Texas Cottage Food Bill Signed Into Law

Categories: News

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Photo courtesy of Callye Alvarado
Cookies like these sugar cookie "tortilla chips"with fruit "salsa" from home baker Callye Alvarado are finally street legal.
Earlier this year, Robb Walsh profiled so-called "pirate bakers" in his feature "Come and Bake It," which chronicled the efforts of these home bakers, canners and tamale-makers as they strove to get their products legalized.

"Bake sales and homemade tamales are only two of a long list of beloved Texas food traditions that health authorities are stamping out," Walsh wrote.

"Your tax dollars are also helping eradicate the dewberry jam, mayhaw and muscadine jellies, and other preserves that were once sold at farm stands. To the disappointment of many budding local food entrepreneurs, homemade food products may not be sold at farmers' markets either."

The solution? The Texas Cottage Food Bill, also known as the Bake Sale Bill. HB 1139 sought to allow licensing of baked goods, jams, jellies, spice mixtures and many other "non-potentially hazardous" foodstuffs for sale.

On Friday, June 17, Governor Rick Perry finally signed that bill into law.

Lest eager bakers and canners head straight up to their local farmers' market this weekend, however, there are a few caveats to the finalized bill that had to be amended along the way.

"Foods are limited to non-potentially hazardous baked goods, canned jams, jellies, and dry spice mixes," according to an excellent summary provided by the Texas Cottage Food website. And those foods may only be sold directly to consumers, which means no farmers' markets and -- equally importantly -- no website sales.

The food must also be labeled correctly, containing the name and address of the creator as well as a "warning label" saying that the food hasn't been inspected by a health department. The language of that statement is still under construction, however: "We are waiting for the Department of State Health Services to develop the specific rules for labeling," says the Texas Cottage Food website.

There's plenty of time for the State to figure out the wording, though: The law doesn't go into effect until September 1, 2011.



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16 comments
Brucefedrick123@gmail.com
Brucefedrick123@gmail.com

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Jimpastry
Jimpastry

While I recognize and accept that this new law will benefit many home bakers,  it represents the final nail in the coffin for my bakery.  I have played by all the rules for three and one-half years; (storefront, health department inspections and permitting, local permits and licenses, insurance, taxes, etc.) .  Now anyone can do this out of their home with virtually no regulation, oversight, or overhead costs.  I'm all for competition, but let's have a level field on which to compete.

One additional concern is the fact that the HD can only "document" complaints regarding these "newly legal" home bakers.  No inspections allowed.  Caveat emptor!

Corey
Corey

Yay my pickles and jalepenos are legal again.. $5 a jar, all organic, all grown by me..

Michael Sestito
Michael Sestito

now the question that needs to be answered is, what paper work are people going to have to file in order to establish a texas food cottage establishment?

Denise
Denise

I could understand the No Internet Sales. They didn't want to loose Tax revenue from sales outside of Texas. However, I was VERY bummed to see No Farmer's Markets. Folks we can than Harris County and the money of their constituents that was used to Lobby Against bill. They threatened to kill the bill on the floor if the No Farmers Markets was not added. Hmmm, WHO needs to be voted out on the next election?

Samuel Sonderegger
Samuel Sonderegger

they can have my tames when they pry them from my cold, dead fingers.

Adhebert
Adhebert

I am not understanding why farmer's markets are verboten.  A farmer's market to me is someone who has grown or produced a value added product selling that product directly to the public (consumer).  Are farmer's markets in Texas somehow different.

Angie
Angie

Well as usual reporters tend to only get things half right...LOL.  The law that was signed was SB 81 which allows for individuals to sell baked goods, jams & jellies, and dry spice mixes from their home kitchens without the local HD approval or scrutiny.  Tamale makers must still have a commercial kitchen and be inspected by their local HD as tamales are a potentially hazardous food.  HB 1139 died in the house not even being read by the deadline. 

csoakley
csoakley

Rick Perry for President!!! A campaign platform with this as his only plank can guarantee an easy trip to the Oval Office.

Buffett_3605
Buffett_3605

Are you not making customers happy or what?  You have a huge advantage over home bakers.  You have a health permit that certifies that YOU do things right, and a store front in which to display your product.

Katharine Shilcutt
Katharine Shilcutt

The way I interpret it is that farmers' markets sometimes act as an intermediary, vouching for the provenance of the items for sale as well as their legality. Most vendors have to go through a strict approval process at these markets; they're not just showing up on a Saturday morning with a basket of peaches that could come from anywhere, or cookies that they may or may not have made.

Hence, that doesn't really fit the law's language of only allowing people to sell their goods directly to consumers. I don't agree with this caveat, but at least we're moving in a good direction overall.

TEA PARTY FOREVER!!!
TEA PARTY FOREVER!!!

that's right Angie!!!! The people of TEXAS have SPOKEN!!! now we need to build an ELECTRIFIED WALL and a MOAT FULL OF ALLIGATORS around every single TAMALLY vendor!!!! These INVADERS are selling their HAZARDOUS FOOD to our AMERICAN CHILDREN!!!!

WEAK UP, PEOPLE!!!!

phil
phil

What's half right?  What you said is exactly what the article said.

Katharine Shilcutt
Katharine Shilcutt

I said nothing about tamales being approved under the law. In fact, I specifically stated that "foods are limited to non-potentially hazardous baked goods, canned jams, jellies, and dry spice mixes."

SGTNoble
SGTNoble

You idiot, sick people are not repeat customers.  Most of them over cook all of their stuff because they're from a country where if you don't you could become very sick. I have eaten street food from 21 different countries including Mexico and I have never been sick.  Just look at who is serving and the condition of their equipment,(not if it's old, but if its dirty), then make a judgement call. Egypt was the worst by far.

REAL AMERICAN
REAL AMERICAN

WOW! Why don't you move to an island?... And take the time to learn English. You tea baggers are so mentally limited. Scary.

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