Panel approves new standards for home bakers selling cottage foods

Panel approves new standards for home bakers selling cottage foods

Edward H. Thomson

TRENTON, N.J. – The Assembly Consumer Affairs Committee cleared Assemblyman Edward Thomson’s bill establishing health standards and other requirements for home bakers who sell their food in New Jersey.

The bill (A4580/S73) requires home bakers to obtain a permit from the state Health Department, register as a business in their hometown, and label their products with allergen and other information. They are also subject to kitchen inspections by local health authorities and cannot sell food that could be contaminated by the growth of bacteria.

“Commonsense health and safety standards protect consumers and entrepreneurs selling food out of their home,” Thomson (R-Monmouth) said. “It allows home bakers to earn additional income and fulfill their passions while also making sure buyers are fully aware of the ingredients and preparation facilities.”

Under the bill, home bakers cannot exceed $50,000 in annual sales; however, there is no limit to the number of shelf-stable products they can sell. Examples of popular cottage food products include baked goods, candy, chocolate-covered nuts, dried herbs and seasonings, dried pasta, fruit jams, granola, nut butters, and popcorn. Those possessing cottage food operator permits can only sell out of their homes, a farmers’ market or food stand, or a temporary retail food establishment and only to New Jersey residents.

The bill now goes to the speaker for further consideration.