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AB1616, the California Cottage Food Bill: Support This!

Categories: News
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California does not have a cottage food law. Currently, if you bake a cake at home and sell it to the public--let's say at a bake sale--you are breaking the law. If you make a few pints of jam from the fruit in your backyard and sell them from a shop, you're breaking the law. There's no way to get "right" with the law, either: food made for sale in California must be made in a commercial kitchen.

According to Food Safety News, that could change if AB1616, proposed by Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Los Angeles), becomes law. California would become one of an increasing number of states permitting small-scale food sales from private kitchens.

Lest you freak out about the idea of rancid butter being sold across the counter of your favorite store, fear not. Cottage foods, by definition in the law, cannot be potentially hazardous food (PHF); aspiring cheesemakers and butchers are not covered by AB1616. It's meant to include foods that are safely held and eaten at room temperature.

Cottage food makers would still be subject to some amount of regulation, especially regarding labeling; most states require an easily-visible notification that the food was cooked in a non-commercial kitchen. They'd be required to register, and kitchens could be inspected if consumer complaints warrant it, but inspection could not be a prerequisite for registration.

The bill is set to be heard in committee on March 10; if you agree with its premise--and, as faithful Forkers, you very well should--contact your legislators in Sacramento.

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Jmcguinness
Jmcguinness

Currently in Santa Ana schools no homemade food can be sold or even brought on campus. Would this bill change that?

Dave Lieberman
Dave Lieberman

No, not that I'm aware of. That's a school district policy, presumably to avoid allergen cross-contamination.

Bec Stafford
Bec Stafford

Dave, it might make a difference in that the district might change policy.  Here in Fresno Unified the official policy is that no homemade food can come in to the school (even for parties) and that policy is due specifically to the state health code regulations.  I'm optimistic that with this bill district policies might change.  I'm excited to see this bill in full.  

909Jeff
909Jeff

Mike Gatto (D-Los Angeles)Pardon my suspicion but that Letter (D) usually comes with a whole lotta regulation and an new bureaucracy... Probably wont cost more that 25billion a year. Here is some of what I can find on the Law...

This bill would require a cottage food operation to meet specified requirements relating to sanitation, packaging, and labeling. This bill would authorize the State Public Health Officer to adopt implementing regulations, as specified, and procedures for a registration system. 

This bill would also authorize the State Public Health Officer to access the registered area of a private home where a cottage food operation is located, as specified. 

This bill would prescribe civil penalties for a violation of its provisions, and would provide for local permitting of cottage food operations. 

So there you go... It DOES create additional bureaucracy... Authorize an agent of said bureaucracy to enter your home to inspect your kitchen. Finally it gives that bureaucracy the ability to impose fines and allows for local permiting In other words CHA CHING! 

Sorry Dave I would like to read the full text of the proposed bill but I think its BS. 

Ken31857
Ken31857

Jeff.....this bill will make it easier for people to start businesses, which is a good thing. I am trying to start a small chocolate company and this would make it easier for me to break into the market. Do you honestly expect a law like this to not have some kind of regulatory framework? Maybe you don't trust a democrat to introduce this type of legislation, but at least this Democrat is actually doing something to help the little guy. Where have the "get the government out of the way" Republicans been on this issue. Seems like this would have been a no brainer for them.

909Jeff
909Jeff

I joke with Gustavo and Dave about the Democrat because of a few stories recently where foodstuffs are either heavily regulated or banned... So there is a bit of tongue in cheek there, which is why gustavo responded as he did... 

I for one wish you the best of luck and again I support your efforts and if I come accross your chocolates I would be more than willing to help you out as opposed to a Godiva or Sees.  Here is an instance where I want you to have your cake and eat it too!  

Good Luck! 

Dave Lieberman
Dave Lieberman

Jeff, what you're missing is that this bureaucracy is already here. People who do this are violating the current laws, which requires resources to enforce.

I would have thought you'd be more into allowing small businesses—which could grow and become larger businesses (which would then be subject to commercial kitchen inspection rules).

909Jeff
909Jeff

I would have thought you'd be more into allowing small businesses

100% Dave! 

But it sounds intrusive and costly. I would agree its a step in the right direction but once is in place and regulated rarely does the regulation go away. Home jarred honey... Home baked banana bread and cupcakes for sale at a local street fair or church bake sale aren't gonna kill anyone.  Why does the city need to invade the privacy of your home to check cleanliness or require permitting?  

I dont know what the actual answer here will be.  If it were up to me you would be allowed to bake whatever the hell you wanted to and set up a booth and sell it... Its up to me as the buyer to be aware of what I'm purchasing and consuming!

Dave Lieberman
Dave Lieberman

Even the largest home kitchens cannot turn out as much product as a commercial kitchen. If you truly feel the competition is unfair, you could always revert to a cottage kitchen for your business.

gustavoarellano
gustavoarellano

The same argument used by restaurants against loncheras...WEAK SAUCE!

Aepiztman
Aepiztman

As a bakery business owner with my own production facility and retail space I make the rounds to different events where I see people trying to produce in their own home kitchen without getting caught. I don't mind the competition but on an equal playing field. A kitchen is a kitchen. The difference is that I get inspected every 6 months and have to use NSF equipment that is not your cheap 400$ kitchen aid mixer. Also have to spend thousands of dollars for a $2 million liability insurance policy. And how about sanitation and food safety training and 3 compartment sinks. All of this is done for the safety of the consumer. When I see a cottage bakery held to the same standards then I will welcome it.

909Jeff
909Jeff

Well I think ultimately we agree that home bakers should be allowed to peddle their wares... One of the things I love the most about San Francisco is the farmers market at the ferry building on sat. and I think a bill along these lines could make that even better.  

There were two stories out here recently where one actual LA county health inspector was trying to get sexual favors for a passing grade from a worker at a panaderia in Pomona and then in Claremont a person posing as a health inspector robbed a donut store. 

I will watch this one... I'm interested to see the full text of the bill.

Dave Lieberman
Dave Lieberman

The city (the county, really) does not need to invade the privacy of your home unless complaints deemed worthy of follow-up are filed against you. If you are poisoning people, then your privacy gets invaded. And, as I said, the bill specifically prohibits local governments from requiring an inspection before granting the registration.

gustavoarellano
gustavoarellano

If a Dem cured cancer, you'd say it's an invasion of cancer's privacy...

909Jeff
909Jeff

By the way...

How pissed off were you that Jonathan Gold got the Mexican food piece in Sunset Magazine?

I was pissed for you!  and then he name places in LA and San Diego as favs but OC gets left assed out! 

I have an Idea of what he can do with his pulitzer! 

909Jeff
909Jeff

Hey,

Where is todays Klan story?  Lets get crackin there buddy!

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