Finally, Pennsylvania’s Potato Cartel Will Get the Comeuppance It So Richly Deserves

Legislature considers changes to potato packaging laws.

Did you know that in Pennsylvania, potatoes must be sold in packages weighing  three , five 10 pounds, 15, 20, 25, or 50 pounds—and then multiples of 100 pounds. We didn’t either, but apparently it’s so, and apparently it’s a pain in the ass for Pennsylvania grocery stores. NewsWorks reports the a change to the law is under way.

Bob Finn, store manager at Wegmans in Cumberland County, has been flagged by state enforcement officers before for selling a 5-pound bag that contained only 4.25 pounds of potatoes.

It might have been a bigger hassle for the potato packager supplying the products, he said.

“I would imagine it’s a hardship on them,” Finn said Monday. “But I did know that we had to create a separate order on our order guide, so we had to make sure we ordered the right potatoes so that we were in compliance and there would have been a separate slot in the warehouse for these.”

The Patriot-News adds the new legislation lifting the restrictions comes from Sen. David Argall.

Potato farmers in Argall’s district were frustrated by the weight restrictions because it bars them from selling their product in 8-pound bags, a size that is growing in popularity with consumers in surrounding states. They and the Pennsylvania Co-Operative Potato Growers asked lawmakers to tweak the law so they could sell that size package.

But Argall thought a different approach would eliminate the need for lawmakers to ever revisit this issue again.

“Rather than put in another weight, I decided to let the market and marketplace decide,” Argall said.

The restrictions date back to 1913—no one knows why they were imposed. We assume there was either a potato farmer or a potato sack-maker somewhere who got rich from the rules, because that’s how these inane laws usually worked.