Liability for foodborne illnesses caused by chili or soup cook-offs in Minnesota will be transferred to the consumer from the community-based nonprofit organizations that sponsor such events if two lawmakers get their way. State Representatives John Ward and Joe Radinovich, Democratic Farmer Labor (DFL) Party members from North Central Minnesota, have their names on House File (HF) No. 13446, known in St. Paul simply as “the chili bill.” As bills go, this one is pretty simple and runs just over two pages. It says that community based organizations that sponsor chili and soup cook-off events will not be legally liable for making someone sick so long as there was no charge for the event and that the volunteers have taken a food safety course. Almost all other entities would continue to be liable for anyone poisoned by their food. In reciting those who would continue to be liable, the bill lists weddings and funerals, colleges and universities, licensed food companies, daycares and senior citizen centers, potlucks, home schools and school concession stands, group residential facilities and community fund raising events. But if you got sick from eating cook-off chili, the liability will be yours and yours alone. What gives? According to local media reports, the Minnesota’s Crosslake Chamber of Commerce is upset because the Minnesota Department of Health began requiring its chili cook-off participants to prepare all entries on-site. That requirement upset those participants with recipes that required longer preparation – like the 18 hours required for smoke beef brisket chili. For 25 years, the Crosslake Chili Cook-off has featured chili made by local businesses competing for the best scores from consumers who do the taste testing. Now the tradition is in jeopardy. Crossroads went looking for a legislative solution after the number of participants in the chili cook-off was cut in half after the state got involved in the issue. The Chamber’s Cindy Myogeto said many who paricipated in the cook-off in the past have chili recipes involving spices and meats that take many hours to prepare. HF 1446 was just introduced in the Minnesota House on Monday, and has not been assigned to any committee or assigned for any act. The Minnesota Department of Health has not commented on the bill.