If you live in Colorado, you might want to be careful about from where you get your meat—once Colorado Senate Bill (SB) 21-079 is passed by Governor Jared Polis, not all meat has to be licensed and inspected before sale.
If the bill passes, consumers will be able to buy shares of animals to be butchered at facilities not inspected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Animal shares will require money upfront, and if a consumer gets sick or dies from pathogens like Escherichia coli 157:H7, they're out of luck: SB 21-079 eliminates consumers' right to sue, under the program.
The aim of the bill is to make locally sourced meat more available, says Polis. The bill is sponsored by Senator Jerry Sonnenberg, R-Sterling, a rancher who said he became concerned during the COVID-19 pandemic about meat supplies and production.
The new law will permit sales of many shares of meat without licensure, regulation, or inspection by a public health agency. These animals include cattle, calves, sheep, poultry, hogs, rabbit, and fish.
Consumers must be told up-front that the sale is not regulated, and the meat is not for resale. SB 21-079 states that "the bill clarifies that the seller is not liable in a civil action for damages caused by inadequately cooking or improperly preparing the animal or meat for consumption."
The bill does require a single brand inspection before slaughter, but it does not specify whether sellers are liable for other causes of action.