By Jelisa Castrodale
Updated January 22, 2020

Last summer, D'Adrien Anderson was one of those people who tried to go the worst kind of viral. He was one of a handful of pranksters who filmed themselves grabbing cartons of Blue Bell ice cream out of a supermarket freezer, licking the top of it, and then putting it back on the shelf. After that, they posted the videos on social media hoping for… well, who knows what, exactly. 

Anderson was arrested, despite the fact that he later produced a receipt proving that he bought the ice cream that he tongued. The 24-year-old Texas man pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of criminal mischief last week, and he will be sentenced in March.

Shannon Fagan/Getty Images

If one Arizona state legislator gets his way, future ice cream lickers could face felony charges if they post their gross videos on social media. Rep. T.J. Shope has proposed two bills that relate to the way food is—and is not—handled, and he says that both of them could better protect customers from unwittingly eating something that a stranger has already sampled.

HB 2299 would further criminalize behavior like Anderson's, stating that it is "unlawful to knowingly introduce, add or mingle any bodily fluid, foreign object not intended for human consumption, or unsanitary surface with any water, food, drink, or other product that may be consumed by a human being."

Those who break this law could face a misdemeanor charge, fines of up to $250, and up to four months in county jail. But if an ice cream licker or other food-tamperer posts a photo or video online, causes at least $1,000 in related damages (like the cost of sanitization or destroying similar products) or someone actually eats the affected product, the violator could be charged with a felony. A felony.

"People want to become the next Instagram hero of the day," Shope told Capitol Media Services. "It gets a bunch of clicks on a day, and that makes somebody feel good, I guess."

A second bill, HB 2998, would require drivers who work for food-delivery services like DoorDash or Uber Eats to have a valid food handler certificate or to have completed a food handler training course. Although it doesn't specifically prohibit drivers from stealing a couple of French fries, Shope hopes that the training course might emphasize why that behavior is frowned upon.

"I think the public needs a little peace of mind that at least their deliverers have been trained," he said.

We'd be cool with just knowing that nobody had pre-licked our ice cream.

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