New Oklahoma laws affecting alcohol and food service take effect

On November 1, more than 200 new laws went into effect in the state of Oklahoma, some of which affect the food and beverage industry.

Several of the bills passed relate to regulations in the production of alcoholic beverages, some relate to agriculture, and others are directly applicable to food services.

Some of the laws made minor adjustments to existing laws, while others provided new protections or benefits to citizens or businesses. Here’s a list of the food, drink and agriculture laws that came into effect on November 1.

Civil protection, licensing requirements are focused on food service laws

House Bill 1542 removes the threat of civil action against restaurants, school districts and other food establishments that donate leftover food. Under the law, food establishments that donate food are granted immunity from civil liability unless damages result from food through omission, negligence or intentional act. If a restaurant knowingly donates damaged or spoiled food, it may still be liable.

HB 1772 is an amendment that exempts farmers market vendors who sell frozen meat stored in a refrigerator or on ice from food establishment licensing requirements.

The farm bills are aimed at updating wheat fees, Oklahoma certified meat designations

Senate Bill 488 Amends the wheat fee rules by changing the amount of the fee assessed by the Oklahoma Wheat Commission. Previously, the fee was 2 cents per bushel, but the amendment removes the specified amount.

HB 1589 amends Oklahoma statute, revising the terminology from Oklahoma-certified beef to Oklahoma-certified meat and redefining it to include “pork, goat, lamb, poultry, or fish products raised, born, raised, and processed in the state of Oklahoma.”

More ▼: These new laws go into effect Nov. 1 in Oklahoma: What you need to know

ABLE Sales, Forfeitures, and Commissions Among Liquor-Related Legislation

SB 483 removes the time limits on the delivery of confiscated alcohol to a county sheriff by a person who seizes the product, and abrogates the sheriff’s responsibility for the safe storage of the confiscated alcohol.

SB 791 amends current laws to allow liquor retailers to advertise higher prices online than in stores.

SB 796 updates the frequency with which direct shippers of wine must report their sales to the ABLE Commission, along with the information that must be reported. It also adds rules regarding the responsibilities of carriers in direct shipments of wine and outlines penalties for parties who knowingly break the laws.

SB 811 adjust the grounds for revocation or suspension of licenses granted by the ABLE Commission. It also gives the commission authority to revoke licenses or impose fines at its discretion when a preponderance of the evidence and a public hearing provide evidence of a violation of knowingly serving a person under the age of 21.

SB 1032 amends rules for catering establishments allowing them to provide on-premises sales of alcoholic beverages in establishments currently applying for an on-premises license. The changes oblige the applicant to provide licensed staff for catering during the event.

HB 1715 updates the definitions of certain alcoholic beverages and creates a new law allowing those with a brewer’s, microbrewery, or small winery license to host off-site events with an approved application by the ABLE Commission.

That law allows these businesses to host up to four off-site events per year, not including events attended by the public, such as “trade shows, festivals, farmers markets, boat shows, RV shows, home and garden shows , fairs, car shows, swap meets, city events, county events, or state events.” These events are covered by a standard brewer’s or winemaker’s license and do not require an off-site event application.

Applications for off-site events require information about the location of the event, including specifics about safeguards to ensure that the person is over 21 years of age in certain areas where alcoholic beverages are sold or consumed.

HB 2251 expands tasting flights to include mixed drinks or cocktails. It also provides specific definitions for mixed drinks and cocktail flights, which may include “no more than four separate mixed drinks or cocktails consisting of no more than five ounces of beer, 1.5 ounces of wine, or 1/2 ounce of spirits beverages, to be combined with an unlimited amount of ingredients that are non-alcoholic in nature, served together at once.”

HB 2631 allows wine and spirits wholesalers to fill orders inconsistently when a product is in short supply, meaning there is not “sufficient supply to fully satisfy demand in the Oklahoma retail and/or on-site market.” The law also requires the ABLE Commission to maintain a published list of products designated as in short supply and to update it every 30 days.

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