>Food Freedom

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  • Do you think that you should be able to choose what food is best to feed your family?
  • Do you think that if you believe raw milk is superior to homogenized, pasteurized, setting in a plastic container milk that you should be able to provide raw milk for your family?
  • If your neighbor raises and butchers beef on their ranch should you be able to buy his surplus?
  • If the family next door always has an amazing garden and preserves (cans) extra food so she can sell some to you thereby benefiting both of you, shouldn’t that be okay?

I live in Wyoming. We moved here almost a year ago and we love it. But there are people in certain agencies here that think we should not be able to choose which foods we feed our own families. They think it is too dangerous for us to make our own food decisions and that they must ‘protect’ us from that danger.

I have a few problems with that.

My first problem is that so far the government run agencies with all of their food rules and regulations have not done the best job at ‘protecting’ us. In 1999, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated that foodborne infections caused 76 million illnesses, 325,000 hospitalizations and 5000 deaths each year. (1) My guess is that most of these foodborne illnesses came from factory produced and inspected products not from food provided by the neighbor next door. Does even a week go by when there is not a recall of some food product or outbreak of salmonella or E. coli or other related foodborne illness? Sure, we can get food poisoning from Aunt Lucy’s famous potato salad but we can also get it from store bought peanut butter and spinach or a drive-thru burger. But we have the USDA and their Food Safety and Inspection Service and the FDA to protect us, right? According to the Academy Award Nominated Documentary Food, Inc. not exactly. In 1972, the FDA conducted approximately 50,000 food safety inspections. In 2006, the FDA conducted 9,164.(2) Is this progress?

My second issue is that our choice to eat clean, whole foods produced locally should be Our Choice. It shouldn’t be something that is decided by a person wearing a suit sitting in some office. We should be able to go to a local farm or ranch, Farmer’s Market or even a roadside stand and as an informed consumer we should be able to purchase these locally produced foods for our families consumption without government interference. We should be able to hold traditional community events such as a Church Bazaar or a food involved fundraiser (like a bake sale) without government interference.

Wyoming Food Freedom Bill (to be introduced into legislation in 2011) intends to allow us the ability to the do the things mentioned above. The purpose of the Wyoming Food Freedom Act (still in draft state) “is to allow for traditional community social events involving the sale and consumption of home made foods and to encourage the expansion and accessibility of farmers’ markets, ranch, farm and home based sales and producer to informed end consumer agriculture sales” (3). I like the sounds of this bill. It would allow us the freedom to choose what we purchase for our home consumption. It would allow farmers, ranchers and even home based bread makers the opportunity to increase their income. For people not interested in purchasing direct from producers it would not affect them (they can still go to Wal-store for their food needs). Commercially produced food (such as food purchased in a restaurant or at Wal-store) would not be affected. This bill is about choice. That is all I want. The ability to be the one who makes the choice regarding the food my family eats not that suit guy (or gal).
Do you believe in the ability to make our own food choices? I encourage you to sign the online petition in support of the Wyoming Food Freedom Act. You do not need to reside in Wyoming to sign the petition. Please visit the Wyoming Food Freedom Petition and take a moment to show your support. For more information visit the Wyoming Food Freedom website. If you reside in Wyoming you can also show your support at The Wyoming Legislature’s Joint Agriculture Committee interim meeting being held on Monday, April 19th in Dubois. Scheduled start time is 1:30 PM. Look for the people wearing the “Wyoming Food Freedom” badges. And as always show your support by supporting your local food producers in any way that the law currently allows.
What do you think? Does a bill like this sound like a good idea or does it sound wreckless and pose to many dangers by allowing (informed) consumers to make their own choices? Why or Why not?

This post is a contribution to Fight Back Friday hosted by Food Renegade

(2) Source: Food, Inc. Movie. Timestamp 26:11 to 26:20 Do you have Netflix? You can watch Food, Inc instantly.
Millie Copper
Millie Copper is a Wyoming wife and mama. After reading Nourishing Traditions in early 2009, her family began transforming their diet to whole, unprocessed, nutrient dense foods—a little at a time while stretching their food dollars. Millie is passionate to share how, with a little creativity, anyone can transition to a real foods diet without overwhelming their food budget. Millie began blogging in late 2009 and has amassed a collection of frugal recipes and methods. Her specialties include cooking with wild game and creating “Stretchy Beans”. Discovering a love of writing, she has penned four books focusing on healthy eating on a budget and is trying her hand at fiction writing. Learn more at MillieCopper.com.

Comments

  1. Kim

    >Millie, you are singing my song! I agree with you wholeheartedly!!!! It is a "no-brainer" to allow the people to make their own choices with food…we allow people to "choose" to buy cases of Top Ramen and Mountain Dew, knowing what it will do to their overall health, but we won't allow people to choose healthy, whole foods? I don't live in Wyoming, but I will sign…I believe in the ripple effect ;0)

  2. Stephanie

    >Millie, this is a great post and I wholeheartedly share your concerns. We live in Georgia and there are some pretty silly rules here that the Food Safety folks spend a lot of effort trying to enforce that do not make our food any safer and make the better stuff cost more!

    I don't know what the environment for Food Freedom currently is in Wyoming, but I wonder if there are bad laws, if it would be better to repeal them instead of creating a new law with freedoms (that really aren't the government's to give)… If they give us freedoms, they can take them away too. I just wonder if there is a better way to do it?

  3. Wardeh

    >Thanks for bringing this to our attention, Millie. Even though I don't live in Wyoming, I signed the petition and I wholeheartedly agree. It is a shame that we would have to ask for freedom to eat good food.

  4. Maureen Kuykendall

    >Here is a bit of the state statuet on food sales in Wyoming if this helps at all*************

    (a) Pursuant to W.S. 35-7-124(a), any person processing, distributing, storing
    or preparing food for wholesale or retail use shall obtain a license from the department of
    agriculture or a local health department. The license is not transferable, shall be renewed
    on an annual basis and shall be prominently displayed in the establishment or processing
    plant. No establishment or processing plant shall serve, hold for sale or sell food to the
    public without a valid license. An agriculture producer shall be exempt from the
    licensure requirement in this Section for processing, distributing, storing or sale of any
    raw agriculture commodity he produces.

  5. Frank Wallis

    >The Wyoming Food Freedom Act will create an exemption for a very narrowly defined actions. The Act will exempt from inspection, regulation and licensing of transactions between a producer and an informed consumer. Basically no middleman, just the producer and the end consumer are affected if this passes.

    All other food establishments, restaurants, school kitchens, grocery stores, etc… will remain as they are – licensed, inspected, regulated.

    So rather than rewrite all the food laws and regulations, we are just making an exemption for a very specific instances I mentioned above.

    Hope this answers the question from the Georgian.

  6. Millie

    >Stephanie,
    I was hoping that Maureen and/or Frank would weigh in. I'm glad they both did. They have been involved in this alot longer and are alot closer to it than I am with both of them being agriculture producers. I just think it is sad that we have to even ask for this 'freedom' which should just be a given.

    Wardeh,
    Thank you so much for helping to spread the word!

    Maureen and Frank,
    I'm glad that you both were able to pop on and add the details of the bill and how the current law reads. Thank you!

  7. Wendi

    >Great job, Millie!

    I am, as you know :-), a rancher and we have plenty of our own beef, and legally sell to others because we submit to all of the gov't regualtions. But there are other products we don't produce, milk, cheese, etc… that we would love to be able to provide for our family without breaking the law.

  8. Stephanie

    >Millie, Maureen and Frank,

    Thanks for the explanation on the bill and the current law. Georgia has some similar exemptions, but only for so-called 'safe foods' like baked goods and jams or jellies.

    I did sign your petition and will link to Millie's post on Facebook and my blog too. Seems all who want good food without government hassle are going to have to support each other across state lines. It is sad we have come to this, but I salute you all for doing something about it.

    Hopefully, Like Kim said, it will have a ripple effect!

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