The Bizarre Cheese Law You Didn't Know South Dakota Has

The U.S. is home to some pretty weird local laws — like the Iowa towns that banned ice cream trucks in the 1960s, or the entire state of Wisconsin, which has a ban on margarine. In Oklahoma, it's actually illegal to take a bite of someone else's food, even as a joke.

To be fair, these laws have fairly sturdy reasoning to them (or at least they did when they were first enacted). Ice cream trucks were banned to keep kids from getting hit by cars. Real butter is marginally better for you than margarine (via Taste of Home). And taking a bite of someone else's meal could be viewed as stealing.

Enter South Dakota and one supremely strange cheesemaking law. Did it come about for safety reasons? Was it to maintain food quality? Was it to save the factories from losing money? Or was it something else entirely? Whatever the state's reasoning, it had better be gouda!

Don't let the bosses catch you snoozing on the fromage

In a roundup of crazy food laws, Delish includes one specific to cheese factories in South Dakota. If working in one of these establishments, you are prohibited by law to lie down and fall asleep (via Only in Your State). Whether or not sleeping standing upright can be used as a loophole remains to be seen.

This strange rule just begs the question: How on earth did this come about? We can only speculate that it had something to do with safety or workers' rights. One Redditor proposed that the law was "made in response to an incident. So guessing someone fell asleep and either died or let people die."

Another commenter posited, "You can't force your workers to work 12 hours, have a quick nap, and get back to work. You have to let them go home and have a full night's sleep before they come back to work." The same post also noted that a similar law in Illinois had to do with hygiene. It's a good reminder that as soft as some cheeses might be, you should never use them as a pillow.