The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Cottage Food Acts in various states; California's Homemade Food Act awaiting gov's signature - please consider supporting

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Hank Gurdjieff's picture
Hank Gurdjieff

Cottage Food Acts in various states; California's Homemade Food Act awaiting gov's signature - please consider supporting

Thanks to the previous question by  Niashi about a similar law in Washington I learned about the the California Homemade Food Act, AB 1616, which has passed both Assembly and Senate and is awaiting the Governor's signature. I probably won't be in any position to take advantage of this myself, but others here might. Like other similar laws (Cottage Food Acts and the like) it would make it reasonably easy and affordable to become a licensed food producer at home, in part by making sure you take a short class on how to avoid making customers sick, by restricting the types of foods you can cook for sale in a home kitchen (seem like reasonable restrictions: various things like meat and dairy fillings are not allowed, stuff more likely to harbor bugs.) Considering it is currently not legal to bake and sell most anything this would be a big step up. 

Something like 33 other states have similar laws, your state might well have one. 

More information on this law, cottage food laws in general, a link to a pdf listing the laws in other states, and lots of resources for small food startups can be found at 

http://www.theselc.org/cottage-food-laws/ 

and 

http://www.theselc.org/programs/food/

Thanks

joyfulbaker's picture
joyfulbaker

So glad you've posted this, Hank.  I just found the amended bill, AB 1616: 

http://www.theselc.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/ab_1616_bill_20120824_amended_sen_v93.pdf

There are many stipulations, but it's exciting to see this happening.  I signed the petition from SELC, and I hope other Californians will do the same. Joy
Hank Gurdjieff's picture
Hank Gurdjieff

Thanks for signing the petition and for providing the link I missed. I just thought it might help somebody here.

 

joyfulbaker's picture
joyfulbaker

Well, guess what!  There is a newer amendment, dated Aug. 30, in the CA State Senate.  Here's the newest version: http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billStatusClient.xhtml.  There is also information on who voted how.

The amendment raises the ceiling on second-year (2014) earnings in Sect. 7. 113758 (a).--now $45,000 instead of $40,000 (with $35,000 for 2013 and $50,000 for 2015 and subsequent years).  Some may argue against a ceiling at all, but perhaps after the $50K mark, it should be a commercial and not a home enterprise.  I don't anticipate anything remotely near those figures, but there are cottage food business people looking to make a decent annual income.  Another change is the requirement that the cottage food operator takes a "food processer" course rather than a "food handler" one.  I don't yet know the difference, but perhaps it's an easier one to achieve.

Governor Brown, are you listening?

cranbo's picture
cranbo

count me in. I fully support that kind of bill in CA. I hope it goes!

joyfulbaker's picture
joyfulbaker

Just read in this morning's paper that Governor Brown just signed AB1616.  That includes possible inspections, as well as a certificate for food preparation.  So on to the next step!