9 Weird (But True) Food Laws in America

9 Weird (But True) Food Laws in America
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9 Weird (But True) Food Laws in America

What can't you eat at parks in Beech Grove, Indiana? And what unusual item are you forbidden to use to catch fish in Tennessee? These nine food laws might get a chuckle out of you.

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How to Never Eat Fried Chicken

In Gainesville, Georgia, it is actually illegal to eat fried chicken with anything other than your fingers – and someone was arrested for it! In 2009, Gainesville Police Chief Frank Hooper arrested Louisiana resident Ginny Dietrick on her 91st birthday for eating fried chicken with a fork – as part of a prank played upon her by a friend. The mayor and president-emeritus of the Georgia Poultry Federation were on hand to dismiss the charges.

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Where You Can't Eat a Watermelon

In Beech Grove, Indiana, it is illegal to eat watermelons in parks. A parks board member explains that the ordinance was erected after watermelon rinds were found to puncture garbage bags and cause messes.

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To Whom You Should Never Serve Margarine

In Wisconsin, it is illegal to serve margarine to inmates, patients and students. Chapter seven of the Wisconsin Legislative Documents prohibits serving the butter alternative for non-medical purposes.

Image Credit: jupiterimages / Simon Murrell

What Traffic-Stopping Apparel Hot Dog Vendors Can't Wear

In Broward County, Florida, hot dog stand vendors may not wear inappropriate attire that shows parts of the "cleavage or buttocks", such as thong bikinis or G-strings, or else be deemed "a hazard or impediment to traffic". We're wondering what's going down in the Sunshine State that makes this rule necessary...

How Not to Catch Fish

In Tennessee, it is illegal to catch fish with a lasso. This strange law started as a wacky city ordinance, but the language in the books has cleaned up over the years and now makes no mention of a lasso – although, lassos are still technically a prohibited device.

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How You Shouldn't Drink Beer

In Lefors, Texas, it was illegal to drink more than three sips of beer while standing. This strange law was on the books within the last century, but has since disappeared. An old-timer confirms that the law was created so that people would go inside and sit down to drink rather than stand outside and offend the eyes of "teetotalers."

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Where You Can't Keep a Chicken

In a small town in Colorado, residents may not own chickens, but they may keep up to three turkeys, geese or ducks. We're not sure why chickens are singled out, but the language can be found here.

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Who You Can't Order Pizza For

Before you think about dialing in that pizza prank delivery, chew on this: in the state of Louisiana, it is unlawful to order goods or services to be delivered to a person without them knowing.

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Where a ban on food bans exists

The state of Mississippi passed an "Anti-Bloomberg Bill" in March that bans a ban on large portion sizes and other food regulations, making sure no similar public health initiatives like the regulation of large, sugary drinks take place.

Image Credit: George Doyle


Plenty of fascinating and strange food laws are rumored to exist across the country, but whether they are fact or fiction is hard to tell. If it didn't have an eyewitness report or the language in the books to back it up, we didn't think twice of it. What we've uncovered are nine weird food laws that actually exist, even if the reason that they were created for has long been lost.

Few outdated city ordinances actually get enforced, but one unusual rule in Gainesville, Georgia actually got someone arrested! Find out why you couldn't stand and sip in Lefor, Texas, and what racy attire hot dog vendors can't wear in Broward County, Florida. Plus, one recently passed law is one-upping them all by banning food bans!

Check out the slideshow above to discover nine weird, funny and absurd but true food laws.

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