No wonder it had to go:
Her business, while it lasted, consisted of herself, making yogurt on the instructions of her father. Ms Dashtaki was renting space in the kitchen of an Egyptian restaurant where she and her father, “like elves before and after their working hours”, lovingly cultured their yogurt under a blanket, then drained it through a certain kind of cheese cloth, then stirred it for hours, and so forth. For the taste to be divine, everything has to be just so. And, being artisans, they kept the volume tiny, about 20 gallons (76 litres) a week, for sale only at local farmers’ markets.
Homa Dashtaki was eager to demonstrate that her yogurt was safe and healthful, but complying with California regulations turned out to be not so easy. In fact, authorities told her that she would face possible prosecution unless she established a “Grade A dairy facility” employing processes more commonly found in factories. A highlight: she’d have to install a pasteurizer even though she made her yogurt from milk that was already pasteurized. What’s more, California law makes it illegal to pasteurize milk twice, so there went any hope of continuing her straightforward way of obtaining milk, namely bringing it home from a fancy grocery store.
Ms Dashtaki is pondering whether to move to another state, one whose rules allow for artisanal products. She would not be the first entrepreneur to flee the Golden State.
Although a small artisan cheese sector struggles to get by, the California dairy market generally is dominated by mass-market producers selling blandly standardized wares. And you can see how that winds up happening. [The Economist]
More: Coyote. And more on the California regulatory climate from Ted at PoL, including a link to Cal-Peculiarities (PDF), by David Kadue of Seyfarth Shaw, on the state’s distinctively onerous employment laws.