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Cottage food proponents say proposed North Dakota rules are too onerous and would restrict certain foods for sale, such as canned green beans. Pixabay

Special meeting set for North Dakota cottage food rules

BISMARCK — North Dakota's State Health Council will hold a special meeting next week to consider controversial rules proposed for cottage food sales.

The rules came after the 2019 Legislature defeated a bill meant to clarify legal definitions related to cottage food sales. The state Health Department says the law — passed in 2017 to expand direct-to-consumer sales of uninspected home-baked and canned products — needs rules for clarification and to safeguard public health.

Cottage food proponents say the rules are too onerous and would restrict certain foods for sales, such as canned green beans. Other opponents of the rules say the Health Department has no authority to bring rules to the law.

The Health Department received more than 50 written comments on the rules, most of them in opposition.

The rules essentially mirror the failed 2019 bill, which was defeated over arguments surrounding health risks and "food freedom."

The State Health Council will meet at 3:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 28, in Conference Room 212 of the state Capitol's Judicial Wing. The only agenda item is "Approval of proposed rules to NDAC 33-33-10, Preparation of Cottage Food Products for Sale."

The 11-member State Health Council is the Health Department's governing and advisory board. It includes two state senators.

The Legislature's Administrative Rules Committee eventually will review the rules to make any recommendations.

North Dakota's attorney general's office has already reviewed and approved the proposed rules.

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