Food Freedom Legislation Roundup: Is Your State Moving Ahead?
Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund (FTCLDF) continually monitors food freedom bills across the nation, providing regular comment, support, action alerts and consultation on pending food freedom bills which means more locally-produced food with less regulation.
“There are some great food-freedom and cottage-food laws passed in 2021, making farm or home sales of food directly to consumers easier, but we still have a long way to go,” says FTCLDF Executive Director Alexia Kulwiec. “We encourage concerned consumers and restauranteurs to get involved in these issues. We all need to support our small farms. If they thrive, we thrive.”
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Food Freedom Bills Update by State
Alabama: In May of 2021 Alabama passed amendments to its cottage food law to permit online sales of non-perishable foods and remove the $20,000 sales limit to the existing cottage food law. S 160 (2021).
Arkansas: On April 27, 2021, the Arkansas State Legislature passed the Food Freedom Act, effective July 29, 2021, exempting homemade food or drink products from licensure. The Act increases the ability to sell homemade food directly to the consumer including internet sales. The Arkansas law continues to limit these sales to non-perishable foods. SB 248 (2021).
Colorado: On April 29, 2021, Colorado Governor Jared Polis signed into law a bipartisan bill named the Deregulate Meat Sales Direct to Consumers bill, or for short, the Ranch to Plate Act. The new law allows farmers and ranchers to sell whole animals; plus shares in livestock for future delivery; including cattle, calves, sheep, bison, goats, hogs, rabbits and fish; and packaged meat they raised, slaughtered and butchered. SB21-79 (2021).
Florida: The Florida law for cottage food operations increased its annual gross sales limitation that exempts cottage food operations from regulation from $50,000 to $250,000. The Florida law prohibits counties or cities from banning cottage food businesses. SB 663 (2021).
Illinois: The amended cottage food law, the Home-to-Market Act, if signed by Governor Pritzker would permit home producers to sell baked goods and non-perishable goods directly to the consumer. SB 2007 (2021).
Indiana: Indiana changed its law to permit a home-based vendor to sell products over the telephone or internet and deliver the products through a third-party vendor to the end consumer. SB 185 (2021).
Montana: On April 23, 2021, the legislature sent the Montana Local Food Choice Act to the Governor, which was quickly signed and passed into law. The act permits the sale of homemade food and food products, without government licensing or permitting requirements, and permits poultry processing of less than 1,000 birds annually without stringent licensing and registration requirements. A small dairy, defined as a place with no more than 5 lactating cows, 10 lactating goats, or 10 lactating sheep is permitted to produce and sell raw milk in the state. SB 199 (2021).
Nebraska: Similar to Colorado’s Ranch to Plate Act and Wyoming’s animal share law, Nebraska passed a meat share bill to make it easier for livestock producers to sell directly to customers. Under the bill consumers can now buy a share of an animal or a herd from a farmer or rancher. That entitles the consumer to obtain part of the meat once the animal is slaughtered. The Nebraska bill also established a grant program to help small processing plants, with fewer than 25 employees, expand or improve their facilities. LB 324 (2021).
New Mexico: The Governor recently signed the Homemade Food Act, permitting the sales of foods produced on farm, ranch or residence directly to consumers. The Act allows sales directly to consumers, rather than only at farmers’ markets or roadside stands. It reduces burdensome permitting requirements, and makes all sales legal statewide, including in Albuquerque, where the sale of all homemade foods was banned. HB 177 (2021).
Oklahoma: The Homemade Food Freedom Act permits the sales of homemade shelf-stable food as well as perishable foods other than meat, poultry and seafood. It permits the sale of homemade foods and shelf-stable goods online. HB 1032 (2021).
Utah: Utah’s Microenterprise Home Kitchen Amendments allow home food operations to sell from their home kitchens with a permit. HB 94 (2021).
Wisconsin: In Wisconsin, while the legislature has not made an official move, homemade food producers are back in court fighting for their right to sell homemade baked goods. In 2017, a Wisconsin state court ruled that Wisconsin bakers can sell home-baked goods. Now the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection has interpreted the court ruling to only permit foods with flour. Wisconsin cottage food producers have filed suit to enforce the 2017 ruling and to expand the state’s ban on sale of other shelf-stable homemade foods.
Wyoming: Wyoming is really making strides for food freedom! Many of you already know about last year’s meat amendment to the Wyoming Food Freedom Act. This year, Wyoming amended the Wyoming Food Freedom Act again, specifically permitting the sale of eggs directly from the producer to the consumer and clarifying that homemade food producers may sell homemade food, drink products, and eggs to the maximum extent permitted by federal law. HB 118 (2021).
Many other states debate cottage food laws, which would permit home production of food that is not time or temperature controlled.
YOUR FUND AT WORK
Services provided by FTCLDF go beyond legal representation for members in court cases.
Educational and policy work also provide an avenue for FTCLDF to build grassroots activism to create the most favorable regulatory climate possible. In addition to advising on bill language, FTCLDF supports favorable legislation via action alerts and social media outreach.
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