Unnecessary Regulations Strangle Maine’s Economy

Maine’s harsh regulatory climate continues to hinder our state’s economic growth, especially for an Amish man in the small town of Unity.

Matthew Secich, a former sous chef at a renowned Chicago restaurant, left his life in the big city and came to Maine, where he began hand-crafting Amish delicacies like dried meats, smoked cheeses and baked goods for sale. He opened up his store, Charcuterie, late in 2015, and is already struggling to keep his doors open in Maine’s harsh regulatory environment.

Secich’s operation is small, but his creations have a large following. According to the Bangor Daily News (BDN), his store usually has a line of customers out the door on Saturdays.

Despite the store’s popularity, Charcuterie is struggling to stay open. Secich claims he’s buried in paperwork and other legal requirements he must adhere to in order to continue operating, which has forced him to consider closing his doors. Some of the regulations outlined in the 158-page-long Maine Food Code are unfathomable when applied to his business and teeter the line of obstructing his religious freedom. Together, these regulations have severely burdened his livelihood.

Secich described regulations that range from refrigeration requirements to crafting lengthy food safety plans as stipulated for obtaining a retail butcher and meat shop license in Maine. Because of the nature of his business, Secich is also required to monitor the temperature of his meats every other hour and record his findings. These excessive measures have left Charcuterie’s primary employee occupied with administrative duties rather than producing goods and running his business.

Because of his Amish faith, Secich uses a custom icebox he created to ensure his meats stay cooled at the required 41-degree Fahrenheit temperature, instead of keeping his goods refrigerated with electricity. Additionally, with his business, Secich does not have the time to create a hazard analysis and critical control points plan as required by the state, and was unaware he would have to create one when he started his business. New regulations imposed at the state level last year mandate that businesses create one of these plans if they process meats.

Read more of this The Maine Wire article by Jacob Posik by clicking here.

Photo: The Maine Wire