Until last month, the state could require a license to sell home baked cookies or cakes in North Dakota. But that is no longer the case following Gov. Doug Burgum’s signature, on April 14, of HB 1433, a “Food Freedom” bill deregulating the sale of many cottage foods such as baked goods, jams, jellies, and other homemade food and drink.
The bill liberated cottage foods in several key ways. First, it allowed the sale of cottage food products, without needing to obtain a license, for home consumption. However, these goods cannot be sold online, over the phone, through the mail, or by consignment. Second, the law exempts egg products from having to grade eggs when only selling from their own flock production. Third, the law required that sellers have a sign or labels on products that state, “This product is made in a home kitchen that is not inspected by the state or local health department.”
North Dakota’s bill was modeled after a similar Wyoming law, the Food Freedom Act, which was adopted in 2015 and expanded in March 2017. Despite fearmongering from early naysayers that deregulating cottage foods would be a health risk for Wyomingites, state Rep. Tyler Lindholm said to Reason, “Wyoming has seen the exact opposite that these do gooders predict…Wyoming[’]s local food options have exploded and we still have had 0 foodborne illness outbreaks due to this Act passing into law.”
In addition to North Dakota and Wyoming, food freedom bills were also filed in California, Florida, Montana and Texas in the 2017 legislative session. Only two states ban the sale of home baked goods, Wisconsin and New Jersey, and the Institute for Justice is currently challenging the Wisconsin ban.