Save North Dakota Food Freedom Law – Tell Committee Members to Change SB 2269
There will be a hearing on Senate Bill 2269 (SB 2269), a bill to amend the state’s cottage food laws, in the House Agriculture Committee on Friday, March 22 at 9:00 a.m. in the Pioneer Room at the State Capitol in Bismarck.
SB 2269, as now written, would roll back progress made by the landmark 2017 Food Freedom Act, but the current version of the bill is an improvement over the legislation that was originally introduced. The bill passed the Senate without incorporating the following needed changes:
1. There’s no provision for the sale of any drinks. Testimony from the Health Department during questions stated that kids could still have lemonade stands, but you won’t be able to sell lemonade at a farmers market.
2. The only canned goods allowed will be acidified or naturally acidic foods. Several people testifying had encouraged the committee to allow non-acidified foods to be pressure canned, but the committee didn’t take that suggestion.
3. Sales prohibited for cut fresh fruits and vegetables (e.g., salads) or other refrigerated products other than certain baked goods that are picked up at the cottage food producer’s home.
4. There are additional labeling requirements. Many are already doing some labeling, but there are specific handling instructions included in this legislation over what is currently required.
5. Protections removed for those selling fresh, uncut, fruits and vegetables that were to keep local health districts from imposing inspections or other restrictions when selling to retailers or restaurants. For now, the State Health Department does not require anything special, but prior to 2017, some local health districts did have special rules. This protection needs to be in place.
The Friday hearing is an opportunity to further amend the legislation to have a definitive bill that would restore the freedoms granted by the 2017 Act as well as to stop the North Dakota Department of Health, or any other political subdivision, from writing rules governing cottage food production and sales.
ACTION TO TAKE
1. Call and/or email members of the House Agriculture Committee asking them to make changes SB 2269. Phrase any of the Talking Points in your own words. See the list of members at the end of this email.
You may copy/paste this block to send an email to all Committee Members; it’s best to follow up with phone calls to ensure your email is received and read.
Subject: Make Changes to SB 2269
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2. Attend the Hearing on March 22nd, Friday 9:00 a.m. at the State Capitol to be held in the Pioneer Room (near the Cafeteria) on the ground floor of the Judicial Wing.
North Dakota State Capitol (building maps)
600 E. Boulevard
Bismarck, ND 58505 (directions)
Current law allows a cottage food producer to sell any food other than ones containing raw dairy or meat without regulation direct to an informed end consumer; producers can also sell drink products. SB 2269, even as it now reads under the latest revision, would change that to prohibit the sale of many cottage foods and all drink products unless the producer has a license and is under inspection.
1. Why fix something that isn’t broken. In the year-and-a-half North Dakota’s cottage food law has been in effect not a single case of foodborne illness has been attributed to a producer operating under the cottage food law. The experience in North Dakota matches that of Wyoming, Utah and Maine who have also passed food freedom laws; NO foodborne illnesses have been blamed on a producer operating under those state’s cottage food laws either.
2. SB 2269 hurts the ability of cottage food operators providing safe, nutritious food to the public to make a living. Under the bill, producers would no longer be able to sell without licensing and inspection drink products such as juices, lemonade and kombucha, non-acidic canned fruits and vegetables such as beans or beets. A recent survey conducted by the Institute for Justice of 775 cottage food producers in 22 states found that half were funded with $500 or less in start-up capital. Costs for producers of foods SB 2269 would now require licensure and inspection for would drive up the costs of doing business substantially.
3. Current law exempts cottage food producers selling whole fruits and vegetables to restaurants and other commercial establishments from regulation; SB 2269 would subject those producers to regulation and inspection by local health districts. There have been no food safety problems with cottage food operators selling produce to restaurants since the Food Freedom Act became law.
Be sure to include how SB 2269–and the 2017 Act–impacts you and your family as a producer and/or consumer.
Please share this alert with others. WAPF will be sending out future alerts as events warrant.
COMMITTEE MEMBERS – House Agriculture
Rep. Dennis Johnson (R-15) – Chairman
Rep. Wayne A. Trottier (R-19) – Vice Chairman
Rep. Jake G. Blum (R-42)
Rep. Ruth Buffalo (D-27)
Rep. Gretchen Dobervich (D-11) – Minority Caucus Leader
Rep. Jay Fisher (R-5)
Rep. Craig Headland (R-29)
Rep. Dwight Kiefert (R-24)
Rep. Aaron McWilliams (R-20)
Rep. David Richter (R-1)
Rep. Bernie Satrom (R-12)
Rep. Cynthia Schreiber-Beck (R-25)
Rep. Kathey Skroch (R-26)
Rep. Bill Tveit (R-33)
SB 2269 status – https://www.legis.nd.gov/assembly/66-2019/bill-index/bi2269.html
SB 2269 (revised) – https://www.legis.nd.gov/assembly/66-2019/documents/19-0887-04000.pdf
Directions – https://www.google.com/maps/place/North+Dakota+State+Capitol,+600+E+Boulevard+Ave,+Bismarck,+NDemail@example.com,-100.7867563,15.69z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x52d78307c3f9e51d:0x696285b77d1be783!8m2!3d46.8209473!4d-100.7815645