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Overreaching food producer regulation bill dead

Overreaching food producer regulation bill dead

Dustin Hurst
March 10, 2015
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March 10, 2015

A bill that would have added huge new regulations for small food producers is dead for the year and state lawmakers will consider a far less-reaching measure.

Late last week, the House Health and Welfare Committee approved new government rules for cottage food producers, small food operations that typically sell goods at farmers markets, craft shows and similar places.

The panel’s chair, Rep. Fred Wood, R-Burley, pulled the bill back from the House floor Monday, telling colleagues stakeholders held deep reservations about the measure.

On Tuesday, Rep. Caroline Troy, R-Genesee, introduced a new bill to deregulate small food producers, as long as they meet certain requirements.

Troy, a sponsor of the prior bill, said the earlier measure went too far. “It became very apparent that (House Bill) 187 had gone too far,” Troy told the House Ways and Means Committee Tuesday.

Under her new plan, makers of non-hazardous foods like breads, jams, jellies and pies would only have to label their products with their name and addresses, contact information and potential allergens in order to sell directly to consumers.

Producers would also have to disclose “that the product was prepared in a home kitchen that is not subject to regulation and inspection by the regulatory authority,” as the plan mandates.

The bill’s new version forgoes a sales cap for producers, for which the prior version called. The new version also does not require small kitchens to register with the state, a stipulation of the old bill.

Troy said the new measure would free up resources for Idaho’s seven health districts, who’ve previously handled the matter across the state.

The new bill will likely head to the House Health and Welfare Committee in the next few days.

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