Food & The Law

Governor Brown Signs California Homemade Food Act Into Effect

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Fri, Sep 21, 2012 at 2:51 PM

click to enlarge Cottage Food Law Cookies - FLICKER USER PILLOWHEAD_DESIGNS
Breaking homemade brownie news: Governor Jerry Brown signed the California Homemade Food Act (AB 1616) into effect today. If you've been following the bill, backed by local Assemblyman Mike Gatto, it allows the "limited" sale of "non-potentially hazardous foods."

According to a statement from the Governor's office, the bill aims to "help small and fledgling businesses produce and sell food made out of their homes under a more streamlined regulatory structure." Get more after the jump.

There are caps on the amount of bread you can literally make. In 2013, gross sales are limited to $35,000; in two years, that amount increases to $50,000. "Limited sale" means primarily directly to another consumer, with a few smaller retail exceptions. In general, selling Blenheim apricot jam to your boss is now perfectly fine (we recommend you charge him/her a hefty premium), but going after Whole Foods shelf space is not (you'll still need a commercial kitchen for that). And yes, the health department will still be involved in your new home baking venture.

More pressing: What do government regulators consider non-hazardous? Breads, dried fruit and nuts, jam, nut butters, granola, popcorn, teas and homemade cookies and pies are among the products that are fair game -- as long as they don't contain dairy or meat fillings. In other words, your homemade blue ribbon cherry pie is perfectly safe, your favorite Aunt Irma's coconut cream version is potentially hazardous. Good to know.

Get more details on the cottage food law at the Sustainable Economics Law Center.

Want more Squid Ink? Follow us on Twitter or like us on Facebook. Find more from Jenn Garbee @eathistory + eathistory.com.

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