On Thursday, House Bill 54 passed out of committee at the Wyoming House of Representatives by a 6-3 vote. Called the “Food Freedom Act”, the bill has the intention of making homemade or artisanal foods (called “cottage foods” in the bill’s language) more accessible to consumers. The goals of the bill are:
- to promote “agri-tourism” in Wyoming
- to “allow for ‘traditional community social events’ involving the sale and consumption of homemade foods”
- to encourage sales at local farmer’s markets, roadside food vendors, homemade/home-sold food, making agricultural food products from known sources more accessible
Critics Question Lack Of Food Safety Inspection
The Food Freedom Act seeks to eliminate obstacles between a consumer or agri-tourist and homemade foods, but critics of the bill, including Susanne Schreck of FoodSafetyNews.com, are weary of the elimination of one particular obstacle: food safety inspection.
The Food Freedom Act exempts producers of homemade food from state-regulated food safety inspection, given that they sell their product at farmer’s markets, roadside stands or from their home directly to customers who intend to consume (not resell) the food themselves or use the food products at “traditional community social events”.
Wyoming House Bill 54 states:
“Notwithstanding any other provision of the law, there shall be no licensure, certification or inspection by any state governmental agency of any agency of any political subdivision of the state provided that there is only one transaction between the producer, the processor, the producer’s agent and the end consumer when the food is for home consumption of the food is prepared for a traditional community social event.”
That may all sound great in theory, but critics of the bill including Marion Nestle, blogger at FoodPolitics.com, argue that even small food producers should be required to produce food that is safe.