Food freedom laws ease regulations on the production and sale of homemade and locally grown foods. They exempt producers from what supporters say is a burden of permits, inspections and licensing requirements, and give consumers the freedom to buy foods not inspected by the state. Three legislatures have adopted them, and several more are considering the idea.
Wyoming's Food Freedom Act, from 2015, was the first of its kind. It exempted many homemade foods from licensing requirements and allowed farmers to sell directly to consumers.
"Wyoming has had roaring success [with the law], and we continue to capitalize on those aspects," says Wyoming Senator Tyler Lindholm (R), the bill's lead sponsor.
The Legislature amended the act this year, clarifying which homemade products are exempt from regulations, and adding rabbit and fish to the exempted list. The amendment also permits state agencies to provide assistance, consultation and inspection services when requested. Producers may now sell inspected and uninspected foods side by side at farmers markets, farms and ranches, as Jong as they are sold at separate cash registers.
Critics say food freedom laws may endanger consumers by giving them a sense that inspections are unneeded. An editorial in Wyoming's Tribune-Eagle warned that the law could create "an outbreak of food poisoning and threaten the lives of children, the elderly and pregnant women as well as make the rest of the state sick."
North Dakota lawmakers also enacted a food freedom...