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Bill Passed to Allow Sale of Homemade Baked Goods

Be on the look out for home-baked and packaged goodies from nuts mixes and dried fruits to jams, pastries and cakes, new bill will allow the sale of "cottage food", made and sold from the home beginning January.

Home bakers will have new opportunities for home business with a bill that was recently signed by Governor Jerry Brown. Assembly Bill No. 1616, will make it legal for cooks to sell their home-cooked products starting in 2013. 

The new bill will allow exclusions for “cottage food operations” from the current Sherman Law and California Retail Code, which until now made preparing and selling homemade food a misdemeanor.

1616 requires cottage food operations to meet specific requirements relating to training, sanitation, preparation, labeling and permissible types of sales.

“Small businesses have played an important role in helping slow economics recover and prosper and an engine of job creation… small businesses now account for 65% of the United States employment,” it says on page 3 of AB 1616. “There is a growing movement in California to support community-based food production, sometimes referred to as “cottage food” and “local based food.”

“Increased opportunities for entrepenuer development can help supplement household incomes, prevent poverty and hunger, and strengthen local economies,” reads page 4. “A city, county, or city and county shall not prohibit a cottage food operation in any residential dwellings…” however cottage food operators may be subject to home occupational permit requirements within the city ordinances.

As of print, the City of Dixon officials were unavailable to discuss changes that will be made the in the City ordinances and specific instructions on how to apply. We'll follow up when protocol has been created.

There will be two types of permits available.

  • “Class A” would allow home food operators to engage in direct sales only, including temporary events, farmers markets, and in person transactions. "Class A" permit holders would not be subject to an inspection, unless a complaint is received. It will require operator to possess a food handlers safety certification from a four-hour course and follow food safe guidelines outlined.
  • "Class B"  would allow both direct and indirect sales. Indirect sales would allows interaction between the cottage food operation and a third-party retailer, to allow resale of the appropriately labeled food. "Class B" permit holders would be be subject to an initial inspection of food preparation and an annual inspection upon renewal, and will be subject to all "Class A" requirements.

Food is to be labeled "Made in Home Kitchen" in 12-point type, along with commonly used product name, cottage name, permit type and a list of ingredients.

Section 113758 states cottage permit holders may not employ anyone except family members, and cottage operations will have annual gross income caps. In 2013 gross annual sales may not exceed $35,000, increasing to not exceed $50,000 by 2015.

Food operations will include the following regulations under a self-certification checklist:

  • No food preparation or handling concurrent with other domestic actives; i.e. family meal preparation, dish washing, clothes washing and more.
  • No infants, small children or pets in the permitted area during preparation or handling.
  • Kitchen equipment must be cleaned and sanitized.
  • Area must be rodent and insect free.
  • Smoking is prohibited in permitted area.

Rules will be posted on an Internet web site.

How does this affect Dixon? 

Janis Luzzo, owner of Every Baking Moment, has been teaching and supplying Dixon, and surrounding area, residents, with the tools and know how to bake and create edible artwork for more than 12 years.

When asked about this opportunity for her clients to expand what may have been a hobby into a full-on business, she responded, "I am delighted to know that there are so many talented cake decorators who can finally realize their dreams of becoming professional without the risk of opening a storefront in this economy. I really am excited to be here at the beginning of their excited journey toward small business success."

Luzzo also adds that she doesn't believe this law will hurt current storefront owners like Solano Baking Company because, "nobody can make donuts as delicious as Solano does."

So bakers, start thinking of a cottage name and logo, and make sure your kitchen is equipped, January will be here before you know it.

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