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New Oklahoma law allows for anonymity on homemade food product labels

Passersby look at carrots, radishes and beets at a farmers market in Edmond.
Todd Johnson
OSU Agricultural Communication Services
Passersby look at carrots, radishes and beets at a farmers market in Edmond.

A new Oklahoma law will allow producers to use a label for homemade food products that does not include their full name, address and phone number.

Gov. Kevin Stitt signed House Bill 2975, which amends the Homemade Food Freedom Act, into law last week. The new law is designed to provide anonymity to producers who sell homemade food products.

Under the measure, homemade food product producers can register for a number through the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food, and Forestry to put on product labels.

The process is voluntary and would be used instead of a label showing the producer’s name, phone number and the physical address of where the product is produced, like is currently required. To get the number, producers need to pay a yearly $15 fee to the department.

Rep. Rick West (R-Heavener) and Sen. Warren Hamilton (R-McCurtain) wrote the legislation.

In a press release, West said a constituent who makes and sells homemade food products requested the measure.

"This is for the safety of the people that make food for sale in their homes," West said. "The government should have record of a producer's personal information in case there needs to be some recourse for a product sold, but the general public does not need a seller's private phone number or physical address. This also should help cut down on identity theft or fraud."

Homemade food products still must follow safety guidelines and labels need to list ingredients, common allergens and notice that the products were made in a private residence that are exempt from government licensing and inspection.

While being heard in the Senate, Hamilton said the measure was created because a producer received excessive attention from a customer at a farmer’s market. He said the customer was then able to basically stalk or harass the producer because of the information included on the label.

Senate Minority Leader Kay Floyd (D-Oklahoma City) said she was concerned that consumers might not be able to get the information from the department if a product caused them harm. She said there is no language requiring the department to release the information.

Hamilton said the process for handling the complaints is not outlined in the measure, but also said he thinks the procedure would be the same as other complaints. He said the thought of not being able to hold a producer accountable is a “bit of a stretch.”

The measure passed the House of Representative 89-0 and passed the Senate 37-6.

It takes effect Nov. 1.

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Anna Pope is a reporter covering agriculture and rural issues at KOSU as a corps member with Report for America.
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