You run a restaurant and get a visit from a person who claims to be from the County of Los Angeles Department of Public Health.
They quickly flash a badge and say that you are in violation of a Los Angeles County ban on polystyrene (or Styrofoam) containers. You are threatened with fines unless you pay immediately.
The County of Los Angeles since 2010 has limited polystyrene containers in County buildings. The County Board of Supervisors earlier this summer announced a study of a possible polystrene ban. Several County departments, including the Department of Consumer and Business Affairs, are part of the study, which will report back to the Board of Supervisors later this year.
However, there is no overall ban on privately owned restaurants using polystyrene containers across Los Angeles County or in the incorporated areas of the County. No one from the Department of Public Health or any other County agency will threaten fines for a law that does not exist.
If you are a business owner and are approached by a suspicious person claiming to be from a government agency, contact your local police or sheriff department. You can also file a complaint with the Department of Consumer and Business Affairs.