The Lodi Nut Company, of Lodi, California, says it will be forced to close its factory gift shop at the end of this month because the cost of complying with Homeland Security regulations is too high. Terrorists are not yet known to have directly targeted American nuts, but company president Kelly Suess said this week that because the company manufactures food, extensive post-9/11 regulations apply. "They're trying to protect the entire food chain," Suess said.
The regulations require the company to register with the government, enforce employee ID requirements, and install surveillance cameras and electronic gates, among other things. Any individual customer wishing to buy from the gift shop would have to register personally at the plant office. Similar access restrictions have already forced the company to end its program of public tours of the factory, which is sad, although it does not say that much for the overall excitement level in Lodi if Nut Factory tours are fully booked to begin with.
The company has now decided to close up the gift shop too rather than incur the additional expense of complying with security regulations there. You may still be able to order nuts online or by calling 1-800-WALNUTS, but the gift shop may soon be a thing of the past. The security threat it posed will be eliminated, at least, but as this picture shows (click to enlarge it), there is still a little work to be done on securing the company's holiday boutique.