We’ve just learned from the Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance that Harris County Health Department’s lobbyists (paid for with our tax dollars) have forced the addition of an amendment to the food bill SB 81 that deleted the words “or a farmers market” from the cottage foods bill. That deletion limits unregulated cottage food sales to homes. Representative Kolkhorst had amended the bill, a general food safety bill, to include the farmers market provision.
FARFA states that the Harris County Public Health Department “has been one of the major barriers to any reform of the laws governing local foods. The Department hired lobbyists using Houstonians’ tax dollars and opposed the raw milk bill, the farmers market bill, and the cottage foods bill. Harris County was reportedly responsible for killing HB 2084 (the local foods omnibus bill) in the Local & Consent Calendars Committee so that it was not voted on by the House.”
Who controls the Harris County Health Department? Who is worried about the competition from local farmers and small food producers at farmers markets? Those of us who want to eat real, healthy foods and actively supported these bills must be causing these controllers great concern if they feel compelled to force amendments and kill raw milk access bills. I think we need to know who is really behind these actions and who is approving use of Harris County taxpayers’ money to work against the citizens of Harris County, as well as all of Texas, by hindering our access to real food.
For the full text of FARFA’s email, go to the news page on the WAPF Houston-Galveston Chapter website.