This article was originally published on Buzzerilla
From coast to coast, no two American states agree on many things. Believe it or not, the laws on dining start to get weird and wacky as you travel around the country. And if you're into food, and we all probably are, it's best to know what's going on legally to avoid getting into weird situations with the law. Here's a taste of the silliest food laws we've discovered across the USA. Careful, they may leave a bad taste in your mouth!
Every state has its stereotype, for better or for worse. New Jersey doesn't have the best reputation for manners. Some people think the Jersey Shore is pretty rude, for example. But there is one area of life where lawmakers have jumped into action to civilize the population. It is illegal to slurp your soup in the Garden State. Don't even think about doing it, or you might be shown the door, Jersey style!
Do residents even know this is the law? We haven't heard of a single case of it actually happening. It's time to publicize this hidden clause and let them vote on table manners. What will they decide, if given a chance?
When we think of places we would want to survive the apocalypse, cities are off-limits. Idaho is a great choice, by contrast. It's hardly populated, and there are vast, open spaces to grow potatoes. But maybe we are not the only ones who thought about that scenario. Lawmakers have already passed a law regulating when it is okay to eat human flesh. Only to survive. as it turns out!
Cooking another person is pretty gruesome, and we don't want to think about what that would taste like. But it's comforting to know that the option is there. Legally, too!
We all love to take that first satisfying bite of a burger we've ordered. It might be the best one, right at the beginning. But if you're crazy and you want to go around taking the first bite of everyone else's burgers, be aware that is illegal in the State of Oklahoma. It's incredibly rude, and it seems to have happened before. Lawmakers addressed the issue, and it's a crime.
We get the temptation, though. Wouldn't it be nice if every bite could be the first bite? Keep it a fantasy, and you'll stay out of jail in The Sooner State.
We've all had the urge before: Upon seeing a giant moose in the wild, we want to share a beer. No? Well, apparently, some people do, if the statutes in Alaska are to be believed. It looks like plenty of people in the city of Fairbanks tried to do that at some point. Today, it is a real law that you aren't allowed to give these animals alcohol. Yes, really!
Is this fair? We're not sure. But it might be safe, even if it has killed our fun. We reluctantly agree that it's probably best to keep creatures with large antlers sober.
Donuts are delicious, and donut holes are just as delightful. But it's not well known that the little balls from the middle were actually banned for about 100 years in Nebraska. In the town of Leigh until 1997, stores could sell all kinds of donuts, from cake to jelly. But the one thing they were stopped from doing was profiting off the extras. Why did local politicians even get involved?
There is a story to it, but we can't say we agree. People back then thought donut holes were technically a waste product. In their estimation, it was unfair to make more money. Strange logic, but this got enforced!
We all love to receive a hot, free pizza at our door. But we never want to get a pizza that no one bought, and we never ordered. It's an immature prank, and many teens have done it before. Maybe you tried with your ex, as revenge. But in Louisiana, that's not just a joke. It's a crime! Luckily, you won't have to do the time: It's just a $500 fine.
In a way, that's a relief. But let's be honest: That's a lot of money for a quick thrill. Authorities think this amount will detour tricksters. We think they're right!
New York boasts the biggest city in the country. New York City is impressive, but there are also plenty of quaint small towns and mountain resorts. There's so much to see in the state besides Manhattan, like the City of Greene. Around 5,600 people live there now, and it's a sweet escape from the big apple. Just be aware that the residents have one law you never break. Never, ever do this!
It is illegal to eat peanuts and walk backward on the sidewalk. You heard that right — and they're not changing their minds just for you. Eat your nuts like a civilized Greener, why don't you?
Vending machines were invented to offer convenience on the go. Folks are supposed to be able to get a drink or a snack, without the hassle of entering a store and standing in line. Most of the time, they function as advertised. But we've all had a frustration once or twice with this technology. Sometimes, an item just doesn't fall out of the slot. What's a law-abiding Kansas native to do?
That's already been addressed by politicians, actually. Keep your hands to yourself: You're not allowed to hit one of these boxes if it steals your dollar. The more you know!
There's lettuce, arugula, and spinach on land. But in the sea, one weed is king. That would be seaweed, and sushi lovers are already quite familiar with it. Most of the time, it comes dried and packaged from a factory far away. But if you live in certain areas, you might be lucky enough to collect it fresh. In Barrington, RI, residents have the right to do that. But you? No way!
Outsiders may think they are going to come and collect it for their own snacktime. But they will find out they are strictly banned. Don't even think about getting in on their supply!
At a funeral, the last thing you are thinking about is food. But there is a small gathering called a wake, and that's when items are put out for people to eat. If you're grieving, we bet you can't stomach a lot. That's why we are confused about a law that was passed in Massachusetts. Residents of this state are not allowed to eat more than three sandwiches at such an event. Really!
We don't even think people get cravings at that gathering. But maybe there were a few bingers that caused even more grief for widows by eating all the finger food. Lawmakers said no!
In Michigan, it gets colder than most of us would like to imagine. When people are trapped indoors for most of the winter season, it's easy to resort to alcohol for entertainment. But if you take the train home from your fiend's pad, be aware that there are rules. There is a law, actually, that you cannot be drunk on the train. That's not too much to ask, is it?
Don't be afraid to sip a brewski, but be wise about your consumption when in Michgan. There's a big difference between two and ten, and the train staff will be watching.
When you are in the mood for a cold glass of beer, it's always nice to add a snack to the experience. In South Dakota, you can get a pretzel along with your lager. But in its chilly sibling state, nothing could be further from the truth. North Dakota decided that beer and pretzels cannot be legally served at the time at a restaurant or bar. Why so salty, North Dakota?
We don't know who is behind the ban. Could it be the corn nuts or wasabi peas people? If they have lobbies, it's time to fight them where it counts.
Are you a total carnivore? In Mississippi, you can enjoy beef, pork, chicken, shrimp, and all the usual choices. But if you have a craving for cat, you're out of luck. It's officially illegal to sell kitty meat in The Magnolia State. We don't know if eating it is actually against the law, but there seems to be no way to buy it. Are you willing to do the dirty work?
We suspect you are not. Any curiosity about cat sandwiches will have to be explored in the other states. We don't know where, but it's time to start that research.
Georgia is a gorgeous state, most months of the year. It's the perfect place to take a stroll and enjoy an ice cream cone. But if you plan on doing that on Sundays, make sure you look up the local regulations. Although it's perfectly okay to consume the treat, don't you dare put it in your back pocket. Sound ridiculous? Lawmakers passed this bill long ago, and no one really knows its origins.
Perhaps there was a series of messy incidents in the old days. We have to imagine this must have been a frequent problem. But isn't it time for more personal choice?
Bingo isn't exactly a high octane, risky form of gambling. It's actually a casual activity for the elderly, most of the time. But in case you want to try your hand a card while you're in Raleigh or Charlotte, be aware that there are some restrictions on the game. If you planned to drink a glass of beer while crossing off numbers, cancel your plans. You can do that in Vegas, but the great state of North Carolina says no way.
We're surprised it's so regulated, but perhaps games got too rambunctious. Whatever the reason may be, beer and bingo just don't go together in The Tar Heel State. Sorry, folks!
Way up in the midwest, a snowy land called Minnesota is home to around 5 million Americans. Like everyone else in the country, they like to barbeque burgers year-round. But in at least one town called St. Cloud, the activity is prohibited on Sundays. Why that day? As an interpretation of the holy sabbath, the law was enacted a long, long time ago. And it's still on the books, today!
We have a feeling police officers don't go around snatching meat out of people's mouths. But technically, the law would empower them to do so. We hope they don't get any bright ideas from this list!
Nevada is the state that hosts the lights of Las Vegas. It's the best place in America to gamble and drink with friends or strangers. If you leave the big city, there are lots of little towns to explore. It's a whole different vibe, but if you planned on buying rounds for the entire table, mind the local laws. In the City of Nyala, it's usually illegal to do that.
A long time ago, a decision was made to ban buying drinks for three or more people at the same time. Perhaps they were trying to manage small, drunken gatherings?
Utah is the home of most Mormons in America. It's also the place where there's a giant salty lake, aptly named The Great Salt Lake. What else is going on there? Apparently, a lot of hostility against dairy lovers. Or at least, that used to be the case. The politicians passed a law that bans discrimination against "buyers of milk, cream or butterfat." That's great news, for anyone who loves those three products.
We know we do. The question is, why was there so much hatred against these people in the past? We think butter is pretty mild, as far as flavors go.
Hunting is a multi-billion dollar industry in America, and each state has different regulations. In Arizona, lawmakers decided they wanted to focus on needless killing and rotting carcasses. Currently, it's illegal to hunt and "knowingly permit an edible portion to go to waste." This applies to birds, fish, and other mammals. But the question is, who is watching after the fact? In our opinion, this seems unenforceable on its face.
Nevertheless, it is technically the law. If you value that, try eating all your fresh game with friends. Host a fish fry. And any extras could make great jerky, year-round.
There's an ongoing war between Wisconsin and California. The midwestern dairy powerhouse claims to be the cheese state. Its west coast rival says that happy cows come from California. What is the truth? Well, Wisconsin is certainly serious about its title. So much so, that lawmakers made it illegal to serve margarine in a restaurant unless the diner actually requested it. They don't take kindly to artificial smear, around those parts!
Don't get us wrong, there are plenty of yummy non-dairy spreads out there now. Vegans have great recommendations. But we respect the Wisconsin attitude. They believe in their signature product!
We've all had the afternoon food coma on the job. After lunch, it's really challenging to stay awake. But if you work in a cheese factory in South Dakota, be aware that you are not just going to get fired for falling asleep at work. The law has addressed this issue: It's actually illegal. Apparently, it must have been going on a lot and causing all kinds of cheesy chaos.
We don't know if employees let the milk curdle too long, or if they let it all spoil for hours. We just know if you do the crime, you'll do the time, cheese-wise.
There's nothing more refreshing on a South Carolina afternoon than a slice of watermelon. The fruit is a local favorite, and you can see it at just about any BBQ. But the City of Spartanburg has one special request. You can eat it anywhere you want, except for the Magnolia Street Cemetery. There is a law banning watermelon specifically, in that area, specifically. What in tarnation led to this regulation?
Maybe the tombstone staff kept finding rind all over the place. It's not the most respectful place to leave rotting rind, really. Maybe the law has its purpose, for Spartanburgers.
Many of us fall into the trap of ordering out every day at work. It can all add up, by the end of the month. It's also pretty unhealthy, with all the sugar and oil restaurants sneak in. The smarter workers pack ahead of time. If you live in Las Cruces, New Mexico, though, don't even think about showing off your lunch box in town. In that town, carrying such a box on main street is totally outlawed.
Why did this offend anyone, ever? We don't know. Maybe there was too much competition for the coolest Star Wars and Spiderman editions. Our guess is as good as yours!
In Tennessee, there is a law that might surprise outsiders. You can go around and collect roadkill and eat it for dinner, entirely hassle-free. Usually, strange food laws try banning something or other. But in this case, an unusual activity was legalized. Was this a local controversy, before? Perhaps roadkill enthusiasts were getting harassed by police, and they demanded a change in Nashville. Just how common is this activity though?
Hard to say, for sure. We hope this is just a theoretical proclamation about liberty. Maybe residents believe in the idea, but don't practice. The alternative is too nauseating to write!
Everyone has heard the old advice that you should never eat while you swim. Allegedly, you can get a cramp and drown. Experts have actually debunked that urban legend, but there is a reason to follow that advice in Maryland. According to the law, you cannot just swim around while eating a sandwich. Nor can do float whole eating pizza. It's just banned, and you need to respect this norm.
We think you will, honestly. Few would want to eat a soggy sandwich. There are better ways to have lunch, like all the beachfront cafes. Why wouldn't that be good enough?
If you were hoping to sleep outside on top of an abandoned refrigerator, we question your plan. But the idea might not even be possible if you want to do it in the state of Pennsylvania. Apparently, that activity has been outlawed. It must have been an ongoing problem for lawmakers to address it in the state congress. We don't understand why it was happening, but it's all over forever.
That is, unless Pennsylvanians change their hearts and minds. It is, after all, the site of the big signing of The Declaration of Independence. Why restrict this kind of independence?
When friends go out for a meal, it's always a struggle at the end to split the bill. Nobody likes to do the math when they're digesting. And if you're on a fifth date, it can be tricky to know who is supposed to pay. In Richmond, VA, you won't be able to solve that problem through a coin flip. We bet you don't do that anyway, but politicians were concerned that people would be doing it in diners.
It's illegal there to use a coin to make that decision. We don't know what kind of conflict caused this law to come into existence. Perhaps a two-headed coin cheater on the loose?
We all love a good bucket of fried chicken. If you happen to be down south, you can get the authentic variety, and not just quick KFC. In Georgia, be aware there are some restrictions on finger-licking good chicken. If you want to consume it, you actually have to use your fingers. That's right: It's actually illegal to use a fork. Why would politicians get involved with that kind of issue?
Georgia residents would tell them to stay off their plates if they knew this was a real law. But we assume it got buried in the books long, long ago.
If you've been planning a trip to South Berwick in Maine, you better figure out your parking when you visit the local Dunkin' Donuts. For whatever reason, it is illegal to park in front of the delicious facility on main street. We bet you will be tempted to do it, as we all would. Where else would you want to park while you go in and browse the sweet treats?
Maybe there is a reason the city wants this spot clear. Or maybe, this is a trap for outsiders: The city is bound to rake in revenue from tickets there. It's genius!
For those youngsters who dream of becoming a top chef. culinary school is the logical destination. While you learn from the best, it's necessary to taste everything as you cook. That way, you develop a refined palate to bring a world of taste to others someday. But a lot of students do this under the age of 21. How are they supposed to legally deal with all the wine at school?
Well, in the state of Ilinois, there is an answer. While it's illegal for them to drink whole glasses, they can taste the product and spit it out. Aclever legal loophole!
In many states, there is a push for more transparency at restaurants. Some places force fast-food chains to write the calories right on the menu. In Delaware, it's illegal for dining establishments to conceal the truth about their spreads. If they decide to serve margarine, they have to put up signs warning customers they are not actually eating butter. Were Delawareans just getting tricked into nasty margarine, left and right?
It seems there is a need for the disclosure, in the first state to join the union. Will other states follow? It seems like a local pet peeve, to us.
Texas is a place known for freedom, above all. It's the home of cowboys and sheriffs who lay down the law. That's how locals like it, and it's been that way forever. Private property in this state certainly includes cows, and we hope you are;t planning to sneak into someone else's barn to milk their animals. If you do, you will be branded a dairy thief. And that's absolutely a Texas crime!
We have personally never had the urge — but there seems to be some history there, enshrined in the letter of that law. Clearly, folks were testing it, at some point!
Equestrian is the fancy name for this kind of hobbyist. But we're not so fancy: We just call it horseback riding. Colorado is known to be a beautiful place to practice. The mountains are amazing scenery, and the fresh air is beneficial for humans and horses. But don't try to gallop around if you've just had a drink. That's totally illegal in The Centennial State. It's actually considered a non-motorized vehicle, and we see the comparison.
If you want to ride stallions drunk, try it in some other state, buddy. We're not sure what the law is for horses who like beer, though. That's a better question!
People have their hobbies, and we're not here to judge. If you've been hoping to get drunk and hang out with ghosts, please do it anywhere but the City of Claremont, New Hampshire. The residents there are not tolerant of such activity in their cemetery. They decided to send a strong message through their reps in government, they banned it. If you try it, you're in violation of the law. Boo!
There are still plenty of other graves to pass out on, all around The Granite State. Their official motto has been the same since the founding: Live free, or die!
In America, breakfast cereal is an entire aisle all by itself. There are different kinds for every day of the week, and even every day of the month. You actually never have to repeat if you like variety. But there is one day of the week where one type is restricted. in just one state. That would be Ohio, where it's illegal for stores to sell cornflakes on Sunday. What gives?
Well actually, it's just in one city: Columbus, OH. Th rest of the state isn't quite so extreme. They still sell cornflakes on the weekend. But who knows? Maybe it's a growing trend.
Some of our fondest summer memories might be the ice cream man coming around the neighborhood with his trick. Even from far away in the distance, we could hear the hypnotizing music calling our names, and our stomachs. It's hard to believe that any city could so cruel as to ban it outright. But that's exactly what happened in Indianola, Iowa. Some adult monsters decided the ice cream man is no longer welcome.
It's sad to think that a whole generation of kiddos won't get their creamsicles and rocket pops via truck. We don't support this law — and luckily, we don't live there.
In the old days, millions received a personal delivery of milk to their doorstep, each and every day. It was quite the operation if you think about it on that scale. Now, we usually buy it ourselves at the grocery store. But there are a few holdouts who prefer to receive it at home. In St. Louis, there is a regulation on milkmen. What are they never allowed to do?
The answer is running, while on duty. We are not sure if there were serious spills, in the past. But the city saw fit to address it in law, and that's that.
None of us can say we've never broken a dish or a cup. If you've been using or washing dishes, or even moving them around, chaos is just a matter of time. It's not a big deal, though. Most ceramicware is not terribly expensive, these days. You just need to be extra careful if you happen to live in the state of Florida. Apparently, there are actual regulations around how much you are permitted to break per day.
The legal limit is defined as three dishes. You can also chip four cups or saucers if you want. But beyond that, you're breaking the law in The Sunshine State!
If you are out there littering, we don't how to change your mind. Most of us want to live in a clean place, free of garbage. But there are people who don't their one soda bottle really makes a difference in the big scheme of things. Be aware that this type of behavior isn't going to fly in Salisbury, MT. It's illegal to throw soda bottles on the ground, officially!
It might seem like stating the obvious, but they voted on it. Now, if you want to throw your Coca-Cola in the park, you're a cola criminal. Just don't, okay?
If you ever want to replace your fridge, you might have the kind urge to donate it. It does seem like a waste to throw a perfectly good appliance away, just because you upgraded. But if you live in Vale, OR, you have to take precautions before leaving it outside. It's illegal to abandon a machine like that with the door still on it. Our main question is, who would want it without a door?
Truthfully, it's not much use if the door is gone. The cooling effect will be zero, and we don't mean the temperature. Our solution: Arrange a pickup and avoid the lazy way out.