We all know that there are some strange laws out there, but did you know that there are actual “laws” to protect some of our precious food? Well, it’s true and some of them you wouldn’t believe. Here are the Top 10 Weirdest Food Laws in The US.
15. Indiana And Watermelon
Is there anything more refreshing and satisfying than a big, juicy slice of watermelon on a hot summer day? When you’re out and about, with a picnic basket in hand, looking for the perfect spot to savor your delicious fruit, a park sounds like the destination of choice. However, if you’re in Indiana, that option isn’t always available. In Beech Grove, it is illegal to eat watermelon in parks. Why such a silly ban? It all started when park staff realized that the watermelon’s sharp rinds would often punch through garbage bags and cause big messes that were hard to pick up. To prevent the situation from happening again, an ordinance was put into motion, and the fruit was banned. Apparently, though, the ordinance isn’t really enforced that much, and no one has had a legal issue after eating watermelon. So, munch away, but just make sure you throw your rinds elsewhere – you never know who’s watching.
14. Georgia And Fried Chicken
To be honest, there are some foods that would just feel wrong to eat with a fork. When it comes to pizza, burgers, and even corn on the cob, there’s just this kind of unspoken rule that the only utensils you should use are your hands. But, funnily enough, in Gainesville, Georgia, there is an actual law declaring that eating fried chicken with a knife and a fork is a crime. This southern town, also known as the Poultry Capital of the World, takes its chicken very seriously, and it can only be eaten with your fingers – or else. A woman named Ginny Dietrick was even arrested on her 91st birthday for eating her fried chicken with a fork. Okay, yes, the whole thing turned out to be a playful prank, but still! The law was created back in 1961, and even though it was meant as a joke, it is still very much respected today.
13. Wisconsin And Margarine
The debate between whether margarine is as good as butter ruffles a lot of feathers, especially in Wisconsin, a state with high regards for the dairy industry. It’s been such an intense argument there, that to this day, there is still a very serious ban on margarine in every state institution, including schools, hospitals, and prisons. Back when margarine was first introduced in the US in the 1800s, it was marketed as a cheaper version of butter, which didn’t sit right with people at first. But, after the original ban was lifted, it slowly won the hearts of Americans everywhere. Well, everywhere except Wisconsin, of course – it’s the only remaining state to ban margarine. With this info in hand, it’s a pretty safe bet that Wisconsin isn’t the biggest fan of the stuff. Because of some health concerns and budget issues, some institutions have found a way to serve margarine, but unless they know the loopholes, everyone is served butter.
12. Mississippi And Portion Control
We can probably all agree that in America, big portions reign supreme. Supersize, jumbo, extra-large, we can never seem to get enough. However, some states have taken the matter into their own hands and decided to ban supersized portions. Mississippi, on the other hand, went in another direction: they made it illegal to make it illegal. It doesn’t make sense, does it? Basically, it passed a law that makes it illegal for any county or town to pass a law restricting portion sizes. The law states that the government shouldn’t micro-regulate citizens’ dietary decisions, and everybody should be free to order whatever they like. Even though Mississippi has one of the highest obesity rates in the U.S., the law has stuck. Dubbed as the “Anti-Bloomberg Bill” in honor of New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who tried to ban the sale of super-sized soft drinks, the portion control law lets you make your own food decisions. It’s up to you to decide if it’s a good thing or not.
11. Connecticut And Pickles
There is so much to know about pickles. For example, some people might not be aware of how relatively easy the process is to make them. Or better yet, some people might not even know that they’re made from cucumbers! And for those who aren’t from the state of Connecticut, you might not know that a pickle can’t be called a pickle unless it bounces. Yes, a little random, but the state is very serious about its pickles. While it isn’t technically an actual law – that would be too hilarious – there are still several statutes and regulations put in place that reinforce this idea which keeps vendors from selling subpar pickles. Once, two men were even arrested for selling un-bouncing pickles and fined $500. I guess you could say they both find themselves in quite of a pickle.
10. Arkansas And Sandwich Shops
Unless it’s to warn someone about an immediate road hazard, no one likes to use a car horn. It’s disruptive, loud, and, quite frankly, sometimes downright insulting. But, from time to time, it’s necessary, especially if someone is about to ram into your car or is stopped at a green light. Well, that is, unless you’re in Little Rock, Arkansas, and you happen to be driving past a sandwich shop after 9 pm. If that’s the case, then, according to the law, it’s illegal to honk your horn. And it’s not only sandwich shops, but anywhere where they sell cold drinks. The reasoning behind this law isn’t all clear, but it has something to do with car horns being a noise disturbance for the diners of the shops, which is apparently taken very, very seriously. Obviously, it’s always easier to finish a late-night sandwich without getting honked at.
9. Delaware And Picnics
There’s nothing better when it’s nice outside than going on a picnic. On a blanket, on the beach, at a picnic table, any spot is the right spot to enjoy delicious food and nice weather. Every spot except for one place in Delaware, the highways. It might sound like an obvious picnic no-no, but the government of Delaware still felt the need to make this an actual law, meaning there must have been more than one occurrence of this picnic shenanigans. The law dictates that no one can tailgate within the limits of Fenwick Island, whether it’s in a vehicle or a picnic on a street or highway, as it could cause traffic jams. Of course, that’s the last thing you would want, especially during rush hour. But, just to make sure, you’d have to find out if light snacking while driving on the highway is considered illegal because it would be a real shame to pass on those long-drive snacks!
8. North Carolina And Cooking Grease
Stealing is bad – everybody knows that. No matter what you steal, it should be illegal, but there are some things that feel like they should be punished a little more severely than if you steal, let’s say, cooking grease. But, in North Carolina, cooking grease is a sacred thing, and it’s considered a crime to take it without asking. Your punishment will depend on how much of the stuff you steal. If you take under $1000 worth, it’ll be a Class 1 misdemeanor, which is along the lines of assault or battery – landing you up to 150 days in jail. But, if you steal quantities over $1000, you’re looking at a felony, which could set you back a couple of years. It might seem a bit intense to send people to jail for stealing grease, but since it’s actually used in many things like beauty products and animal feed, the market needs to be respected.
7. Indiana and Soda
We’ve already talked about Indiana and its ban on watermelon in parks, and now, get ready for the soda pop ban. Indeed, if you ever find yourself in a liquor store and you fancy a soda to go along with your purchase, then you will be out of luck since it’s illegal for a liquor store to sell refrigerated soda. But the law doesn’t end there. It’s also illegal for them to sell chilled mineral water, charged water, grenadine, ginger ale, and flavoring extracts. It’s as if they were trying to stop every classic cocktail from being made, but when you look at other laws in Indiana, it kinda makes perfect sense. Grocery stores can’t sell cold beer, which is something the state has fought hard over the years to preserve since it’s one of the things that sets them apart. In other words, you can buy your beer at your grocery store, but if you want it cold, you need to go somewhere else.
6. Florida And Dress Codes
Usually, if you work in the food industry, it’s up to your employer to decide what you should wear to work. Whether it’s a uniform or a dress code, you have to dress according to the company’s standards. However, in Broward County, Florida, what you wear is according to the law. It’s targeted toward mobile food vendors and dictates what they can and can’t wear to do their job. Apparently, food vendors are not allowed to dress provocatively in any way, as it could cause an obstruction to traffic or be a driving hazard. The list of acceptable and unacceptable clothing goes on and on, and while some of the restrictions make sense, it’s hard to believe someone would ever work at their food truck wearing a bathing suit, even if they could. Somehow, Broward County still found it important to legislate the “proper work etiquette” to follow while selling food by the side of the road.
5. California And Frog Legs
It’s not everyone who’s a fan of frog legs, but it’s still a thing – especially overseas. This delicacy is rather controversial in many parts of the world, but in California, there’s a very weird and specific law regarding the type of frogs that can be eaten. Once you enter a frog into a frog-jumping contest, it has immunity from ending up on your table. According to the law, you can have in your possession as many competition frogs as you’d like, but when they die, you cannot, under any circumstances, eat them. Instead, if they happen to die or get killed, you need to destroy them as soon as possible and not use them for any other purpose. Since frog-jumping competitions are a pretty popular pastime for some Californians, this might be the best way to save the frogs from ending up on plates!
4. Alaska And Moose
Whenever you visit a place with a lot of wildlife, it’s always important to be informed of the laws to avoid making a faux pas. Most regulations are similar, and all involve stuff like not feeding the animals. But, in Alaska, they take things even further than this: you cannot give any kind of alcohol to a moose. A little specific and a little weird, yes, but it turns out the law was put in place for a very specific reason. Back in 2007, a moose – now named Buzzwinkle by the media – somehow found its way into a local brewery’s supply during the holidays and was seen stumbling down the streets, getting tangled in Christmas lights, tripping over, the whole nine. Since moose are considered to be one of the world’s most dangerous animals, they are no longer allowed to celebrate in any way. Basically, don’t booze up the moose!
3. Alabama And Ice Cream Thieves
Everybody likes ice cream. It’s always a nice, fun treat to indulge in and a great treat on a summer day. On the other hand, no one likes a thief, which is why, in Alabama, it is allegedly illegal for you to walk down the street with an ice cream cone in your back pocket. But, why would you even put an ice cream cone in your back pocket, to begin with? Well, back when the main way of transportation was horses, thieves would put ice cream in their pockets to lure horses away and steal them without ever being charged. While today, most people aren’t trying to steal horses away and prefer to eat their ice cream the traditional way, Alabama still takes this issue to heart. Whether this is still enforceable or not, you shouldn’t risk it. So stick to holding the cone in your hand.
2. Iowa And Ice Cream Trucks
Ice cream is so tasty; it deserves another entry on this list. But who knew their were a bunch of rules attached to it, depending on where you live. As the weather gets warmer and people start going out more, it’s inevitable that you will eventually stop for ice cream somewhere. Do you remember, as a kid, running down the street the second you heard the ice cream truck coming down the street? Yea, well, kids in Iowa have yet to experience that feeling since ice cream trucks are banned there. Today, some people argue that they’ve seen some trucks roaming around, and the law is slowly becoming less strict, but chances are, you won’t find one in every neighborhood. Here’s a little tip, if you like ice cream, don’t visit Indiana in the summer; you’ll probably end up being disappointed.
1. Kansas And Vending Machines
We’ve all been there: you go to the vending machine to get a snack, put your money in, and bam, your bag of chips gets stuck. What you would usually do is give it a little nudge in hopes of making the bag fall, and if that didn’t work, a good old smack on the glass or a good shake would do the trick. However, if you’re in Kansas, you might want to refrain from doing that, as it is illegal to hit a vending machine. So, even if it shamelessly stole your money, there is very little you can legally do to get it back. Just sit back and hope your snack magically decides to come down. There is no use crying over some wasted loose change, right? Especially in Kansas.