Big Apple stamps on guinea pigs

Ecuadorian delicacy off the menu

You know how it is - you wait years for a decent guinea pig story and then two turn up at once. Just yesterday we reported on the Peruvian Breed super-rodent - a hefty porker packing a couple of pounds of nutritious, rabbit-flavoured meat. Now we are receiving news that New York has clamped down on the sale of guinea pig as a tasty snack.

The four-legged fast food in question is Ecuadorian cuy guinea pig - served on a bed of rice with salad and spuds. Two cuy vendors laid out their stalls at the Flushing Meadows-Corona Park festival on 9 August, and promptly got shut down by the NY Parks Department. The authorities cited health code violations as the cause of the bust, even though the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets permits cuy to be purchased as food.

Naturally, the Ecuadorian community is up in arms at having its national delicacy struck off the menu. Ecuadorian Civic Committee prez Tony Toral said: "We believe this dish should be allowed," an assertion certainly endorsed by stallholder Rosa Calle who says she spent $2,020 for a permit and $12,000 for food before the culinary Gestapo moved in and summarily confiscated her cuy.

Calle has been issued a $1,000 summons but says she may sue the city for her loss. ®

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