Crank Up the Oven, Governor Says It's Okay to Sell Homemade Goodies

The 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.

  • “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.

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.

Do you cook or bake at home? Does this look like a good opportunity for you? 

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Gladwyn d'Souza September 30, 2012 at 02:31 AM
Good for Jerry. He also legalized farmer's markets in '77. Before that under health standards farmers couldnt sell directly to the public.
Maryann Barefoot-Anderson January 12, 2013 at 09:11 AM
real excited to start making my mothers canned zucchini. But need to know what college and or schooling course I need to take ? And what college course would be called. I quess food and safety license.
Gladwyn d'Souza January 17, 2013 at 09:54 PM
The CA Dept of Public Health is supposed to put on the classes and certification. They have started anywhere. You should ask you county Health Dept to notify you when they are ready to start.


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