Friday, January 11, 2013

Food Fight

Hey, Maine is in trouble! From the Health Impact News Daily:
Positions seem to be hardening in Maine’s effort to challenge food sovereignty ordinances passed by at least half a dozen towns...

The reason for the state’s hard line is simple: It desperately wants to challenge a spate of food sovereignty ordinances that have taken root around Maine–at least six, and possibly more towns have passed the ordinances since the first one was passed just a year ago. One of the towns is Blue Hill, where Brown’s farm is located. Moreover, towns in Vermont and Massachusetts, and as far away as California, have passed similar measures. They allow farmers and other food producers an exemption from state and federal regulations to sell products directly to consumers.

State officials have said the suit against Brown has nothing to do with the food sovereignty measures, but rather is about Brown operating without a state permit to sell raw milk, which can legally be sold in Maine, both directly from the farm and at retail.

 The state's justification is pretty hilarious: this doesn't have to do with your sovereignty, you just have to get a government permit before you do that! Well, at least raw milk is legal there.

If someone wants to buy any food he pleases, shouldn't he be able to do so? You might ask that question innocently enough, but by most peoples' standards you would be wrong; something like raw milk, for example, falls under the purview of "public health," which means that government officials are scared people will do something that grosses out government officials. Hence the crackdowns. I like to tell people how I sometimes drink literal gallons of the stuff per week. The reaction is akin to when someone reveals they've been bitten by a zombie: horror coupled with an immediate desire to distance oneself from the infected patient. 

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