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Cottage Food Industry

On January 1st, 2013, California enacted its Homemade Food Act which was signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown in September 2012.

The act makes California the largest state with a cottage food law covering anything produced by the state’s more than 11.5 million home kitchens and marks a high point for a movement that got seriously underway with the recession four years ago.

We’re talking homemade cookies and brownies, jams, jellies, fruit pies, mixed nuts, flavored vinegars, dried teas, roasted coffee, and other yummy stuff that’s already legal in more than 30 other states including Oregon, Washington, Texas, and Michigan, which have similar legislation in place.

Under California’s new law, a cottage food operation can only have one employee outside the immediate family. It is limited to the home kitchen of one’s primary residence.

Foods containing cream, custard, or meat fillings are potentially hazardous and not among those foods that cottage food operations can produce. Potentially hazardous foods are those that require time and temperature controls for safety to limit pathogenic microorganism growth or toxin formation. Non-potentially hazardous foods do not require such time and temperature controls.

There are two classes of cottage food under California’s new law. The Class A cottage food operation can only sell food directly to the consumer, and is registered via a self-certification compliance checklist.

Under Class B cottage food operations indirect sales are permitted in addition to the direct sales allowed under Class A. Under Class B, there is an inspection, but indirect sales are permitted to restaurants, retail food stores, and food trucks. Any third party outlet must have its own permit.

Homemade food producers stand to make up to $35,000 in gross sales in 2013, rising to $45,000 in 2014 and $50,000 in 2015. A $50,000 increase is also predicted for each subsequent year.

Time will tell how many food bloggers will turn their crafts into a cottage business.

Source:
California Legislative 

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