'Food freedom' back in Wyoming legislature

New bill excludes meat and milk
2011-01-27T00:00:00Z 'Food freedom' back in Wyoming legislatureBy JOSHUA WOLFSON - Star-Tribune staff writer Casper Star-Tribune Online

A week after its apparent death, the Wyoming Food Freedom Act is back in the Legislature.

Rep. John Eklund, R- Cheyenne, has introduced a revised version of the bill, which would ease regulations on certain home-based food producers.

The original bill, which died in committee, would have exempted all homemade foods from state licensing and inspection rules, provided they were sold directly to consumers. The new legislation is similar, but does not exempt milk and meat products from government oversight.

Eklund said he decided to leave out raw milk and meat because those foods had caused health officials the greatest concern.

"That is the intent of it, if we do get it back to committee, to at least have a food freedom bill that will be acceptable with our health officials," he said.

Critics of the original bill also expressed concern that allowing unregulated meat sales would prompt federal regulators to shut down state-inspected plants.

The House Agriculture Committee rejected the original bill by a 5 to 4 vote. The new legislation had not been assigned to a committee as of Wednesday afternoon.

"Food freedom" supporters say informed consumers can decide for themselves what foods are safe. They insist government oversight of direct homemade food sales is unnecessary.

Opponents maintain looser restrictions will lead to more outbreaks of food borne illness.

Contact Joshua Wolfson at 307-266-0582 or josh.wolfson@trib.com. Visit http://trib.com/news/opinion/blogs/wolfjammies/ to read his blog. Follow him on Twitter @joshwolfson

Copyright 2015 Casper Star-Tribune Online. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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