Food Freedom Movement Spreading State to State

In March 2015, Wyoming passed its Food Freedom Act, a groundbreaking law that deregulates many homegrown farm foods sold direct-to-consumer. Wyoming State Representative Tyler Lindholm, who co-sponsored the bill, predicted that farmers in the state would immediately feel positive impacts from the changes in regulation.

So how has it been going?

Lindholm says, “Wyoming’s first season under the Wyoming Food Freedom Act was one of bounty without a doubt…the results have been exactly what we all knew already. The free market will thrive if given the chance…I’ve talked with several Farmers Markets and their managers and have found the numbers being reported as doubling the number of consumers and produces in a multitude of products.”

Wyoming’s success is apparently inspiring other states, including Utah, to consider their own food freedom bills.

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D.C. Foodies Deprived of Delicious Raw Milk Cheeses

In the United States, any “raw” milk cheeses sold must be aged for 60 days (with heavier restrictions on other soft cheeses, like brie), according to requirements by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA). A recent DCist article interviews cheese connoisseurs and other foodies in the Washington D.C. area about why they prefer raw milk cheeses.

Amy Gomez, regional specialty coordinator for Whole Foods who oversees the mid-Atlantic region’s cheese program, says that raw milk cheeses often have a “more well rounded flavor profile, more complex” – as the live cultures found in raw milk cheeses can deepen the flavor.

Mike Bowers, owner of Bowers Fancy Dairy Products in Washington D.C.’s trendy Eastern Market, points out that the FDA’s restrictions is preventing American consumers from experiencing “a lot of really great European cheese.”

Thankfully, the article notes, there are a few sources where avid foodies can get the favored products including a small buying club, Grassfed on The Hill and, outside the district, P.A. Bowen Farmstead.

Read more via DCist.

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Breakthrough in Microbiology Testing Will Reduce Spoilage and Save Money for Global Dairy Industry

Oculer Technology, an Irish dairy tech company, has revealed a ground-breaking detection system that can identify thermoduric bacteria in as little as 24 hours, down from the global standard of 72 hours. Thermoduric bacteria is naturally occurring and can survive the pasteurization process, resulting in early spoilage and reduced protein concentrations.

According to Farming Life, this development could “…save the dairy industry in Ireland up to €200 million annually through reduced farmer penalties, superior product shelf-life and enhanced protein concentration.” Not only can early detection reduce early spoilage of products to increase their shelf-life, but it can also eliminate the bacteria entirely in other milk-related products like milk powder to be used in baby formula.

Oculer is already working with dairy industries in other countries, including New Zealand, to implement this testing technology and has the potential to reach dairy markets across the globe.

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Texas Farmer Found Guilty of Distributing Raw Milk

Eldon Hooley, a dairy farmer in Fort Worth, Texas, has been found guilty of operating a food establishment that was selling food from an unapproved source – charges that stemmed from a May 2014 raid of Hooley’s truck that was delivering raw milk to customers off the farm. In Texas, sales of raw milk are only legal on the farm itself.

Furthermore, at the time of the raid, Hooley’s license to sell raw milk had been suspended because his milk had tested positive for the bacteria Yersinia, which is required for testing in the state of Texas and penalties for testing positive usually result in the loss of two weeks’ worth of sales.

According to the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund, the Fort Worth city code classifies vehicles as “food establishments” and “…the city claimed that the containers were from an unapproved source since Hooley’s license was under suspension at the time of the raid.”

As a result of his guilty verdict, Hooley has been ordered to pay $1,500 in fines and an additional $67 in court costs. Hooley has not yet decided whether to appeal.

Read more details about Hooley’s trial, verdict, and responses from the public via the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund.

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Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation Backs Farm-Friendly Bills for 2015-16 Legislative Session

The Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation is backing 15 bills in the 2015-16 legislative session that are friendly to small farms, removing red tape that is harmful to their small businesses.

Currently, Massachusetts state law allows raw milk to be sold to consumers on the farm, but Bill S.419 proposes allowing farmers to deliver raw milk to consumers – a change that would bolster sales.

Other changes that would result from these bills being passed include state standards for humane treatment of livestock, the creation of a farm-friendly plumbing code, the creation of a committee to protect honeybees, and easing the process of opening slaughterhouses.

Read more via Mass Live.

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