2016 Bills

HB144: The Utah Food Freedom Act

This bill was not considered by the legislature.

Libertas Institute supports this bill.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has stated, as its official opinion, that “There is no absolute right to consume… any particular food.” This statement, contained in a reply to a lawsuit filed against it by the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund, lays bare the thinking behind voluminous federal laws and regulations governing the production and sale of food, as exemplified in the contentious passage of the Food Safety Modernization Act a few years ago, which significantly expanded the regulatory reach of this federal agency.

Last month, we published a public policy brief establishing opposition to this claim, asserting that individuals do indeed have the right to grow and consume food, and that neighbors and consumers have the right to acquire food at a farm, free of burdensome regulations intended for—and properly applied only to—food meant to be acquired at restaurants or retail outlets where the consumer is totally unaware of the food’s source and safety.

Our brief contained two proposals, one of which was a statutory exemption from regulatory oversight for food producers and consumers who are directly exchanging with one another. House BIll 144, sponsored by Representative Marc Roberts, advances that proposal. (The other is House Joint Resolution 2.)

Small food producers would be exempt from licensure, permit requirements, certification, inspection, packaging, and labeling requirements related to the preparation, serving, use, consumption, or storage of food if the food is:

  1. both produced and sold within the state of Utah;
  2. sold directly to an informed end consumer (who does not resell the food); and
  3. intended and used for home consumption only (not used in preparation at restaurants, sold at retail establishments, etc.).

Before selling food that has been exempted, the producer is required to tell the end consumer that the food is not certified, licensed, regulated, or inspected by the state. Effectively, this creates a buyer beware scenario, and allows consumers to access local foods for lower costs, as the producer would not be required to comply with costly regulations designed and properly applied only to producers whose food is sold to individuals who have no awareness regarding the source or safety of the food.

  • PeggyBoone

    This is an awesome proposed law.  Yes, I support it totally. There are many producers ready with skills and resources.  We just need the way to share our products.  There are many many consumers begging for the produce and products that are made from home, ranches, dairies, etc.

    I’m in support.

  • BJlily

    Yes!  I agree with this bill.

  • utahfarmgirl

    I really don’t agree with this.  It’s not that hard to become a cottage industry and its not as costly as everyone complains.  Every other business has to invest in infrastructure  why not the cottage food industry?  People don’t realize what it really means when they buy something not certified. They don’t realize it means that the person making it could have licked the spoon.  Or that they may have had cut nuts on that cutting board they are using to prep things.  When I hear people want to get rid of these types of food safety laws, what I hear is that “its too much work to keep a kitchen clean enough to get a license, and I don’t really care about food safety”
    this isn’t going to create a low cost alternative.  This is going to significantly raise the costs of everything else.  I work on a local farm, and a LARGE portion of our business at the farm stand is value added products – and we focus on cottage industry.  that farm stand helps fund the costs of producing specialty crops – which are defined as all produce except grains and corn.  If we lose the ability to sell cottage industry foods, because no one will bother with a license, the farm stops. 
    I understand that those who support it are the ones who DO keep a clean kitchen.  But after this passes?  I won’t be buying from any of them.  And I am not the only one.  Even if they were licensed before.

  • Hollie

    I am pretty sure that they are talking about fruits and vegetables, whole foods or you pick type of products, not foods being made and sold. I am OK with buying farm fresh produce without them being liscenced, because then you can grow a garden and sell or trade with neighbors and friends without having to get a licence. I don’t agree with people making food items and selling them without having at least to add warnings of food alergy or not being sanitary. I would definitely have to look closely at the bill itself before I could make a decision one way or the other. Good point though.

  • Foodie

    Why can’t Roberts list the cases where the state has “cracked down”?
    He can’t because there are none. He doesn’t even know what he’s talking about.