Last week, the Governor of California signed the California Homemade Act, A.B. 1616 into Law. That sounds like great news, but my sentiments run more along a bloger's post written on the subject back in July, where he said " thanks... for giving us what we should already have...?"
Here's the text of his post; the bold emphasis is mine.
How ludicrous is the current state of food prep and selling due to restrictive regulation? As of right now, my wife could make a loaf of bread and some blackberry jam. A friend could offer to buy that loaf of bread and jar of jam. But if that bread and that jam are not produced in a professional kitchen, that purchase would be considered a misdemeanor in California. Never mind that both parties know each other. Never mind that Rachel is certified by Sacramento County as a Master Food Preserver. Nor that she is an engineer and “wired” a bit more to the, er, meticulous side. Nor mind our kitchen is as spotless as any professional kitchen. Doesn’t matter. The friend who wishes to buy that jam and bread- no matter how much trust there is in Rachel’s food prep, no matter how confident in Rachel, no matter that the friend sampled a loaf and jam from the same batches- that food is ”bad” and cannot be legally sold. My wife, food bootlegger. Of course, she can give it to the friend, that’s ok. But exchange $10 for it, and the food is unfit to eat because it hasn’t been given the Department of Agriculture’s stamp of approval. Snap on the cuffs. Go to jail. Do not collect $200. (Actually, pay a fine, you incompetent and unsanitary food producer, you.)
It makes you think, “Hey, we need a law that would make such a sale legal.” Hence the The California Homemade Food Act, AB 1616. Many are excited about this. I’m not as excited for the simple reason that I don’t feel grateful to the powers that be for “giving us” (through this legislation) a reduced portion of the naturally held right we once had- the right to sell what we make. I’m not excited about the CDA holding the underlying assumption that we need to be protected from ourselves and our neighbor’s poor sanitation in the kitchen. It’s insulting, patronizing, if not outright degrading. In its way, such over-reaching regulation has made people frighteningly uneducated about what they are eating- its health and quality.
While I half-heartedly support the spirit behind the bill, the other half of my heart holds onto the outrage of being patted on the head, handed a crouton, and told I should be grateful for the fine loaf of bread I’ve just been given." Source
If a product requires a teaspoon of salt, you cannot use the regular box of salt in your kitchen, but have a separate box in a separate area. Further, each and every product must have the exact recipe submitted for approval, and have a USDA approved label. It is a very tedious process, and probably the fees are high. As much as I might have a market for my biscotti, I'd fail going through the hoops.
I'm all for Food Safety, particularly in my own kitchen for my own consumption. However, I would never buy home canned goods like green beans (which are not allowed by Law anyway) because I'd never know if they were properly canned to prevent botulism.
"Prior to the California Homemade Food Act, outdated statutes and local ordinances strictly prohibited everyone from home-based, artisanal bread bakers to small-scale, jam and preserve vendors from selling their products. Now, cottage food producers will be permitted to produce and sell every-day foods such as breads, tortillas, dry roasted nuts and legumes, cookies, granola, churros, jams, jellies and other fruit preserves to their communities.
Producers choosing to sell directly to consumers will register with the local health department, and those choosing to sell to local retail shops, such as the neighborhood coffee shop or corner store, will be subject to initial inspection and permitting by the local health department. All producers will also be required to complete a food processor course, verify that the home kitchen meets specific standards, and disclose on the product label that the product was made in a home kitchen." Source