A bill has been introduced in the Arizona Legislature that makes it a crime for anyone who would tamper with food for internet attention a crime.
A few months ago, a viral video showing a young woman removing the lid on a quart of Blue Bell ice cream, licking it, and then returning it to the store’s freezer shelf. The video went viral. According to a story which appeared on the Tucson.com website, such food tampering is not only considered unsavory, according to most health and food safety laws on the state and federal levels, it’s also illegal.
Representative T.J. Shope agrees. The Republican Representative has sponsored two bills, HB 2298 and HB 2299, and wants to make it a crime that is worthy of a prison sentence, depending on the circumstances surrounding the food tampering incident.
HB2298 and another separate bill would make it also a crime whenever a food delivery person or handler would sample food that is in a box or bag. It would make it a requirement for those who handle food to be licensed to do so. This would extend to services such as Door Dash, Uber Eats, and Postmates.
Other incidents of similar food tampering have been uploaded to video streaming services like YouTube. Because Shope has heard of food tampering incidents happening in Arizona, Shope believes the bills are necessary because law enforcement officials say that they have been unable to charge people in such events.
HB2299 is modeled after a Texas bill that makes it a Class 2 misdemeanor to: “knowingly introduce, add or mingle any bodily fluid, foreign object not intended for human consumption or unsanitary surface with any water, food, drink or other product that may be consumed by a human being.”
Those convicted of the crime would serve up to 4 months in jail and pay a fine of $750. If video is taken of the incident and uploaded to the internet, it then becomes a felony and would mean up to 1 year in a state penitentiary for violators.
A hearing on either of the measures has not yet been announced.