We’re two weeks into 2015 and already we’re on a third story of women being shamed or punished for breastfeeding in public – three strikes, you’re out, 2015! Let’s get a new year in here and see if this one is less embarrassing.
This time, CBC reports, the mother in question is Tanessa Holt, the owner of a small business called FoodNoise and the parent to a seven-month-old baby boy. FoodNoise sells dry goods at local farmers’ markets (packages of dry soup mix, bags of granola and oatmeal) – or at least it used to, because Holt was told by Nova Scotian food inspectors that she was not allowed to nurse her new baby at her stall if she was going to be handling food. As the food inspector wrote to her in an email:
“I have no problem with you breastfeeding at the booth, as long as there is another person that is at the booth with you, who can serve food to the customers.”
FoodNoise, which consists of Holt and her husband (and their seven-month-old, I guess) shockingly enough does not really have the financial flexibility to hire an extra employee to do all the food-handling while Holt sits idly by. Plus, Holt says that during a follow-up discussions with that food inspector, she was told that once she has breastfed, she can’t touch food for the rest of the day – she is irrevocably contaminated by her proximity to boob-juice. I assume that she’s allowed to return to the market after performing a two-week cleansing ritual involving self-scourging, a full-body bath in boiling water, and the sacrifice of a young goat.
The food inspector’s concern is apparently about contamination from bodily fluids during nursing and diaper changes, but let’s go out on a limb and assume 1.) that Holt is not hovering over her counter of tasty baked goods while she nurses her child, 2.) that she is not changing the baby’s diaper on top of a pile of granola bars, and 3.) that she can be trusted to use the hand-washing station and bathroom behind her stall to wash her hands and/or change her shirt after getting spit up on or wiping a baby-butt. Or wiping her own butt, for that matter.
Really thought, if food safety inspectors don’t trust Holt to wash her hands reliably, then I imagine we should also ban other vendors who take a potty-break any time during a market session; not to mention anyone who eats a snack or meal while working. Or anyone who touches money! Doesn’t anybody realize how coated with germs money is? Ugh.
A representative from the Department of Agriculture contacted by CBC says this is all – hopefully – a mistake and that Holt may soon be able to re-open her stall: boobs, baby and all. Which is excellent news, not just because it means this mom won’t lose half of her small business’s sales, but also because the good people of Nova Scotia will no longer be deprived of this glory:
Mmm. That reminds me – I need breakfast. How long of a drive is it to Nova Scotia, anyway?