Possibly the most popular bill in this year’s legislative session, the latest update to Wyoming’s Food Freedom Act, has sailed through both the state House and Senate.
Senate File 102 expands the state’s Food Freedom Act to allow dairy farmers to sell milk through a third party, including local foods stores.
Under the law now, farmers and other producers can only sell shelf-stable products – not dairy – through a middleman. But some dairy farmers in Wyoming have been using third-party stores and sellers in spite of the law.
House delegates passed SF 102 unanimously Tuesday after the Senate on Jan. 25 passed it with only one delegate, Sen. Charlie Scott, R-Casper, opposing it. The bill on Wednesday survived its Senate concurrence and will soon be on the governor’s desk for a signature.
Cutting The Cheese
Rep. Mike Yin, D-Jackson, tried Tuesday to amend SF 102 to specify that cheese producers also would be allowed to cut and package cheese while at a farmers market.
Yin said he visited his home county in recent days and went to a winter farmers market. There, a cheese seller told him that health officials had forbidden her from weighing, cutting and packaging custom cheese portions at the market because they believed she could only package the cheese at her home.
Opponents of Yin’s amendment said those health officials likely misinterpreted the current law, which doesn’t forbid packaging cheese at farmers markets.
Proponents said if that misinterpretation happened, then legislators should revise the law to fix the issue.
The amendment failed narrowly, 30-28.
But first, Rep. Ryan Berger, R-Evanston, caused a wave of laughter throughout the House floor.
“I’m wondering if we can tell people where they can cut the cheese and can’t cut the cheese,” said Berger. “I like this bill and I like the amendment – and it doesn’t stink either.”