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Maine's right-to-food amendment will be tested in new lawsuit over a Penobscot County business

This Jan. 29, 2016, photo, shows Blue Apron's Chicken & Sage Biscuit Pot Pie, in New York.
Bree Fowler
/
AP
This Jan. 29, 2016, photo, shows Blue Apron's Chicken & Sage Biscuit Pot Pie, in New York.

A home cook who wants to sell prepared meals out of her home is suing the state of Maine over "food freedom."

The lawsuit has been filed by the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund on behalf of Kenduskeag Kitchen.

The Fund's executive director, Alexia Kulwiec, says Kenduskeag Kitchen was told by the state last December it had to shut down because it didn't have a food establishment license. But Kulwiec says Maine's recent food sovereignty law assures local authority is recognized.

"The way we read the state law, folks have, if their township passes this ordinance, they have the right to do this kind of work," Kulwiec says. "And so, by not challenging it, I feel that the state will be able to come up with its own interpretation."

Kulwiec says the town of Kenduskeag has passed such an ordinance, and the business is also protected by Maine's new Right to Food Constitutional amendment. The Fund is seeking an injunction to allow Kenduskeag Kitchen to continue to operate while the lawsuit is pending.

A spokesperson for the Mills administration declined to comment on the litigation.