- Associated Press - Friday, February 13, 2015

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - A Senate committee has endorsed a bill to deregulate the individual sale of raw milk, canned goods and other foods that are considered to be potentially dangerous.

The Senate Agriculture, State and Public Lands and Water Resources Committee voted 3-2 on Thursday to advance House Bill 56, also known as the Wyoming Food Freedom Act. The measure goes to the Senate floor for more debate.

The proposal would end the state’s practice of requiring inspections, licensing and certification of certain homemade or homegrown products, as long as they are single transactions between a producer and an “informed end consumer.”

The Wyoming Tribune Eagle reports (https://bit.ly/1AvQjwG ) that it would apply to sales at farmers’ markets and the ability for small farmers or other individuals to sell homegrown or locally raised products to their neighbors or others in the state.

Rep. Tyler Lindholm, R-Sundance, the lead sponsor of the bill, said this would take food “off of the black market” and would legalize something that commonly occurs throughout the state.

He said the bill would not apply to meat, other than poultry, or interstate trade, so the proposal would not jeopardize the state’s compliance with federal regulations.

Several ranchers, farmers and other members of the public testified Thursday that the government should not be involved in dictating what kinds of food an individual wants to buy.

Frank Wallis, a Campbell County resident, said many rural residents depend on being able to sell their locally produced foods as a way to supplement their incomes.

“I urge you all to vote for this bill because it will be good for the rural economy of Wyoming,” Wallis said. “And it will help small ranchers and farmers make a living so they don’t have to take another job.”

However, state health officials cautioned that the proposal carries public safety risks.

Dean Finkenbinder, consumer health services manager with the Wyoming Department of Agriculture, testified that he has concerns about the safety of foods prepared in homes and other unlicensed areas.


Information from: Wyoming Tribune Eagle, https://www.wyomingnews.com

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