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Backlash After 7-Year-Old's Lemonade Stand Shut Down By State Health Department

Brendan Mulvaney, 7, with New York State Sen. Jim Tedisco at the recently shut down Brendan's Lemonade Stand.
Brendan Mulvaney, 7, with New York State Sen. Jim Tedisco at the recently shut down Brendan's Lemonade Stand. Photo Credit: Sen. Jim Tedisco

A second-grader's lemonade stand proved to be too much competition for some vendors at a popular upstate event.

Brendan Mulvaney, who ran a lemonade stand at his home in Ballston Spa near the Saratoga County Fair, had it shut down by state officials, citing that he needed a permit to operate the stand.

The sudden shutdown came after vendors at the fair reportedly complained to a member of the New York State Department of Health.

The 7-year-old has run the stand for years, and reportedly simply wanted to raise enough money to take a trip to Disneyland.

He sold the drink in his front yard, next to the Saratoga County Fairgrounds, while his parents parked cars on their lawn during the fair.

On Friday, they got an unexpected visitor from the Department Of Health, who ordered them to shutter the operation, citing the lack of a permit to sell food.

The stand was selling lemonade for 75 cents, as well as soda, water, and sno-cones for a dollar.

The backlash has been swift and angry against the Department of Health, and Brendan got a visit the following day from New York State Sen. Jim Tedisco, who is pushing new legislation to ensure this doesn’t happen again.

“I spoke with DOH today and they said that permits are required to operate lemonade stands according to state regulations but they do not enforce it,” he said. “When I asked the agency if Brendan would have to purchase a temporary food service permit just to sell lemonade and not bottled water and sno-cones, DOH said yes but they don’t enforce it.

"The cost of a permit is $30. Brendan is being asked to pay for the Friday he was shut down. As far as I'm concerned, if there's a regulation that’s in place that’s not being enforced it should be eliminated.”

Tedisco has introduced the “Child Lemon Aid Law,” which would “exempt children who operate pop-up lemonade stands under adult supervision from having to obtain and pay for any state permits.” He’s also calling on state officials to waive the $30 fee for the day the stand was shut down.

“These kids are trying to give people sweet lemonade and learn some important business skills but the overzealous state bureaucrats in the administration just keep giving taxpayers lemons.

“This issue is about more than just Brendan's lemonade stand: it's about the right for every kid in New York State to be able to spend some quality time outside away from video games and other distractions and learn some business skills without ‘big government’ sticking its nose into it,” the senator noted. “If they go after Brendan's lemonade stand, what's to stop the state from going after any kid's lemonade stand? We are not going to let this overzealous intrusion into people's lives stand.”

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