May 6, 2013 at 8:08 pm

    #14 is super-odd to me. I got a food handler’s permit in WA over 20 years ago; it consisted of a test after reading a short book and boiled down to remembering to wash hands and wear hairnets and such, as well as a review of minimum ages required to operate certain equipment.

    It’s not, at any stretch, a difficult test, and it costs $5/year. Not a burden, since well-to-do members could easily fund 40 of them each.

    So it must be something else that closed those canneries…?

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