North Dakota Food Freedom

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Governor Doug Burgum signs HB1433 - the Food Freedom bill - into law with supporters watching.

House Bill 1433 - the Food Freedom Act - was passed by the 2017 Legislature and became effective August 1st. The law allows for the direct sale of most food and drink products from a producer to the informed end consumer without government inspection, licensing, permitting or any other form of regulation or oversight. All transactions must take place within the state.

Food and drink products exempted from Food Freedom are:
  • Poultry - Producers may only sell 1,000 processed birds, which was the limit prior to the legislation.
  • Red meat - Producers must use the current inspection program just as they did prior to the bill.
  • Milk and milk products - Producers may only sell farm fresh (raw) milk and milk products via a cow or goat share program just as they did before.
  • Alcoholic beverages - Producers have to follow previous law.

With all those exemptions, what actually changed? Prime Sponsor of the legislation, Representative Luke Simons from Dickinson explains. "This is a cottage food law.  People can create a food item in their home and sell to their friends and neighbors without government interference. YOU are the inspector. I trust you to make the right decision for yourself and your family."

The legislation standardizes direct to consumer food sales. "ND has 27 local health districts, plus the state health department. Prior to the enactment of HB 1433, each health district could have different rules and regulations. If you went to farmers market in both Bismarck and Mandan, one might allow you to buy eggs from a farmer and the other wouldn't. Food Freedom makes all those sales legal. Local ordinances can't deny your right to sell to consumers for use in their home.

On a personal level, one supporter wrote: "To me it means that producers and consumers have the right to freely exchange anything that they make without the government interfering. 

You also have the responsibility on both sides to properly handle that food, to provide complete disclosure, and to properly care for that food. If I as a consumer go to a farmer’s market, I don’t buy milk, eggs, and meat, and then leave them in a hot car for a couple hours while I take in a movie. Instead, I get my food into a cooler, and take it home as soon as possible. Safe handling, safe transport, and of course proper reheating are all important."

Representative Simons agrees.This is a willing buyer and willing seller situation. If a customer comes to a roadside stand or farmers market and has any question at all about the cleanliness or safety of the products offered, they shouldn't buy."

How did your legislators vote in 2017?
  Please take time to once again thank those who helped...and talk to those who didn't.

Below is the House Vote:

Here is the Senate vote: