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Funny Food Laws


Linda enjoys searching for fascinating travel destinations, seeking relaxation and fun, and (of course) eating great food.


The minute you read something that you can't understand, you can almost be sure that it was drawn up by a lawyer.

— Will Rogers

Laws, rules, and regulations are for the good of society. We certainly benefit from these little reminders; they keep our manners in check, assure order, and provide the framework for a civilized society.

But just for fun (and because I’m the Carb Diva), I scanned the internet for food-related laws that, strange and antiquated as they may sound, are still in effect in the United States. Here are the silliest of the silly.

The 11th hour

The 11th hour

Timing Is Everything

Timing is crucial to so many things in life—proper timing can mean the difference between a good joke and a loud groan (or worse yet, a silent room), a well-cooked hamburger or a lump of charred beef, a raise in pay or a pink-slip.

And, obviously, timing is everything when obeying the laws of the land as these statutes prove.

  • Alabama: It is illegal to sell peanuts in Lee County after sundown on Wednesday.
  • Arkansas: In Little Rock, it is illegal to honk one’s horn at a sandwich shop after 9 p.m.
  • Florida: It is illegal to eat cottage cheese on Sunday after 6 p.m.
  • Kansas: One cannot sell cherry pie ala mode on Sunday.
  • Virginia: Chickens are prohibited from laying eggs before 8 a.m. and after 4 p.m.


In the late 1800s, religious groups across the United States began to speak out on the evils of alcohol and public drunkenness, labeling them a scourge on the population and a threat to our nation. In 1920, Congress ratified the 18th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution which made it illegal to produce, transport or sell alcohol. Rather than eliminate crime and corruption, prohibition led to the bootlegging of alcohol and a rise in organized crime. Thirteen years later Congress ratified the 21st Amendment, which effectively repealed Prohibition.

This is not to say that the consumption of alcohol is no longer considered a social problem—just look at these laws concerning the consumption and use of alcohol.

  • Missouri: It shall be unlawful to provide beer or other intoxicants to elephants. (Goodness knows how many times this might happen if this law were not on the books!)
  • Alaska: In Fairbanks, it is considered an offense to feed alcoholic beverages to a moose.
  • Illinois: In the Pullman area, it is illegal to drink beer out of a bucket while sitting on the curb.
  • Nebraska: It is illegal for bar owners to sell beer unless they are simultaneously brewing a kettle of soup.
  • Texas: The entire Encyclopedia Britannica is banned in Texas because it contains a formula for making beer at home (does that include the online version as well?).

The People at Fish and Wildlife Are Just Doin' Their Jobs

  • Maryland: It is illegal to mistreat oysters. (No more raw oysters on the half shell?)
  • Tennessee: You can’t shoot any game other than whales from a moving automobile. Also, it is illegal to use a lasso to catch a fish. (Obviously, someone at the Fish and Game Department has a sense of humor).
  • Utah: It is against the law to fish from horseback. (Is it OK if you don't use a lasso? Oops, that's Tennessee.)
  • West Virginia: Roadkill may be taken home for supper. (They told me it was spatchcocked chicken.)

Mind Your Manners

The Emily Post Institute should be pleased that these laws are still in effect.

  • Oklahoma: Taking a bite out of another’s hamburger will not be tolerated.
  • Georgia: In Gainesville, Georgia, it is illegal to eat fried chicken with anything other than your fingers.
  • New Jersey: You may not slurp your soup.

Do We Really Need a Law for This?

  • Alabama: You may not have an ice cream cone in your back pocket at any time.
  • California: It is against the law to open canned goods with a revolver.
  • Rhode Island: It is considered an offense to throw pickle juice on a trolley.

And Finally, One Law That Makes Perfect Sense!

  • Massachusetts: Tomatoes may not be used in the production of clam chowder.

I Saved the Best for Last

  • Connecticut: In order for a pickle to officially be considered a pickle, it must bounce.
  • Oregon: You cannot eat a doughnut and walk backward on a city street.
  • Pennsylvania: It is illegal to sleep on top of a refrigerator outdoors.
  • South Dakota: It is illegal to lie down and fall asleep in a cheese factory.
  • Wisconsin: State law makes it illegal to serve apple pie in public restaurants without cheese.

© 2015 Linda Lum


Linda Lum (author) from Washington State, USA on October 10, 2015:

I agree Flourish. You have to wonder what the background story was.

FlourishAnyway from USA on October 10, 2015:

It just makes you wonder the story behind some of these laws. Just ... why? Funny hub.

Lawrence Hebb from Hamilton, New Zealand on October 07, 2015:


We had the same when the supermarkets got the ok to sell alcohol. They were allowed to sell wine on a Sunday but the beer had to stay 'sectioned off' and not sold on a Sunday! (Never did understand that one!).

The law only changed about ten years ago.

Linda Lum (author) from Washington State, USA on October 07, 2015:

Lawrence - We used to have "blue laws"--the sale of alcoholic beverages was prohibited on Sunday. They couldn't even be displayed (the racks of beer in the refrigerated case had to be covered with a tarp).

Lawrence Hebb from Hamilton, New Zealand on October 07, 2015:


I'll try to remember to make sure no chicks lay eggs if ever I move to Virginia (at least not at the wrong time!).

Over here we used to have the '6 o'clock swill' as it was missionaries drew up the first laws in NZ and it was illegal for pubs to serve beer after 6pm!

Linda Lum (author) from Washington State, USA on September 25, 2015:

Ha ha Ann. It's just obvious which one of us has a real job, and which one is retired.

Ann Carr from SW England on September 25, 2015:

You're kind but the quality/quantity thing is not true. You have quality hubs and you're just more hard-working than I am!


Linda Lum (author) from Washington State, USA on September 24, 2015:

annart - quality trumps quantity. As for the tipsy elephants and bouncing pickles, I'm glad you got a laugh. Thanks for your kind words.

Ann Carr from SW England on September 24, 2015:

Congrats on 200 hubs! I'm only half way there!

Great hub! How different and how entertaining; I'm still smiling about the image of elephants drunk on beer and the obligatory bouncing pickles.



Linda Lum (author) from Washington State, USA on September 23, 2015:

Rachel - You made me laugh! Thanks and have a great day.

Linda Lum (author) from Washington State, USA on September 23, 2015:

Venkat - I agree. How does one train a chicken? I would imagine that even our friend and urban farmer Bill has not been able to accomplish that!

Linda Lum (author) from Washington State, USA on September 23, 2015:

Chantelle - I think not putting tomatoes in clam chowder is in the 11th Commandment. Thanks for stopping by.

Rachel L Alba from Every Day Cooking and Baking on September 23, 2015:

Hi Carb Diva, They are really funny. It's a good thing we don't live in NJ because my family doesn't know how not to slurp their soup. Thanks for making me smile today.

Blessings to you.

Venkatachari M from Hyderabad, India on September 23, 2015:

Very much funny indeed!

I enjoyed the one at Virginia under "Timing is Everything".

"Chickens are prohibited from laying eggs before 8 a.m. and after 4 p.m."

Chantelle Porter from Ann Arbor on September 23, 2015:

I must say I do prefer my clam chowder without tomatoes. Makes perfect sense to me.

Linda Lum (author) from Washington State, USA on September 23, 2015:

Thank you Bill. You are very kind (I don't think anyone else has noticed). Have a great Wednesday.

Linda Lum (author) from Washington State, USA on September 23, 2015:

Rebecca - We'll never know will we? I'm glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for stopping by.

Linda Lum (author) from Washington State, USA on September 23, 2015:

Now Patricia, don't you be making any trouble in Georgia (like eating chicken the wrong way). Thanks for your comments.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on September 23, 2015:

What? We don't have any in Washington? I'm disappointed. :) Congrats on your 200th Hub...nice milestone for a nice person.

Rebecca Mealey from Northeastern Georgia, USA on September 23, 2015:

Wow, how strange these are! It makes one wonder how in the world they came about. Thank you for your research and for sharing.

Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on September 23, 2015:

Fun read...I am heading to Gainesville, GA, asap....

Some of these are just so very silly :D On the day they were written the folks must have just not had enough to do....so they said...let's see how silly we can be.

Angels are on the way to you ps

Linda Lum (author) from Washington State, USA on September 22, 2015:

Well, Jackie I think the truth is that the number of pages of written law would fill Yankee Stadium several times over.

As long as the powers that be don't haul me to jail for eating fried chicken with a knife and fork, or take my lollipop away from me (yes, you got that right--I didn't include that one in the list, but they are "illegal" in Washington State), I won't complain.

Jackie Lynnley from the beautiful south on September 22, 2015:

That shows us how lazy our representatives are doesn't it? lol

Fun read!

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