A new year means new laws…and lots of them. Food is a popular thing to regulate, with lawmakers protecting consumers through a variety of laws targeting food safety, allergies, healthy eating and sustainability. But what exactly are we facing now in 2014 when it comes to laws surrounding our sustenance?
The new regulations run the gauntlet from protective to peculiar. For one, mandatory calorie counts on your favorite convenience snacks sold in vending machines are now a federal law. Financial incentives to get schools to protect kids from food allergies and a ban on a popular seafood delicacy are some of the others gone into effect.
On the more eclectic side, pregnant women trying to fight or prevent postpartum depression might want to give birth in Oregon, where a new law allows moms to keep their placenta, so they can have it crushed to eat.
Plus, there’s plenty of controversy surrounding many of these new laws as well, like the debate over whether or not it’s a good idea for funeral homes to serve food. Some say “OK,” while others say “No Way!”
Even getting a drink can be controversial. One new Texas law could mean you’ll pay more in taxes for your cocktails than you’re used to. Meanwhile, a New Hampshire law for a later last call could help bars make money but the opposition doesn’t want an increase in booze-related hazards like accidents and fighting.
As legislators already begin drafting regulations for 2015, let’s have a look at some of the interesting ones that have been passed for this year in 2014.
1. Chronic in Colorado
The most talked about new law for 2014 is Colorado’s legalization of marijuana. Smoking or eating the drug is now legal in the Mile High City and other areas of the state. Time reports on the new “dinner and dope” combinations like honey miso salmon with Sour OG or Pakalolo shrimp with Pakistani kush.
2. Moms Keeps Placentas
New moms in Oregon can now take their placentas home from the hospital. Many mothers eat the placenta, which is crushed into capsules for consumption. Eating the placenta may help fight postpartum depression and restore pre-pregnancy hormone and nutrient levels. But there’s no research confirming eating placentas has medical benefit.
3. Covering Up
File this under “shouldn’t this already have been a law?” A new California food law requires no bare hand contact with ready-to-eat foods, such as salad, salad ingredients, bread, cold meats and sandwiches. Under the new law, food providers will have to use gloves or utensils when handling these read-to-eat foods. Isn’t that just good hygiene? But hey, if it takes a law to make sure workers are wearing gloves, that’s good for consumers, right? Still, chefs hate the new law, saying it’s a hindrance while prepping food like sushi. Plus, they say it’s bad for the environment since the gloves are thrown in the trash after use.
4. Allergy Awareness
The School Access to Emergency Epinephrine Act offers schools financial incentives to keep Epinephrine injectors on campus, since the medicine, if taken within minutes of exposure, can reverse the effects of an allergic reaction. Allergy experts say it’s a good idea since one in four kids first experiences an allergic reaction to food while at school.
President Obama, whose daughter Malia has a peanut allergy, signed the law after two separate incidences of students who had peanut allergies dying after nut exposure at school.
5. Funeral Food Ban
Forget seeking the comfort of food if you are attending a funeral in Connecticut. State law prohibits the serving of food and beverages during a funeral. The law has been on the books for a while but a 2014 law forces the state to have a 10 member committee study whether changing the law is a good idea or not. Proponents say “why not?” But opponents say funerals should be about the deceased, not who serves the best buffet.
Check out more new food laws.
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