Aside from getting away with food creations for a bake sale, charity event and sometimes farmers markets – selling home baked goods is just now starting to come back in legal style.
Federal code practically banished the idea, but with the recession and job losses, new state laws are slowly peeling back the red tape to increase local economies. These became known as “cottage food laws.” Before, a person selling baked goods from home was treated like and punished as a commercial establishment.
A California man was becoming locally famous for his baked bread. When it reached a newspaper feature, he and the stores selling his bread were descended upon by the health department. This treatment eventually led to the California Homemade Food Act in January 2013. Since then, over 1,200 homemade businesses were launched in California.
New Jersey is getting in on the homemade food action – with a twist.
New Jersey’s lower house of legislature just unanimously passed a cottage food bill that would allow baked goods to be sold from home kitchens. Unlike some state laws, there is no income cap. All that is needed is a visible placard stating that the food was prepared at home. There are around 20 other states that finally do not have a revenue cap. (source)
If New Jersey’s law goes through – there are only four more states left that do not have cottage food laws. If it does not fully pass, New Jersey remains under current rule that in order for anyone to sell homemade food, they must rent a commercial kitchen or install one in their homes – and essentially be treated as a commercial business.
Still, cottage food laws come with a lot of restrictions, many requiring a permit. Most don’t allow foods considered to be more susceptible to bacteria growth. They vary by state. See CottageFoods.org for more information. Apparently, one of their Frequently Asked Questions is: How do I report someone who is illegally running their food business from home? The website discourages reporting your neighbor.
This is a video by Institute For Justice about government restrictions on homemade food sales and their involvement with a case in Minnesota.
With the increase in cottage food laws also comes the astonishing polar opposite effects of FDA-crackdowns and farmers market shutdowns under the auspices of Agenda 21. Likewise, the banning of feeding the homeless, front yard garden shut-downs and stomping out of children’s lemonade stands – even one child’s garden. It does make one wonder how long cottage food operations will continue, albeit, during a popular rush of locavorism.
Do you wish to support more local food sources? Does the idea of selling your organic goods thrill you?
Check out this free guide to find out more:
20 Places to Find Local Food and Family Farms Near You
Recent posts by Heather Callaghan: