Let's just go on a little political rant here for a second...
There are several food-related bills being reviewed in Alaska right now, almost all of them will put really heavy burdens on small agriculture producers and artisan processors. The justifications being used are 1) public safety from food-bourne illness through pre-emptive measures, 2) compliance with Federal (DEC, USDA, FDA) regulations, 3) other states have done it; and 4) other small operators elsewhere have managed to keep afloat while adhereing to these or similar restrictions.
OMG -- is that is soooo FASCIST!! Enforced restriction prior to offense is at the heart of every dictatorship. But I'm not even going to go there for now. I'm just going to talk about logistics and level of jurisdiction here.
1) Federal Gov't, in the Constitition, was only granted jurisdiction over Interstate Commerce... if my goods don't cross the state line, they should kindly F-Off!
2) State Gov't, ideally, should only have jurisdiction over commerce that crosses intrastate localities... so, if I only produce and sell my goods in the same city/town/county that I live in, they should kindly F-Off!
3) Alaska is not like the rest of the country. Period. Considering the large land mass, limited population, and limited road system it is just not reasonable to require a small farmer/artisan trying to feed their local village of 100 or so people to jump through all the hoops that you'd require of a larger producer who intends to sell to a larger population much farther from home.
Take for instance meat processing. It is illegal to sell butchered meat without having it inspected... there are only a couple of licensed and inspected slaughterhouses and processing plants in the state. Please tell me why someone in a village completely off the road system must somehow get their animals to one of these facilities hundreds of miles away, just to come back and sell that meat to their neighbor? It makes no sense and is completely impractical. It's also impractical for a small producer to build a facility that meets all the regulations and then try to get it inspected to obtain a license... there are only 2 inspectors in the entire state, and they only deem larger facilities worthy of the time and expense to visit them. Not even counting how a small village is going to afford a stainless steel kitchen, and multiple deep-freeze storage lockers when they can barely afford the fuel to keep the generator going for lights and standard refrigeration.
Really, this is so stupid. Small, local farmers and producers need to be exempt from the majority of bullshit regulations that are geared for large distributed producers. Give us a few practical and reasonable rules to follow, and only get up in our business IF someone actually gets hurt or sick. Really.
And back to food-bourne illness for a second... the governements would like us to believe that our food is going to kill us and that the only reason that we haven't all died from eating eggs or cheese or sausage already is because of their stringent regulations. OK --- maybe in the case of large production that is distributed all over the place and mixed in with everyone else's produce through a huge chain of unaccountable hands and modified and processed until it's hardly recognizable as food by the time it gets to your plate.
But, really, the risk of any food-bourne illness outbreaks from a small, local producer who is fully accountable to his customers because they are his neighbors and he has to look them in the eye when he sells to them is so astronomically low as to be non-existent. Plus, his neighbors have the opportunity to look at his set up, to know what type of person he is, to see for themselves whether the operation is sanitary... and they accept whatever marginal risks they may encounter buying and using his products. Period.
Come on folks... people have been buying food from their neighboring farms, butchers and bakers for all of human history with minimal regulation or intervention and the species has somehow managed to survive! If my neighbors want to buy my raw milk, or cheese, or sausage, or eggs, or meat... that's between us! You want disclosure... fine. You want reasonable sanitation... fine. You want your licensing fees and taxes... well, ok, fine. But stop trying to cripple the small farmer and the small village by burdening them with inappropriate and inapplicable regulations geared towards a completely different type of agri-business!