Challenge To Minnesota Food Licensing Law Continues.

The plaintiffs bake food products in their homes from custom-built kitchens separate from their family's kitchens.  The plaintiffs sought to expand their sales beyond merely farmers' markets or community events and did not seek licensing under the Minnesota Consolidated Food Licensing Law (Minn. Stat. Sec. 28A).  No licensing and payment of licensing fees is necessary for non-hazardous food sold at a community event or a farmers' market where gross receipts generated are less than $5,000 in a calendar year.  Similarly, no licensing is required for persons receiving less than $5,000 in gross receipts in a calendar year from the sale of home processed and home-canned food products.  The plaintiffs challenged the law as unconstitutional on equal protection and due process grounds.  The trial court dismissed the case for failure to state a claim.  On appeal, the court reversed and remanded.  The appellate court determined that, on the equal protection issue, the trial court erred by comparing licensed food handlers with unlicensed food handlers where the correct comparison should be between two groups of unlicensed food handlers - those who meet the sales-cap and venue restrictions and those who do not.  The court remanded the case to adequately develop the record for a determination as to whether the statutory exceptions satisfied the rational basis test.  Astramecki, et al. v. Minnesota Department of Agriculture, No. A14-1367, 2015 Minn. App. Unpub. LEXIS 470 (May 18, 2015).

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