Law

The Weirdest Food Laws In America

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We’ve all heard of “crimes against food,” but it turns out laws involving the stuff you eat are totally real, and in some cases, totally ridiculous. Since you’re probably not familiar with all the weird food legislation that has passed into law, we decided to round up some of the best. Laugh all you want, but seriously, we didn’t make this stuff up. Felony melon possession On a beautiful sunny day, there’s nothing quite like having a relaxing picnic in the park with a big juicy slice of watermelon. Unfortunately for the park goers in Beech Grove, Indiana, watermelon is not an option for their picnic baskets. Watermelon has been banned from the parks thanks to their sharp rinds puncturing trash bags. Even still, a member of the Beech Grove police department has said that he’s never seen the ordinance enforced, so your melons are safe…for now.

Better butter behind bars When it comes to the debate of margarine versus butter, the debate can get a little…slippery. “I can’t believe it’s not butter!” While some people actually prefer the taste of the butter substitute, others just can’t tolerate the fake stuff.

And the entire state of Wisconsin falls into the latter category. When margarine came to the US in the 1800s, it was soon banned in several states as a way to protect the American dairy industry. But its low cost won people over, and eventually it was eased into the American market, at least everywhere except Wisconsin. By the mid-1960s and up through today, Wisconsin is the only remaining state banning margarine. Of course, due to new health guidelines and tight budgets, many schools, hospitals and some county jails now serve butter substitutes. State prisons, however, are still on the hook for serving the real stuff. Guess there’s at least one perk to being incarcerated, that is, if you’re one of the people that prefers butter. Pernicious pickle procedures Making pickles is relatively easy. Take some firm cucumbers, pack them into a jar with a brine of vinegar and salt water, and let it all sit for a couple days in the fridge before eating. That’s not too complicated, right? Well, if you live in Connecticut, it’s actually not complicated enough. In the Constitution State, if a cucumber doesn’t bounce, then it can’t be called a pickle.

This isn’t technically a law, but there are several statutes and regulations in place that suggest that a pickle that does not bounce isn’t much of a pickle at all. In fact, one man was arrested and fined $500 for selling non-bouncing pickles.

Get the fork outta here If you’re in Gainesville, Georgia it’s actually a crime to eat fried chicken with a knife and a fork. In this one particular southern town, fried chicken can only be eaten using your fingers. It sounds like a ludicrous law, but it’s real. It was created in 1961, and at the time was meant as a joke to reinforce the fact that the city is the poultry capital of the world.

And no one’s above this law, either: according to The Gainesville Times, Ginny Dietrick was enjoying fried chicken in town on her 91st birthday when she was arrested for using a fork. Although the whole thing turned out to be a prank, the law actually exists, and she still needed to be pardoned by the mayor. No prudent pop precautions It’s no secret that here in America, we love large portions. And in Mississippi, they really love large portions, so much that they passed a law protecting them. In 2013, the Mississippi government made it illegal for any county or town to pass a law restricting portion sizes. Want a supersized Coke at the drive-thru? Go right ahead. Mississippi blesses your decision. The new law was dubbed the “Anti-Bloomberg Bill” in honor of the New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who placed a ban on restaurants and other food retailers from serving sugary drinks in more than 16-ounce servings. But Mississippi, home of one of the country’s highest obesity rates, thinks that if you want to drink a soda the size of a child, then dammit, you should: “Individuals have to make decisions on how much TV they watch, how much they exercise, what they put into their bodies. Those are things that the government cannot dictate.” Those New Yorkers can do what they want, but Mississippi is sticking with the Big Gulp. A toadally weird law While it may not appear too often on menus in the States, frog legs is a relatively common dish around the world. In California, though, once you turn a regular frog into a competition frog by entering it into a frog-jumping contest, it’s officially off the table for consumption. According to a state law passed in 1957, you may possess as many of these hopping competitors as you wish, but if one just so happens to die or is killed, you absolutely may not eat it. So much for that champion frog leg appetizer you’ve been dreaming of, at least in California.

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Read More: 22 CRAZY LAWS From Around The World!

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