Food sovereignty law leaves Maine meat producers without approved slaughterhouses

“In practical terms, it means consumers can buy directly from farmers and food producers in those communities who are operating outside of state and federal licensing. The legislation was intended by those who shaped it, including state Sen. Troy Jackson, D-Allagash, its sponsor, and state Rep. Craig Hickman, D-Winthrop, who has put forth numerous similar bills, as a means to encourage local food production and consumption.

“Perhaps with the best intentions,” Walt Whitcomb, Maine’s commissioner of agriculture, said during an appearance on a radio show Wednesday morning.

Problems ensued when the USDA said it would have to take control of inspections unless the law was amended to make it clear that state regulators can continue their work protecting Maine’s meat supply, regardless of whether a municipality is “food sovereign” or not.”

Food law leaves Maine meat producers squealing for a fix