Subject: Support Food Freedom in North Dakota - Tell Dep. of Health That You Oppose Proposed Rules

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Support Food Freedom in North Dakota
Tell Department of Health that You Oppose Proposed Rules
Dear Friend,

Last year, North Dakota local food advocates celebrated the passing of the Food Freedom Bill, HB 1433, which allowed food producers to prepare cottage foods in their homes and sell them directly to consumers as long as they had a label stating that the food was not inspected. The law covered baked goods, jams, jellies, “and other food and drink products produced by a cottage food operator.” The State Legislature prohibited the state health department and local agencies from requiring licenses, permits, or inspections for preparing cottage foods.

But the North Dakota Department of Health (DOH) has proposed rules that do not fulfill the language or intent of the law.

The proposed rules impose significant limitations on what foods can be prepared and sold from home kitchens. While the Food Freedom Bill approved essentially any food or drink product (except meat products), the DOH’s rules take the approach of listing specific foods that are allowed—effectively disallowing all others. Producers could not even cut up vegetables and sell them. Producers can sell ready-to-eat frozen pies, but not frozen pies that require cooking. Dry-mix lemonade is allowed, but not lemonade made from fresh lemons.

The proposed rules also impose substantive requirements that were not part of the Food Freedom Bill. For instance, foods that are kept frozen would have to be at 0 degrees Fahrenheit or less, a commercial standard rather than a home one. Honey products would have to come from the producer’s own hives. None of these are in the statute, nor do they significantly improve public safety.

Moreover, the proposed regulations include standard definitions for “adulterated” or “misbranded”, even though neither term appeared in the Food Freedom Bill. In some cases, such food truly would pose a risk of making someone sick or misleading consumers—but we have seen those terms also used in situations which pose no true risk to the public safety or informed consumers. And while the Food Freedom Bill gave the agency authority to investigate “upon complaint of illness or environmental health complaint,” the Legislature did not give the agency authority to require recalls for all the situations that could come within those very broad terms.

Please help us oppose these proposed rules by taking the action steps below! And then share this alert with your networks and friends.

- FTCLDF Team
TAKE ACTION #1:

Please send comments on the proposed rules. Comments may be typed or handwritten and legible. Be sure to include your name and contact information. 

Deadline: Comments must be received by Wednesday, April 4th.

Please mail them so that they arrive by April 4 to this address:

Division of Food & Lodging
ND Dept. of Health
600 East Boulevard Ave
Bismarck, ND 58505-0200

You can also submit oral comments by calling 701-328-1291, but written comments are more effective.

Sample Comments:

Hi North Dakota Department of Health,
I am writing to explain why I oppose the proposed rules for HB 1433.
" [Respectfully explain the main issues you have with these proposed rules, and support your arguments with facts or data. You can use any of the talking points below to help you get started. Remember to make it personal, about why this matters to you.]
[Your Name]
[Your City, State]
[Your Phone & email address]

TAKE ACTION #2:

Come to the hearings on March 22 and 23. The North Dakota Department of Health will hold three public hearings to address these new proposed rules:

March 22, 2018 from 9-11 a.m. CST
ND Department of Health
J-wing Room 212
600 E. Blvd. Ave.
Bismarck, ND 58505-0200 [Directions]

March 22, 2018 from 1-3 p.m. MST
Southwestern District Health Unit
Training Room
227 – 16th Street West
Dickinson, ND 58601 [Directions]

March 23, 2018 from 10 a.m.-12 p.m. CST
Fargo Cass Public Health
Oak Room
1240 – 25th Street South
Fargo, ND 58103-2367 [Directions]

TALKING POINTS:
  • The proposed rules improperly limit the types of food that can be made by a cottage food producer. [Look at the foods listed on page 4 of the proposed rules and point out the ones that you want to make (or buy) that aren’t included]
  • The proposed rules should not require that frozen foods be maintained at 0 degrees or lower. That is a quality control issue, more than a food safety issue. 
  • The proposed rules should limit agency actions (such as recalls) to when it has identified an actual illness connected to the cottage food producer and/or the producer has failed to comply with the statute with respect to labeling and consumer information. The terms “adulterated” and “misbranded” are overly broad in light of the very narrow scope of agency authority provided in the Food Freedom Bill.
MORE INFORMATION:


Proposed rules.

North Dakota Department of Health’s Notice of Intent to Adopt Proposed Rules.

Who We Are/What We Do

Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund (FTCLDF), a 501(c)(4) nonprofit, defends the rights and broadens the freedoms of family farms and artisan food producers while protecting consumer access to raw milk and nutrient-dense foods.

Learn more About Us.
www.farmtoconsumer.org | 703-208-FARM (3276) | info@farmtoconsumer.org
8116 Arlington Blvd Suite #263, Falls Church, VA 22042, United States
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