Despite the Guild’s — and many other dairy interests — public testimony against LD 725 An Act To Recognize Local Control Regarding Food Systems, the Governor signed a modified version into law on June 16th. It asserts the right of municipalities to regulate “food systems” within their municipal boundaries, but also specifies that food “intended for wholesale or retail distribution outside of the municipality” must still be regulated by State rules.
However, this will allow the legal sale of unlicensed cheese and dairy products at local farmers markets (depending on the market’s own rules regarding their vendor’s licensing requirements) as well as food retailers. It may be obvious to point out that this also means that non-residents of these municipalities that have deregulated food production can travel to those markets to purchase un-regulated food. It is also not clear how fully customers will be notified about items that are not produced under State regulations, and how well a consumer will have access to and be able to grasp the municipal regulations (or lack of) which are likely to differ in each town.
Linked here is the Guild’s public testimony given at the Ag Committee’s hearing on LD 725.