It seems like everywhere I turn these days, the topic relates to “slow food.” Maybe it’s just because I live in Seattle, where farmers’ markets and restaurants claiming fresh, locally sourced products are ubiquitous. Or maybe it’s because I’m a mom, and I see parents on the playground giving their kids only whole grain, organic, vegan, free-range snacks. But, the trend is undeniable.
What is “slow food”? According to SlowFoodUSA.org, it is an “idea, a way of living and a way of eating. It is part of a global, grassroots movement…which links the pleasure of food with a commitment to community and the environment.” Slow food could refer to food you buy from your local farm through a produce delivery service. Or it could refer to the method of cooking your food, with your own hands, using fresh ingredients that aren’t processed through an unnamed factory.
So, if you are a restaurant owner, distributor of organic foods, or if you would like to sell a product that consists of “slow food,” what legislation or laws affect you?
First, in order to claim your product or restaurant contains “slow food,” you should consult the FTC’s Green Guides which are the most comprehensive guidelines for making specific green-related claims. In addition, the FDA and USDA have guidelines relating to false or misleading green marketing claims.
Next, consider your state’s legislation that may help you sell your homemade product to consumers. Legislation in Washington and other states, called “Cottage Food Laws” allow state residents to sell food prepared in their homes, rather than in a commercial kitchen, directly to consumers.
Finally, consider local regulations that govern how and under what conditions food is sourced, prepared, and sold to the public. Local ordinances typically have a myriad of guidelines that can contain a maze of compliance requirements, forms, and reporting obligations.
The future looks bright for the slow food movement, if my fellow moms are any indicator. Look for legal trends to follow, which may both bolster and hamper the slow food movement.