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What's a Cinco de Mayo party without tamales, menudo? legal celebration

May 11, 2001|By AARON CLAVERIE, Staff Writer

CALEXICO — Hildy Carrillo-Rivera shuddered at the thought of a Cinco de Mayo party without traditional Mexican comida.

"No tamales? Menudo?" asked Carrillo-Rivera, executive director of the Calexico Chamber of Commerce, during Thursday's regular meeting.

Nope.

The county Department of Health and the state of California have been enforcing health code guidelines that make it illegal to prepare food at one location and bring it to another.

"I don't want to make it appear to be a racist issue but a lot of Mexican food requires a lot of preparation and can't be cooked quickly on site," Carrillo-Rivera said.

At issue for the chamber was the turnout for the city's annual Cinco de Mayo party at Rockwood Park.

Carrillo-Rivera said only four vendors showed up to sell food — no tamale or menudo vendors among them.

"We had 15 people signed up to sell food but when they started to put together their booths it became too expensive to meet all of the guidelines," she said.

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Guidelines required for vendors selling food outdoors include: running water for the cleansing of utensils, a floor, a roof and an enclosed area.

That setup makes it illegal for someone to make burritos or tamales at their home and bring the food to the park to sell.

After hearing from Carrillo-Rivera, the chamber members bandied about ideas regarding how vendors could meet all of the guidelines while still providing traditional food at the upcoming Fourth of July party.

The issue will be discussed again at a future chamber meeting.

Staff Writer Aaron Claverie can be reached at 337-3419.

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