Constitutional Law

Maine Town Declares Food Sovereignty, Inspiring a Movement

As state lawmakers debate whether food such as raw milk can safely be sold to informed consumers, the residents of a Maine community have seized the day and recognized a right to do so.

Under a so-called food sovereignty initiative unanimously approved at a March 5 town meeting by 100 or so residents of Sedgwick, producers may sell local food products without regard to federal and state regulations deemed to be a usurpation of citizens’ rights to eat food of their own choice, reports Food Safety News.

Three other towns in Hancock County are now on the verge of adopting similar measures that allow the sale of local food that doesn’t comply with standard inspection and processing rules.

State officials are taking a hands-off approach to the issue of their regulatory power while waiting to see how the legislature decides several food bills currently under consideration.

The state Department of Agriculture, Food and Rural Resources “has not been aggressive on this subject, in part because these areas are currently before the state legislature,” Commissioner Walter Whitcomb tells the publication. “Our staff has been dealing with these concerns for several years, but they’ve come to a head this year. We kind of wanted that to work through the process before we became more active in enforcement.”

Hat tip: Above the Law.

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