Does this sound like a health claim to you?

If there were a local food movement militia, this would be my uniform.

The longer this process of bringing our Fire Cider to market the more I think we’ll actually need a local food movement militia.  After we celebrated the end of the bureaucratic bullshit, the red tape wrangling, the deciphering of rules and regulations specifically written so that you need your corporate lawyer to interpret them, Dana and I happily began phase two of the Fire Cider project: production and marketing.  The Solid Sound Festival went well, people really liked our labels and had a lot to say about tasting Fire Cider for the first time!

Then we got an email from the man who is ultimately going to send us our whole sale licence.  He said our label isn’t up to regulations.  This is the same guy I called several times and left several messages for, TWO MONTHS AGO.  I also spoke to several other people who work for the FDA.  They told me they couldn’t explain the rules to me but that I could hire a lawyer to read them to me.  I was also informed that it is up to us, the producers, to follow all these hard to interpret rules.  How will I know if I am doing something wrong?  When the FDA sues me and confiscates my product.  Awesome, thanks for the advice.  Right now it kinda seems like the FDA is just trying it’s best to waste our time and money.  Clearly this organization is run by and for big business.

Dana, my brother and myself have spent hours trying to come up with a way to say what we know to be true about our product without making any ‘health claims’.  The FDA, an organization that routinely approves drugs with significant side effects and minimal testing just can’t be sure that a food based product made from a several hundred year old recipe that’s backed by doctors and documented in books is a ‘safe product’. Also, the FDA has no sence of humor, no big surprise there. This excerpt from the email we received about our label, really sums up everything we’ve been dealing with: “The use of the phrase “digestive aid”  on the left side of your label implies a medicinal – or curative property. Also the statement “Fire Cider is much like a large bear on a cold winter night, a large bear that mauls what ails you!” – these are implied claims that the product has curative benefits or properties. ”  SERIOUSLY?  A simile is a health claim?!  A large bear that mauls what ails you is meant to be funny not cure cancer.  Although Fire Cider would probably be good for that but I can’t say for sure.

Making Fire Cider, part two!

Not to worry, we are playing by the rules.  We are changing our label, again. And again.  We’ve come this far and we’ll be announcing soon where and when you can buy Fire Cider in the Berkshires!  Our next event will be July’s Third Thursday at Dottie’s on North Street.  Dana and I will be handing out free samples and selling 8 oz bottles of Fire Cider so please come out and see us, your support makes all the difference!

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