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Support Food Freedom: Attend Hearings on NDDH Proposed Rules
The North Dakota Department of Health (NDDH) has published proposed regulations that would severely water down the North Dakota Food Freedom Act (FFA), legislation signed into law last spring. The FFA allows direct sales from producers to “informed end consumers” without requirements for licensing, inspection or labeling (with one limited exception on labeling) on all foods (referred to as cottage foods in the FFA) except meat, dairy and foods that have either meat or raw dairy as an ingredient.
NDDH is trying to dilute the FFA by prohibiting the sale of foods allowed by the law. Under the proposed regulation, producers would prevented from selling canned foods such as pickles or sauerkraut if the food’s pH or water activity is above a certain level; the FFA does not have these requirements. The regulations require that producers sell only whole, frozen poultry; there is nothing in the FFA that has this limitation.
The proposed regulations prohibit the production and sale of certain dry goods, dehydrated foods and beverages such as kombucha that are all allowed by the FFA.
Beyond the proposed regulations going against the will of the legislature is the fact that the legislature did NOT give NDDH specific authority to issue regulations governing the production and sale of cottage foods. The whole point of Food Freedom legislation is that producers NOT be regulated or limited in any way beyond what the legislature calls for.
Further, there are other chapters related to food in North Dakota statutes such as the state Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act in which the legislature has specifically given NDDH rulemaking power. So, if the legislature had intended NDDH to issue rules on cottage foods, it would have said so.
ON March 22 NDDH will be holding public hearings on the proposed rules in Dickinson and Bismarck and also on March 23 in Fargo. This is your opportunity to voice your opposition to NDDH’s attempt to take the freedom out of the Food Freedom Act.
ACTION TO TAKE
1. Attend the hearings and give your testimony on why NDDH should withdraw the rules or, at a minimum, substantially amend them to provide for the unregulated sale of all foods the legislature allows in the FFA. If you are a producer of a specific type of food such as canned foods, tell NDDH how the proposed rules are hurting your business.
You can submit written comments to NDDH at the hearing. If you want to speak, please be brief and to the point since you will be given only a short time to talk.
Here are the locations and times for each Cottage Foods Rules hearing:
BISMARCK, March 22 - Thursday 9am-11am CDT
ND Dept. of Health, Judicial Wing, Room 212, ND State Capitol
Note: enter through south entrance of building and pass through metal detectors.
DICKINSON, March 22 - Thursday 1pm-3pm MDT
Southwestern District Health Unit, 227 16th Street West, Dickinson, ND 58601
FARGO, March 23 - Friday 10am-12pm CDT
Fargo Cass Public Health, Oak Room, 1240 25th Street South, Fargo, ND 58103-2367
2. If you cannot attend any of the hearings, please submit written comments on the proposed regulations to NDDH. You have until April 4th to do so. Send your comments by email to
[email protected] or by postal mail to:
℅ Division of Food and Lodging
Bismarck, ND 58505-0200
1. The state health department is trying to substitute its own judgment for the legislature’s on what foods can be sold. The department is exceeding its authority in prohibiting the sale of foods the FFA allows.
2. Cottage foods have an excellent track record for safety; the legislature has determined mainly for this reason that the foods allowed to be sold don’t need to be regulated. NDDH should honor that determination.
3. If there is a problem there is a high level of traceability with cottage foods, NDDH has sufficient power to investigate a suspicion of illness under current law without having to issue any more regulations.
4. The legislature did not give NDDH specific authority to issue regulations governing cottage food. There are other chapters related to food in North Dakota statutes where the legislature has given NDDH specific rulemaking authority. NDDH should withdraw the proposed rules; if the legislature wanted to give NDDH rulemaking power it would have said so.
The public hearing and comment period are one step along the way to a final determination on whether the proposed rules become law. WAPF will be issuing future alerts on the proposed rules.
Julie Wagendorf, Director - [email protected]
Jessica Trinneer, Administrative Assistant - [email protected]
ND Food Freedom Note: We hope you will consider joining or supporting the Weston A. Price Foundation in its efforts to restore nutrient-dense foods to the human diet through education, research and activism. westonaprice.org