In 2015, Wyoming passed the Food Freedom Act, allowing the state’s food producers to sell an unprecedented number of products often illegal in other states, like unpasteurized milk and poultry, direct to consumers.
But on September 21, U.S. Department of Agriculture inspectors required a vendor at the Gillette farmer’s market to dump all of his containers of chicken chili. State Representative Tyler Lindholm worked closely with the USDA to get the law passed and said he’s trying to figure out what happened so the state’s producers can be in compliance going forward.
“The real issue that they’ve got with Big John’s chicken chili in this situation is that Big John’s Chicken Chili used USDA-inspected chicken,” Lindholm said. “So the chicken he’s using has actually been through the highest level of inspections this nation has to offer.”
Lindholm said the vendor wouldn’t have been asked to destroy his product if he had been using chickens he’d butchered himself.
“We’re going to work with the federal government to ensure Wyoming’s law stays intact and our producers can keep doing what they’re doing,” said Lindhold. “While at the same time, we don’t have to worry about, basically, agents showing up and forcing our producers to have to dump their product when they’re complying with state law.”
Wyoming’s Food Freedom Act is one of a kind in the U.S., although several states including Utah and Maine are using it as a model to deregulate their own food laws.