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House Approves Less Strict Food Inspections for Non-Profits

Homemade pies, jams and cookies served by churches and social groups would be exempt from inspection by local health departments under legislation the House approved Monday. KSMU's Missy Shelton has this story.

Representative Steven Tilley says the local health inspectors in his rural district are overzealous when it comes to overseeing food sales by non-profit groups.

He and a majority of lawmakers voted for a bill that would exempt certain foods at events like church bake sales from health inspections.

Specifically, local health inspectors would no longer supervise the sale of foods like bread, popcorn, and fruit by non-profit groups.

Other foods including any dish containing meat would still be subject to inspection.

Tilley says he became involved with this issue after hearing about a situation that occurred with a civic group trying to sell popcorn.

But some representatives raised concerns about loosening food inspection requirements on any food.

Representative Patricia Yeager says it's not smart to limit inspections that are designed to protect Missourians from food-borne illnesses.

And Representative Rick Johnson pointed out there's no move to exempt for-profit restaurants or bakeries from health inspections.

He asked why it's appropriate to hold non-profit groups to different standards.

Now that the bill containing the inspection exemption for non-profit groups has House approval, lawmakers must reconcile it with the version the Senate passed.

They have until Friday, the last day of the session to work out a compromise.