USA: Water spinach is now legal in Georgia after decades-long ban

Fair enough. it is an invasive species, it does need to be managed properly. Good to see a compromise in place

Once illegal to sell in Georgia, the prohibition on water spinach, aka rau mu?ng, has been lifted.

Water spinach, a non-native species commonly found in Asian cuisines, had been illegal since the 1970s due to the plant’s invasive nature, Atlanta magazine reports. Requiring moist soil to grow, water spinach can grow like a weed, potentially consuming nearby waterways and harming native plants.

A common staple in numerous popular Asian dishes, such as sambal kangkung, sinigang na baboy and stir fry, the ban failed to prevent Georgia locals from purchasing the ingredient across state boundaries. While not directly sold in stores, locals would sell the plant out of their cars, nail salons, churches and parking lots.

“If you think about it, if Southerners weren’t allowed to drink sweet tea or our Hispanic community was not allowed to purchase tortillas — in the Vietnamese community, in the Southeast Asian community water spinach is a very, very important component to their diet,” Kathy Kuzava, president of the Georgia Food Industry Association, told NPR.

The petition, led by owner Ben Vo, argued that proper regulations would allow water spinach to be a low-risk plant.

A 2016 bill introduced by state Rep. Pedro Marin with the support of community members would have exempted water spinach from the state’s “plant pest” category but was rejected.

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