Biting the Hands that Feed Us: Food Laws vs. Culinary Reality

"Food Freedom" advocate Baylen Linnekin says fewer, smarter laws would make our food system more sustainable.

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As our world becomes more hyper-individualized, our taste in food is following suit. From cooking in our own kitchens to finding new creative dishes at restaurants, we're all becoming artisanal chefs and demanding gourmands. Yet politicians and activists, often in a misguided attempt to keep us safe, are passing increasingly bizarre and counterproductive laws to keep us from buying, making, and eating the food we want.

In Biting the Hands that Feed Us: How Fewer, Smarter Laws Would Make Our Food System More Sustainable, lawyer Baylen Linnekin gives readers a view of the overlooked consequences of the many absurd rules baked into America's food system. Since at least the New Deal, he writes, overreaching buttinskies on the federal and local level have tried to shut down entrepreneurs, charities, and even home gardeners who are just trying feed themselves and others. From the U.S. Department of Agriculture dictating how butchers cure meat to New York City's then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg banning food donations to homeless people to banning berry-picking in public parks, no food practice seems too small to regulate in the name of safety.

A solution, says Linnekin in an interview with Reason's Nick Gillespie, is to simply emphasize good outcomes rather than rigid processes. Linnekin, who founded the nonprofit Keep Food Legal and has served as an expert witness in an ongoing federal First Amendment food-labeling lawsuit, also writes about "food freedom" at Reason.com every Saturday (check out his archive here).

Edited by Joshua Swain. Cameras by Todd Krainin and Swain. Music by Podington Bear.

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  1. Wait, is it Saturday morning already?

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  2. “too many dumb laws get in the way of a sustainable, freer, better food system.”

    FIFY

  3. Politicians vs. Tasty, Delicious Food

    GHWB: 1
    Broccoli: 0

    1. Ketchup — still a vegetable?

  4. I wear my Keep Food Legal t-shirt all the time. Its fun to watch people read it and furrow up their brows, like “Isn’t food legal, WTF?” Nobody has been brave enough to ask me about it. But probably will read this book.

    1. The brow-furrowing is a reaction to the moobs.

      1. So you were ease-dropping this weekend when my wife said, “family pictures on Wednesday. You’re eating water, lettuce, and ex-lax for the next three days.”

      2. And the exposed midriff. “Why is it so shiny?!?”

    2. The book’s good, full of useful info and surprising facts that could never be in fiction because they aren’t plausible (like Bloomberg banning food giveaways because the city can’t monitor the salt and trans-fat), but not a page turner. I read a chapter or two a week, alternating with several other books.

  5. OT question. Is there any reason to think Steve Bannon is some kind of a white supremacist? Has he done anything to indicate that other than being the head of Breitbart? People seem to be shitting their pants over him and maybe they should. But I can’t see where the guy has done or said anything to warrant that. Am I missing something?

    1. He has an R after his name. That automatically makes him a racist, misogynist, homophobic, Islamophobic, white supremacist shitlord.

      Didn’t you get the memo?

      1. I got that memo. What I can’t figure out is why so many people on the right are claiming he is.

        1. well he is a friend of Trump so that makes him double dog bad even by RINO standards

      2. …cocksucker, motherfucker, four-flusher, ball buster….

      1. That is all pretty unconvincing. He doens’t like feminists and Breitbart had mean sounding headlines. Oh noes!!

        1. Some of it (especially the anti-Semitism) was bad, but it’s all being alleged by people who have grievances against him. Also, the left’s habit of making shit up out of whole cloth means I’ll reserve judgment until I hear hard facts.

          In worse news, that site may have had a bot on it. Anyone who went there should run an anti-virus scan.

          1. Note: John’s response was to a link I posted to some lefty site. I emailed Mike A to get it removed because I thought it might have a bot.

    2. According to the BBC, “A number of critics have denounced Mr Bannon as supporting white supremacism”. A number, John! What more do you want?

  6. I’d tell them to keep their stinking paws off my lutefisk, but it looks like there are plans to have the millenials ruin that for me

    1. A: yah, so I been havin’ a problem with skunks under my front porch.
      B: oh, yah?
      A: yah, I tried everything to get ’em outta there, but nothin’ works.
      B: have ya tried puttin’ some lutefisk under there?
      A: nah, but let’s give ‘er a shot, why not.

      A few days later…

      B: so hey, how ’bout them skunks, did ya try that lutefisk?
      A: oh yah.
      B: so, did it work?
      A: oh yah, it worked. Just one problem.
      B: oh yah, what’s that?
      A: well, the skunks are gone, but now I got a bunch a Norwegians under there.

  7. Is there a transcript? Because it’s a hell of a lot faster and less bandwidth wasting to read an interview than have to watch a video.

  8. RE: Biting the Hands that Feed Us: Food Laws vs. Culinary Reality
    “Food Freedom” advocate Baylen Linnekin says fewer, smarter laws would make our food system more sustainable.

    Oh, come on now.
    Who knows more about food, a bunch of clueless, faceless government officials, or cooks?
    We all know the answer to that one.

  9. Why is this not a recipe thread, or a booz

  10. Why is this not yet a recipe or booze thread? Now that I’ve moved in to a place w electric stove, I’m thinking of trying baking, 1st time in my life, maybe this winter. Until now the only experience I had w baking was not stomping around while Mother’s dough was rising, and I haven’t lit an oven since being shown how by someone in my apt. bldg. in the late 1970s.

  11. until I looked at the paycheck saying $4730 , I did not believe that…my… brother woz like actualy bringing in money part time from there computar. . there friend brother started doing this for less than 7 months and resently paid for the morgage on there home and bought a new Cadillac …….

    >>>>>>>>>http://www.centerpay70.com

  12. until I looked at the paycheck saying $4730 , I did not believe that…my… brother woz like actualy bringing in money part time from there computar. . there friend brother started doing this for less than 7 months and resently paid for the morgage on there home and bought a new Cadillac …….

    >>>>>>>>>http://www.centerpay70.com

  13. until I looked at the paycheck saying $4730 , I did not believe that…my… brother woz like actualy bringing in money part time from there computar. . there friend brother started doing this for less than 7 months and resently paid for the morgage on there home and bought a new Cadillac …….

    >>>>>>>>>http://www.centerpay70.com

  14. until I looked at the paycheck saying $4730 , I did not believe that…my… brother woz like actualy bringing in money part time from there computar. . there friend brother started doing this for less than 7 months and resently paid for the morgage on there home and bought a new Cadillac …….

    >>>>>>>>> http://www.centerpay70.com

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