As may be unknown to many consumers, it is actually illegal to buy cuts of meat directly from farmers and ranchers.
That’s right, if you wanted to go down the street to Rancher Joe and buy some juicy steak for dinner that night, that’s technically illegal.
Many of you have probably been doing this for a long time! Well, we’re not here to rain on your parade…in fact, it may not be so illegal for that much longer, at least in Wyoming, that is.
As reported by Reason, a new amendment to a law called the “Food Freedom Act” would allow consumers to buy meat directly from ranchers.
This is illegal in the rest of the nation, mainly because it circumvents the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s meat safety inspection process.
Now, there are some nuances to the amendment that are worth explaining. The way it would work, is that ranchers and farmers would be able to sell “herd shares” for their livestock, so that the animals are in a way, owned by those who eventually plan to purchase the meat. That way, the consumers do not have to go through the federal meat inspection standards, since technically, it was their animal they are going to be eating.
Now, of course meat inspections are important. But if a local rancher has trust within the community to handle animals and meat with care, it is up to the consumers participating in the herd share program whether they want to trust this process.
If you’re that concerned about the quality with a local rancher, then keep on buying your meat from the grocery store. No one is stopping you.
The so-called “loophole” here that Wyoming is looking to take advantage of has been on the books for a while. In the Federal Meat Inspection Act, there are exemptions for custom slaughtering of animals by and for the animals’ owners.
Keep in mind, this Wyoming amendment is only applicable to direct sales to private consumers. A restaurant cannot make a deal with a local rancher to then resell the meat they have obtained through their herd share agreement. Neither can a supermarket or any other store.
Kudos to Wyoming for thinking of unique, outside-the-box ways of reducing prices for customers to get fresh meat directly to the dinner table.
As our country recovers economically from the coronavirus crisis, we’ll need as many of these free market ideas as we can get.
You can read the full article at Reason.com.