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Thursday, January 3, 2013

California's Got a Brand New Cottage Food Law

Posted By on Thu, Jan 3, 2013 at 10:15 AM

Good news for the artisan pickle industry. - FLICKR/SLEEPYNEKO

Did you know that at midnight on January 1, California's new Homemade Food Act went into effect, making it more legal for people in home kitchens to prepare and sell their own food? It's true! With a "Class A" permit, an individual can now prepare and sell foods from their home, at temporary food markets, at farmers markets and farm stands, and through agricultural subscriptions. The legislation was signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown last September, and exists largely thanks to the work of a Los Angeles advocate who wanted to sell his homemade bread in a few local restaurants, reports Food Safety News.

See also:

- Mark Your Calendar for the Last-Ever Underground Market on December 22

- GMO Labeling: Looking to the Future Post-Prop. 37

Exceptions include food made with cream, custard, or meat fillings, which are categorized as "potentially hazardous" because they may require temperature controls to keep toxins from growing -- a rule which seems pretty fair, to be honest. Home kitchen equipment has to be kept clean and in proper condition, and the Department of Public Health will inspect the premises of there are customer complaints.

Homemade food producers could make up to $35,000 in gross sales in 2013, a number that could rise to $50,000 by 2015, according to Food Safety News. So this could start to be a solid new revenue-generator for many home cooking enthusiasts who haven't had a commercial permit to sell their goods before. And with sites like Good Eggs that aggregate and incubate new culinary entrepreneurs (one of our top trends for 2013), the next few years could bring a brave new world for California home cooks.

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About The Author

Anna Roth

Anna Roth

Anna Roth is SF Weekly's former Food & Drink Editor and author of West Coast Road Eats: The Best Road Food From San Diego to the Canadian Border.


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