It has to be frustrating if you’re Rep. Luke Simons (R – District 36)– the primary sponsor of the Food Freedom Act (HB 1433). This bill was once known as the "Raw Milk Bill". Unfortunately, common sense did not prevail in the House Agriculture Committee as they gutted the bill by removing the raw milk portion of it before sending it to the House floor. Apparently the concept of "informed consumer" and freedom are foreign to some.
In the back and forth of the House floor debate on Wednesday, the concern was repeatedly brought up that there is a lack of regulatory authority in the bill. Ummm… that’s the point of it. As if we need the nanny state to protect us. Do we lack that much confidence and faith in consumers to make wise decisions in relation to what producer they purchase from? Rep. Rick C. Becker (R – District 7) nailed it in the floor debate… the market will take care of issues like this.
Rep. Dan Ruby (R – District 38) rightly pointed out that there are inspected kitchens that have poor reputations and that the products referenced in the bill are typically superior in quality. Rep. Mike Schatz (R – District 36) pointed out that places like Chipotle – and others – have had issues with food borne illness from time to time as well.
If you’ve ever watched the popular television series Kitchen Nightmares, with it’s host, Gordon Ramsey, you can get a pretty good indication of how horrific some "inspected" food businesses can be. Pretending that the government can somehow save us from ourselves or others is a bit on the disingenuous side.
There are lots of interesting facts, figures, and studies that can be cited on this issue. And believe me, there are many. But too often, lost in the debate of the Food Freedom Act, is the fundamental issue to all of it that Rep. Becker eluded to… North Dakotan’s should have the ability to buy and sell these products without intervention, because it’s not the proper role of government to tell us otherwise. Besides, it’s been a way of life for American’s for hundred’s of years now and it’s served us pretty darn well.
With it’s passage in the House, the bill will now go to the Senate. If they had any good sense and devotion to the proper role of government, they’d amend it to include raw milk again, pass it, send it back to the House, and then on to the governor’s desk for a signature. But that would require limited government and common sense. Both of which aren’t exactly prevalent at the State Capitol.
When it comes to the principles of Liberty, some people get it and some people don’t.