This week has been filled with shocking headlines. The country is facing unexpected, unprecedented events, and we've seen some ridiculous outcomes.
— And I'm not just talking about the presidency. While everyone was watching the election in disbelief, Mariza Ruelas was preparing for her day in court. The single mother of six is facing up to a year in jail for selling ceviche on Facebook in Stockton, CA.
What is Ceviche Anyway?
Ceviche is a Latin American seafood dish consisting of raw fish cured in citrus juices and chili peppers and served with vegetables like avocado, tomatoes, or onions.
Why is this illegal?
Ruelas is being charged with two separate misdemeanor citations — operating a food business and engaging in business without a permit. Apparently, the woman sold a $12 plate of ceviche to an undercover cop last year through a Facebook group. Who knew undercover cops were hanging out on Facebook now?
The group connected amateur cooks in the local area and allowed them to share recipes and even sell homemade dishes for low prices. So, if you were super tired on a weeknight and just wanted to Netflix and eat, you could log on to Facebook and order a homemade meal from a neighbor. Sounds like a dream come true, right?
Well, it was, until Ruelas and other administrators of the group got a letter from the district attorney's office stating that they had to appear in court due to health code violations. They immediately shut down the page, but Ruelas had a shady day in court, and now she's facing two years of jail time. Ruelas's public defender, Benjamin Hall, spoke to the LA times and said, "Obviously there needs to be food safety. On the other hand, this is not the kind of thing these laws were meant to go after. They were intended for people who build restaurants and don’t obtain permits, and it’s not that situation. It’s a community of people joined by food."
It is still unclear what will happen to Ruelas and ceviche as this crazy case unfolds, but if you're interested in trying some ceviche and looking to avoid the risky world of Facebook food, try this recipe.