Home bakers, preservers, and candy makers may very soon be allowed to sell food stuffs prepared in their personal homes in California, if a new bill comes to be passed.
Local organizations and Assemblymembers are currently waiting with crossed fingers to see if the California Homemade Food Act will make it through the full Assembly, and eventually the Senate, for voting into law.
The California Homemade Food Act, AB 1616, is a cottage food law, also referred to as a “baker’s bill,” which aims to legalize the selling of home-prepared foods to the general public.
Such cottage food laws exist to promote small-scale food production within local economies, encouraging local food producers to sell their own creations like jams, jellies, and breads at farmers markets, fairs, and events. Such initiatives also help aspiring food entrepreneurs to succeed, as they can build a local consumer base and start to build income while selling homemade food goods as a start-up.
Currently, state law prohibits such operations—selling foods prepared in a private home kitchen—and in some areas of California, even local bake sales are not allowed. If passed, AB 1616 could be a great boon to the already budding local food movement.
Under the proposed bill, the following foods (among a list of many others not listed here) would be legal to prepare within a private home residence for public sale:
- Baked goods (but with no cream or meat fillings);
- Jams and jellies;
- Granola and other dry cereal;
- Chocolate covered non-perishables (such as nuts and dried fruit);
- Dry baking mixes;
- Herb blends;
- Dried tea, dried fruit, honey, and candy.
On April 17, the bill was passed unanimously by the Assembly Health Committee. Next steps include a vote in the Assembly Appropriations Committee, a vote by the entire Assembly, and then finally by the Senate. There’s still a long way to go for this bill to make it into law.