The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

California state legislators to enact a Cottage Foods bill

cookingwithdenay's picture

California state legislators to enact a Cottage Foods bill

California bakers asked California state legislators to enact a Cottage Foods bill authorizing the Department of Health and Senior Services and/or the Department of Agriculture to issue customized "Home Bakery" licenses to residential kitchens for the purpose of selling non-potentially-hazardous bakery products, such as, but not necessarily limited to: breads, cakes, doughnuts, pastries, buns, rolls, cookies, biscuits, and pies (except meat or cream pies).

Visit: to sign the petition.

chefnxion's picture

I have passed on this link  to my friends and encouraged them to sign the petition. Thank you for sharing this valuable information. 

Home Chef in SD

Yerffej's picture

I have recently begun contacting my state senator in Wisconsin over this very issue.  Here are the states that allegedly already have such laws.

Alabama, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, Utah.

I see this as an opportunity for the TFL group to potentially make some impact on this issue...if the interest is there.


Matt H's picture
Matt H

This would at least put the law in connection with reality. The whole part-time home cook that sells informally and advertises on Twitter thing is not going away. Better to focus attention where it is needed. The vast majority of food-borne illnesses come from meat and dairy.

Peldyn's picture

I really miss bake sales! If it passes  schools and clubs could potentially have them again.

SylviaH's picture

gave it my vote.

BDGoats's picture

Ohio allows Cottage Foods and you are allowed to bake in your own kitchen. Basically you can make anything that doesn't include dairy - cheesecakes, puddings, etc. If you want to make and sell those items, you can get a home bakery license, but your kitchen needs to be "inspected" - basically no carpeting and pets in the kitchen. The biggest stipulation is labeling and Ohio is getting more strict on that. Labeling must include ALL ingredients. For example, you just can't say "chocolate chips", you have to write the ingredients for the chocolate chips. Several of the bakers joked about handing out books listing all the ingredients for a cookie. Additionally, you need to put somewhere on the label "This product is home produced". And the label must have your complete address and phone number/email address.

The Ohio Cottage Industry also includes candies and jams/jellies - basically anything non-hazardous. Relishes, salsas, and pickles are not allowed. For that you need to get a Commercial Cannery license, a commercial kitchen, plus a whole bunch of regulations.

The great thing about the Cottage Food industry in Ohio is that I can sell to restaurants and retail stores. I would definitely push for this in California.

DeborahH's picture

This would be so great. There are so many people out there who would just like to make a little money selling their baked goods, but can't afford to rent licensed commercial kitchen space just to bake a few loaves or make a special cake to sell. I didn't realize what had happened to the local school bake sales until I read this article. No wonder room mothers can't bring home-baked goods to school anymore, but they are allowed to bring in those sub-par cupcakes from the local grocery store bakery! California laws have tied up small businesses into knots with regulations or exhorbitant fees, or restricted them completely. Let's boost the economy and get the mom-and-pops going again with Cottage Industry laws that let the little guys make a buck. If I'm okay with buying cookies that Grandma made in her home oven, why shouldn't I be able to buy them, and why shouldn't grandma be able to sell them to me? Everyone who is for this, please, PLEASE, sign the petition or let your lawmakers know where you stand.

minisquid's picture


Has there been any update or status report on the Cottage Law legislation?  Has the petition done anything? 



cookingwithdenay's picture

I took a look at the current House Bills and there is nothing on the development of a cottage food law or home food processing. I have a call into the "House" but with all the economic issues, and no one from the House spearheading this, I don't think anything is being done, however I won't know for sure until I speak with someone. I'll be in touch if I hear something positive.

I can share that the state of Arizona will soon have a "cottage food law" the Senate Bill is sitting on the Governor's desk and just needs to be signed. Even when signed it may take another 90 days before it is implemented, but the Bill passed both the House and the Senate...again...I'll post when it is actually signed into law.

Happy Baking all!

minisquid's picture

Thanks!  Is there a bill # I can look for?  Also, how do we get someone to sprearheading this?

Thanks again!

flournwater's picture

I got the impression that the petition was intended to convince the legislature to draft a bill.

But I find that there is a bill (SB303)

in the works that may accomplish this objective.


cookingwithdenay's picture

You are correct the petition is intended to encourage a member of the Califronia House and Senate (you will need the support of both) to create a Bill that would allow home food processing or the manufacturing of non-hazardous food products with limitations.

This bill is quite limited and not like many cottage food bills currently before state legislators. I am familiar with this Bill, unfortunately it does not specifically mention home food processing and the sales of those products either at state sponsored farmers markets or to the general public. I am not familiar with any cottage food legislation out of California at this time and if someone else knows of a Bill allow home food processing please contact me.

cookingwithdenay's picture

I am not aware of any House Bill specific to Calif. Home Food Processing at this time. I am aware there is an open petition and a baker has gathered a number of signatures, but until a member of the House comes on board, well the idea will linger in the wind, so to speak. You may visit HBB for ideas on how you can build some momentum around this issue and of course email me any time and I will do what I can to contact bakers to support the creation of a cottage law.

Yerffej's picture


Do you know which states currently have the most favorable cottage laws.  For example I would consider Ohio to be most favorable based on the comments in this thread.


cookingwithdenay's picture

Hi Jeff,

Sorry for not answering this sooner. I can't tell you which state has the "most favorable" cottage law. Remember a lot of laws are created based not just on rules and regulations that beneficial to the food processors but also the state has to be able to handle the number of individuals who participate and if a state has compliance officers or regulators, that may also impact their restrictions. As much as we would all love zero government regulation, when it comes to food that is not going to happen and shouldn't since the consequences can be deadly, to say the least.

I am in North Carolina and their cottage food law, offers many opportunities to sell to the consumer.

Every cottage food program has its advantages and disadvantages; some allowing a variety of ways to sell products (online, farmers markets, retail, wholesale etc) and some with limitations so restricted only farmers are allow to sell products they produce at local farmers markets (farmers who grow grapes, peaches, berries can sell canned jars of jams and jellies). Here is a link to the states that have some type of cottage food regulation.

Urchina's picture

Just a short note on Matt H's comment that the main cause of foodborne illness is meat and dairy. 


The main cause of foodborne illness in the United States is Norovirus, which does not grow in food but is passed through contaminated food and water, usually by food handlers. 


While meat and dairy can support the growth of pathogenic bacteria when not properly refrigerated or cooked (as can cooked vegetables, grains, legumes and fruits), they're not the main cause of foodborne illness in the U.S. 

Just an FYI. I'm interested in seeing how the cottage food laws progress and what the results are for the states that enact them. 



gary.turner's picture

Texas has two bills in the lege. Both are in the House, with minor differences. Neither allows sales to any but end consumers.  So, one couldn't bake cakes, pies or bread, for example, for resale at a restaurant or grocer.  Now that's a damned shame since the largest bakery in Texas got its start in just that way, Mrs Baird's Bread.



CindyY's picture

I opened my bakery just 9 months ago and how I wish I could be doing this from my clean home kitchen instead!  The hoops I had to jump through with the LA County Dept of Public Health are obscenely rigid and need to be revamped to current food development methods.   I pay a huge amount to lease "restaurant" space and it's hard enough to keep things going with other start up costs.  If the legistators in CA are really interested in improving our economy, they should support what built this country in the first place - cottage industry!  Thank you for pushing this forward.


minisquid's picture

Hi, I do have a question though....what is the purpose of the online petition...will it get pushed to the House after a number of signatures?  Or, does it just sit there? 

cookingwithdenay's picture

If the organizer is honest they should have a privacy policy accompanying the petition. The petition is used to accompany a letter to the legislator or senator sponsoring the bill to let there know there is support.

Now with that said, before you sign a petition, beware, the reason some organizations get you to sign is to capture your email address to re-use; so if there is no privacy policy posted, ask the petitioner how they plan to use your signature before signing.

Remember you can also contact your representative directly, instead of signing a petition.

The message to advocacy organizations is to be honest.

uhezay's picture

This is now being pursued by the Sustainable Economies Law Center.

See and sign the petition here:

wmtimm627's picture

With all that's happening with the food police actions in this country, what makes anyone think that baking bread would be any different than someone selling lemonade on the corner? There are even places in this country that have decided they know better than parents what is best for their children's lunches.

I'm not against anything that you're proposing here, but until we get rid of the control freaks in government (VOTE!), good causes like this are bound to fail.