Patterico's Pontifications

12/23/2020

Getting Big Government Out of Your Cherry Pie

Filed under: General — JVW @ 7:46 am



[guest post by JVW]

And no, that’s not some euphemism for a teenage boy’s lurid fantasies. Big government quite literally regulates frozen cherry pies, and at long last those of us who love that savory treat might be due for some relief. Former FDA head Scott Gottlieb has announced that these regulations, enacted a half-century ago, may finally be repealed. The folks at Reason have the mind-boggling details:

[. . .] In 1971, the FDA established regulations imposing particular standards for frozen cherry pies. The lengthy regulations (read them here) determine not just how much of the pie must be made of cherries (25 percent by weight) and how many of the cherries may be “blemished,” or have scabs, or be of less than stellar quality (under 15 percent, even though pies are a great place to put blemished fruit to keep it from going to waste), but also establishes complicated rules for determining compliance.

While the FDA has been granted the power by Congress to regulate frozen foods and fruits, including pies, it’s very important to explain that these regulations were only implemented for cherry pies. There are no other similar regulations for other types of fruit pies. And there are no similar regulations for fresh pies to control the number and quality of the cherries in them. Just frozen pies, and only the cherry ones.

[. . .]

The [FDA] also notes that the regulations forbid the use of artificial sweeteners in unbaked frozen cherry pies, and only those pies and no other types of pies (including unfrozen cherry pies). So the feds are forbidding bakers from creating lower-sugar options, even if that’s what consumers are asking for.

But then later on in the report comes the punchline, showing you just how efficiently and adroitly our federal bureaucracy moves [bolded emphasis added]:

What’s amazing about all of this, and very relevant given all the horrible foot-dragging we’ve seen from the FDA in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, is that the petition from the ABA was submitted to the FDA in 2005. It has taken 15 years and an FDA head who was actually interested in deregulation to get rid of an obsolete rule that didn’t really serve any valuable role in protecting consumers.

There was of course a great deal to lament about the Donald Trump Administration, but we can celebrate the fact that at the end of the day they did generally operate from a predilection for deregulation and a curbing of arbitrary bureaucratic powers. Reason ties in the FDA’s reluctance to loosen restrictions on frozen cherry pies to the department’s foot-dragging on COVID-19 vaccines and testing kits. As we watch Joe Biden staff his cabinet with fellow Washington-lifers and pro-regulation ideologues, we can expect newly-empowered bureaucrats to redouble efforts to stifle innovation and micromanage businesses, all in the name of safety and social justice. It’s even quite possible that the removal of the cherry pie regulations, which cannot take place until after a 90-day public review period and therefore would officially be finalized in the early days of a Biden Administration, could be cast aside by the Washington-knows-best crowd that we expect to seize the reins of power. So it may yet be a long time before cherry pie supplants apple pie as the emblem of American freedom.

– JVW

45 Responses to “Getting Big Government Out of Your Cherry Pie”

  1. First they allow more than 15% bruised fruit in frozen cherry pies, and the next thing you know we’re all eating horsemeat mixed in with our hamburger. That appears to be the general tenor of the progressive reaction to Dr. Gottlieb’s tweet.

    JVW (30a532)

  2. Won’t someone think about the children?

    Hoi Polloi (139bf6)

  3. Washington, California and Oregon are the primary sweet cherry producing states, accounting for almost 90 percent of the quantity produced nationwide.

    California and Oregon went Republican in 1968 and all three in 1972. Now, they’re all three Democrat. I don’t expect the regulation to be repealed under Biden.

    nk (1d9030)

  4. Interesting observation, nk. Do you think Big Cherry is behind this silly regulation?

    I confess that I do love cherries, and I have a special place in my heart for those from Washington State.

    JVW (30a532)

  5. She’s a young girl and cannot leave her mother. Take that Billy boy. The rules on cherry pies were onerous for young Billy 250 years ago.

    steveg (43b7a5)

  6. I blame Big Apple for the cherry’s burden, since apple gets a larger slice of the market.

    felipe (630e0b)

  7. I’m pretty sure, JVW. The quantity regulation, undoubtedly. As for the quality regulation, I’m guessing that the wastage on top of shipping would be costlier with imported cherries.

    As for Washington State, I avoid buying any fruits or vegetables from there since they legalized composting humans for fertilizer. Gives new meaning to “Gee, grandma sure makes the best apple-pie!”, if you know what I mean.

    nk (1d9030)

  8. It’s kinda easy to sit back and laugh that Trump’s proven a lot of his critics right, the critics have to bear in mind Trump supporters have a lot of reason to completely distrust anything. It’s ridiculous that the government is worried about this. The country feels like a maze of decks stacked against hard working suckers who paid their debts and struggle to figure out health insurance. Every day a new victim/winner is announced, and it’s just a cynical world.

    At least we have pie though.

    Dustin (4237e0)

  9. The country feels like a maze of decks stacked against hard working suckers who paid their debts and struggle to figure out health insurance.

    Yes. And not one of the desks accountable, with civil service and public employee unions mutually insulating both them and “our” elected officials from political costs.

    nk (1d9030)

  10. Public employee unions are a great example of something that sounds great to the working stiff, then turns out to keep things screwed up as long as possible for almost precisely the worst reasons. All of these protections and immunities seem intuitively fair to the honest person who doesn’t see the big picture, but I think simple insurance policies, with rates set based on the factors that actually matter, paid by the working stiff, would do the protecting better (and probably address injustices a little bit better).

    As far as pie goes, I’d buy JVW’s blemished cherry pies with 20% cherries and 5% monkfruit because they are also alcoholic.

    Dustin (4237e0)

  11. I think de-regulation could be a key theme to re-focus the Congressional GOP and pick off some Democratic support in red-leaning states. The story I like best about regulation is the one from George McGovern. Of course, McGovern was a well-known political liberal from South Dakota who helped create many regulatory bodies and passed many business regulations. He retired from politics in 1981 and after working the lecture circuit bought an inn in 1988 in Connecticut. Long story short, McGovern’s inn went bankrupt a few years later and the liberal lion had some epiphanies about government regulation of businesses and he penned a famous 1992 Wall Street Journal op-ed.

    Excerpts: “…I also wish that during the years I was in public office, I had had this firsthand experience about the difficulties business people face every day. That knowledge would have made me a better U.S. senator and a more understanding presidential contender…..We intuitively know that to create job opportunities we need entrepreneurs who will risk their capital against an expected payoff. Too often, however, public policy does not consider whether we are choking off those opportunities…..Can we make consumers pay the higher prices for the increased operating costs that accompany public regulation and government reporting requirements with reams of red tape.’ It is a simple concern that is nonetheless often ignored by legislators…..I’ve also witnessed firsthand the explosion in blame-shifting and scapegoating for every negative experience in life. Today, despite bankruptcy, we are still dealing with litigation from individuals who fell in or near our restaurant…..In short, “one-size-fits-all” rules for business ignore the reality of the market place. And setting thresholds for regulatory guidelines at artificial levels–e.g., 50 employees or more, $500,000 in sales–takes no account of other realities, such as profit margins, labor intensive vs. capital intensive businesses, and local market economics.” There’s also some good stuff in there about him providing health coverage for his employees.

    Obviously not all regulation is bad…the housing collapse showed this….but this should be a continuous struggle for government to devolve regulations to states….and states to localities to avoid the one-size-fits-all problem that McGovern discovered late in life. Conservatives should use real-life stories to kick-start an agenda that speaks meaningfully to middle-class voters. The administration did some good here, but they failed to broaden the narrative and push for bigger change. Maybe new leadership can refocus efforts….

    AJ_Liberty (ec7f74)

  12. For another perspective you can read this article from a leftist fever swamp

    https://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2020/12/the-final-defeat-of-neoliberalism

    It strikes me that making sure a “cherry pie” is actually full of cherries and not something else, and that the cherries aren’t rotten is a reasonable role for government.

    And as noted, once sold, you can do whatever you want with your “Cherry pie”, including smothering it under heaps of rotting cherries.

    Victor (a225f9)

  13. It strikes me that making sure a “cherry pie” is actually full of cherries and not something else, and that the cherries aren’t rotten is a reasonable role for government.

    Because governments work for free.

    “I aimed at the public’s heart and by accident I hit it in the stomach”. — Upton Sinclair, on the Pure Food and Drugs Act of 1906.

    nk (1d9030)

  14. Public employee unions are a great example of something that sounds great to the working stiff….
    Republicans should kick unions while they are down. As a long term goal they should advocate for the repeal of Taft-Hartley and the Wagner Acts, thereby making unions illegal. Unions are the reason whole industries have fled overseas.

    Rip Murdock (d2a2a8)

  15. Man, that Omnibus spending bill (generally a bad idea) that had all of that foreign aid pork that those liberal dems put in there for the deep state and stuff…

    Small thing, they are literally the exact amounts submitted for foreign aid by the Trump Administration earlier this year. So maybe Trump should remind Trump what Trump wants/or doesn’t want right now, I mean now, no…now.

    Colonel Klink (Ret) (1367c0)

  16. “ On Monday, Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) taking heed of Joe Biden’s public pronouncements indicating he would rejoin the Paris Agreement and rejoin the Iran nuclear deal, sent a letter to President Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that would head Biden off at the pass, asking Trump to submit the deals as treaties, thus forcing any such actions by Biden to be submitted to the Senate for approval.

    Cruz noted, “Multiple previous administrations … have undermined the Senate’s constitutional role by negotiating significant international agreements and then refusing to submit them to the Senate for its advice and consent. Most recently — and most egregiously —President Obama refused to submit either the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (the ‘Iran Deal’), or the United Nations Paris Climate Agreement (the ‘Paris Agreement’) to the Senate as a treaty.”

    https://www.dailywire.com/news/cruz-letter-iran-deal-paris-climate-accords
    _

    harkin (8fadc8)

  17. “ we can expect newly-empowered bureaucrats to redouble efforts to stifle innovation and micromanage businesses, all in the name of safety and social justice.”
    __

    Since Democrats have declared Climate Change the greatest danger to the planet (even worse than Covid, white people and free speech), how should we react if they declare that Covid lockdowns need to transition to climate lockdowns?
    _

    harkin (8fadc8)

  18. It strikes me that making sure a “cherry pie” is actually full of cherries and not something else, and that the cherries aren’t rotten is a reasonable role for government.

    So, do we need to call ballots “cherry pie” to do some serious voter ID?

    beer ‘n pretzels (042d67)

  19. The best thing about clearing the orange fog out of the White House twenty-eight days from now will be that the country will again start to see how much Democrats suck. The very best, greatest, yugest thing.

    nk (1d9030)

  20. It strikes me that making sure a “cherry pie” is actually full of cherries and not something else, and that the cherries aren’t rotten is a reasonable role for government.

    The Reason article anticipates that argument and points out that there are 20 different vendors who offer a frozen cherry pie for sale. If one of them decides to cut corners either in the name of offering a bargain-basement product or in the name of increasing their bottom line, it stands to reason (pardon the pun) that connoisseurs of the delicacy (like me) will find a better-quality product.

    JVW (30a532)

  21. As for Washington State, I avoid buying any fruits or vegetables from there since they legalized composting humans for fertilizer. Gives new meaning to “Gee, grandma sure makes the best apple-pie!”, if you know what I mean.

    I forgot about that. Hopefully my favorite orchards in the Evergreen State are avoiding using that sort of fertilizer. I’ll convince myself that this is the case until proven wrong.

    JVW (30a532)

  22. First they allow more than 15% bruised fruit in frozen cherry pies, and the next thing you know we’re all eating horsemeat mixed in with our hamburger.

    Way back when (70s), when we were in college at New Mexico State University, we ate at a little hole in the wall diner that had the best Enchiladas. NM enchiladas at their best, pancake style, Hatch sauce, and a fried egg on top. They got shit down a couple of times for serving horse meat. Not because it was horse meat but because it wasn’t inspected horse meat. We still ate there. The enchiladas were worth it.

    [Comment fished out of moderation. I’m guessing that Marci’s description of what happened to the restaurant in Las Cruces was a typo, albeit a hilarious one. – JVW]

    Marci (6df5cc)

  23. The cherry pie regulation appears to stem from the FDA’s authority to regulate food labeling.

    Somebody must have lobbied for it back in 1971, maybe to minimize competition. It would interesting to get the full story.

    Regulations enacted in the previous six months can be repealed by act of Congress under the Congressional Review Act or CRA (this is another one of those pieces of legislation that affects rules of Congress – it must be brought to a vote)

    Of course it requires majorities in both houses and a signature by the president (or veto override) to be effective.

    It wasn’t used much before 2017. It would mostly be tried when the presidency changes hands.

    A new president’s appointees could also pass a new rule but that takes along time and is subject to challenge in court about following the Administrative Procedures Act.

    Sammy Finkelman (081278)

  24. Is joke from Latvia. I tell now. Here is joke:
    — How is cocktail waitresses from Greenwich Village become multi-millionaire in year and a half?
    — Win Democratic primary for Congress.

    nk (1d9030)

  25. The Washington State law only became effective this past May.

    And the human composting in Washington Sate would not be done on a commercial scale. This is for gardeners who make their own compost, or maybe cemeteries who might want to offer that service.

    Sammy Finkelman (081278)

  26. It can only be done commercially by properly equipped crematoriums, Sammy. They cannot compost grandma in their backyard. What the crematoriums do with the compost, whether they give it to the family to spread on the roses or whether they sell it to a fertilizer company, I did not have enough stomach left to inquire.

    nk (1d9030)

  27. 15. The Covid relief bill had the conotents of several other bills incorporated in it.

    The largest or most notable amounts of foreign aid (I’m working from a New York Post article) appear to be:

    1. $700 million for Sudan. This appears to be part of a peace agreement negotiated by Jared Kushner. Sudan agrees to recognize Israel, and is taken off the list of states that sponsor terrorism, agrees to pay compensation for its share of the responsibility for the 1998 embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania and the United States gives Sudan the money to pay settlements.

    A sticking point is that some lawyers want more – they want to give foreign citizens who have since become American citizens the same amount of compensation reserved for American citizens at the time,

    And there are people who want to sue Sudan for its role in 9/11 because Sudan harbored Osama bin Laden till 1996.

    2. $500 million in military aid to Israel, which must be spent in the United States to, among other things, make it easier for Israel to purchase more (Iron Dome) anti-missile defense. Part of the idea is that this could help avoid a wider war.

    3. $453 million for Ukraine to defend against or fight Russia. Part of the idea is that maybe Russia will then give up.

    4. $250 million, spread over five years, to the Palestinian Authority in economic aid. Part of the idea is, I guess, that this maybe could bribe them to make peace. At least maybe if they can get Saudi Arabia to stop exerting its influence in the other direction.

    5. $101 million to combat international wildlife poaching. (save the elephants!)

    6. $45 million to Central American attorneys general to fight corruption.

    7. $33 million for “democracy programs” in Venezuela. Not sure what that is.

    8. $10 million to help women in Pakistan get an education and start businesses. Obviously just a drop in the bucket, but it shows where your heart is.

    Sammy Finkelman (081278)

  28. [Comment fished out of moderation. I’m guessing that Marci’s description of what happened to the restaurant in Las Cruces was a typo, albeit a hilarious one. – JVW]

    Lol. Oh the tiny phone screen strikes again. Yes, pure typo. Probably not too far off the mark. I was more worried about the cockroaches than the horse meat so I’m sure some of that other “stuff” was about. Amazing what you’ll do in colllege. But man, I do remember those enchiladas being great. Most likely I’d gag today. Lol

    Marci (405d43)

  29. I’ve never eaten a cherry pie in my life. When I was a boy, my grandmother was a baker. That’s what she did, she baked. Anytime you went to her house, there were all these cakes, pies and candies. It was a young boy’s dream!

    My favorites were coconut cream and cinnamon apple. She also baked pecan, lemon and chocolate pies. All sorts of cakes. Nacogdoches was the best, very chocolate, super rich. And then there were these candies. She would mix coconut, sugar and ground walnuts, form little balls then dip them into melted chocolate. Talk about delicious.

    I remember this one day when I was teaching junior high. I went into the conference room, and there were these five female teachers eating chocolate cake. They offered me some, but I told them that’s not real chocolate cake. It’s some cheap store bought recipe. My grandmother makes the best chocolate cake in the world. They laughed, saying “You’re just saying that because she’s your grandmother.”

    Okay. This was on a Friday. I went home and called my grandmother. If I drive up to San Antonio, could you make a Nacogdoches cake? She said sure, so I drove up there. It was simple really, a weekend at the grandparents’ house, a homemade cake, and a drive back home.

    I walked into the conference room, and there were those same five ladies. I said, “This is real chocolate cake.” I warned them that it was super rich, that they should only eat tiny squares.

    But they were like pigs at a trough. They devoured the entire cake in like 30 minutes. Then they were wandering around on a sugar high, unable to teach their classes. I warned them, but they didn’t listen.

    Women and chocolate cake, it’s a recipe for disaster.

    Gawain's Ghost (b25cd1)

  30. nk @@6. I would expect that if they do a composting there won’t be a burial, but I don’t think this could be used as fertilizer, outside of a private garden.

    https://ecology.wa.gov/Waste-Toxics/Reducing-recycling-waste/Organic-materials/Managing-organics-compost

    Compost can be used in landscaping, new construction, and roadside applications. In Washington, there are best management practices for using compost when soil is disturbed on developed land.

    Sammy Finkelman (081278)

  31. I’ve eaten cherry pie, but only from a bakery or a packaged product.

    Sammy Finkelman (081278)

  32. Flashback 1985-
    Fine Print for U.S. Fruitcakes

    The Pentagon, which has been accused of cooking up sweet deals for defense contractors, has drafted 18 pages of specifications for the traditional holiday fruitcake.

    In place of Grandma’s recipe, Military Specification MIL-F-1499F calls for candied orange peel “thoroughly deragged and processed with sugar and corn syrup to not less than 72 percent soluble solids.”

    Fruitcake batter should “consist of equal parts by weight of cake batter specified in Table I, and fruit and nut blend specified in Table II blended in such a manner as to meet the requirements of specification number 3.5.”

    For testing, the cooled cake, “bisected” horizontally or vertically with a sharp knife, “shall not crumble nor show any compression streaks, gummy centers, soggy areas, be excessively dry or overprocessed and display an even grain structure throughout.”

    The product is what Sen. Sam Nunn (D-Ga.) calls the “Cost-Is-No-Object Fruitcake.” ……
    ……
    The specifications, written by the Army’s Research, Development and Engineering Command, are intended to assure quality production of the holiday treats baked by private companies for U.S. troops stationed abroad, Pentagon officials said. Twelve tons of fruitcake were produced for troops overseas this season under competitive contracts averaging $1.51 per pound.

    “Any specification like this is written to the nth degree to try to preclude any contractor from cutting corners,” said Harvey Keene, a spokesman for the center in Natick, Mass.

    The baking tips for companies that produce fruitcakes for far-flung U.S. troops include instructions to soak raisins “as necessary to prevent clumping,” to dice candied pineapple in quarter-inch chunks, and to use nuts of “the latest crop” and shortening with the “stability of not less than 100 hours.”

    Flavoring, according to the Pentagon’s taste, “shall be pure or artificial vanilla in such quantities that its presence shall be organoleptically detected.” (That means enough to taste or smell.)
    ……
    The fruitcake specifications, which make a virtue of Julia Child’s edict to “get to know your food,” prescribe every step short of naming who gets to lick the bowl.
    ……

    Rip Murdock (d2a2a8)

  33. Aren’t a lot of regulations about product content the result of lobbying by the producers? I would be surprised if cherry growers did not have significant input in starting these rules and maintaining them; all in the public interest, of course. I am thinking of the USDA food pyramid that was clearly a marketing tool of the dairy industry for years.

    Fred (92cd93)

  34. GG,

    Did she make it as a sheet cake or a layer cake?

    DRJ (aede82)

  35. GG,

    Thanks for a gut-busting laugh about the chocolate cake!

    I wish there were some computer program I could use to retrieve all of your comments, and make a book out of them. You are a such an entertaining writer.

    norcal (b4d7b1)

  36. But they were like pigs at a trough. They devoured the entire cake in like 30 minutes. Then they were wandering around on a sugar high, unable to teach their classes. I warned them, but they didn’t listen.

    Women and chocolate cake, it’s a recipe for disaster.

    Lol. Never come between a woman and her chocolate.

    Dana (cc9481)

  37. I would be surprised if cherry growers did not have significant input in starting these rules and maintaining them;

    I think industry leaders sometimes provide bureaucrats and legislators with advice for regulating their industry, in ways that disadvantage smaller competitors or startups more than the big companies.

    Radegunda (b6cc34)

  38. It’s ridiculous that the government is worried about this.

    Except it’s not. Dated a woman back in the day who worked at ‘assembling’ Mrs. Smith’s Frozen Pies- the cherry ones and others. You don’t want to know what can get into them. Regardless of price, she’d never buy them for us to eat.

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  39. DCSCA,

    A regulation against non-food in food seems a lot different from this issue. A lot of anti-competitive regulation is justified by fear of ‘you just don’t get it’. Why not just regulate that actual scary stuff then?

    Because there’s no real power there.

    Dustin (4237e0)

  40. Now if they could just regulate the number of lies in any political argument.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  41. Among the more charming childhood memories of my late great-grandmother was a dinner we had back in 1968 and homemade apple butter was served to us kids, which had been a treat for years, on some rolls and muffins. As we munched away my great grandmother exclaimed to her daughter, my grandmother, with delight, ‘Oh my dear, this batch came out so well- there’s hardly any bugs in it!”

    We kids stopped eating in mid-bite, wide-eyed.

    What? Bugs?

    “Why yes, you don’t think we’d get all the bugs and gnats out of this when we make it, did you?”

    From that evening in 1968 on– homemade apple butter was never eaten by any of us again.

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  42. What’s interesting is that you can probably get away with having a small amount of bugs and other crap in a pie today. You just can’t have blemished cherries or Splenda in them.

    Also, why do they have unpitted cherries in cans? What use is there for that product?

    Dustin (4237e0)

  43. You just can’t have blemished cherries or Splenda in them.

    Splenda gives people the runs; bruised cherries are damaged goods.

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  44. Splenda gives people the runs; bruised cherries are damaged goods.

    DCSCA (f4c5e5) — 12/23/2020 @ 3:48 pm

    Come on man. You know the meat at Taco Bell, let alone the artificial sweeteners and ingredients, are a bazillion times worse than a bruised cherry baked into a pie. If this nanny state really was doing you a favor, it makes no sense that we are given any choices. It’s about the power to pick winners and squeeze out upstarts.

    Dustin (4237e0)

  45. My grandmother on moms side made great pies, including cherry. She was a fantastic cook as well.
    My mom couldn’t boil water, but she would boil ground chuck and then toss on a can of semi heated soup and call it a casserole. She’d also defrost the freezer and put everything into a crock pot (worst invention ever from our point of view at the time) and mixed it together and called it goulash. I got the belt for throwing up the goulash… as if it was an act of willful disobedience… then I realized I was the only one of us kids that ate it.

    Ah. The holidays have so many great memories… Maybe this year I’ll give mom a new can opener

    steveg (43b7a5)


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