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Salazar seeks clarity for Food Freedom Act

RIVERTON — Sen. Tim Salazar, R-Riverton, is authoring a bill to clarify language in the state’s Food Freedom Act after Department of Ag inspectors balked at the sale of raw milk on Riverton’s Main Street. 

“This is an issue also of just small business development, small business growth,” Salazar said of the legislation to a crowd of community members during a town hall event earlier this month. “My belief is that it will receive widespread support in the legislature.” 

One of Main Street’s newest businesses, Fremont Foods LLC, works much like a farmers’ market with a roof. Local farms and vendors peddle their wares at the business. 

Wyoming’s Food Freedom Act, which was adopted in 2015,

allows consumers to purchase processed produce, poultry, unpasteurized milk and eggs directly from farmers. It was an effort to lift onerous regulations from local producers so folks could, so they say, truly embrace “farm to table” foods. 

At the Fremont Foods market, local dairy farmers had rented a space in the store’s cooler and allowed customers to purchase raw milk, leaving payment in a bucket under an honor system arrangement. 

But when Department of Ag inspectors initially noted the practice, objections were raised because the farmer wasn’t on-site at the store at the time of sale. 

Ag officials eventually found the arrangement satisfied the requirements of the law, but Salazar said he’d like to codify clarifying language so that producers, consumers, and “the food police,” as one town hall attendee put it, are all on the same page. 

Salazar said he is only seeking to clarify language regarding raw milk and egg sales, as the sale of meat is a much more complicated beast. 

He said he wants to circulate a draft of the bill among producers themselves before bringing it to the Capitol. 

“They are the ones selling their milk and their eggs,” he said. 

Once the draft bill has been refined, Salazar said he’s confident that it will make it to the floor and become law. 

“I’m pretty sure a bill like that would get a vote,” he said. “This needs to occur. The Food Freedom Act is a great piece of legislation. But in every piece of legislation, it’s in the details.”

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