New California Cottage Food Rules

January 27, 2013

Have you or a friend always wanted to make your specialty food bright idea go commercial, but the cost of renting a certified kitchen is prohibitive? Thanks to the California State Legislature and Gov. Jerry Brown, you can do it all from home now – with some limits.

To all who make great jams, cookies, flavored nuts and lots more and have heard a little about California’s new rules on Cottage Food Operations (CFOs), here’s the scoop.

If you are interested in selling your products from your home, or at farmers’ markets, bake sales and community events only, you need a Class A annual registration or permit to operate. To get this, you have to complete a “Class A Cottage Food Operation Self-Certification Checklist” and its attachments. Class B CFOs fill out another form to sell to local shops, restaurants and other third parties.

Within three months of obtaining a registration or permit, you have to complete a Food Processor Course run by the California Department of Public Health.

Here are the foods you can make at home that the state deems to be “non-potential hazardous:” Baked goods without cream, custard or meat fillings such as bread, churros, cookies, pastries and tortillas; candy including chocolate covered nuts and dried fruit; dried fruit and pasta; dry baking mixes, granolas, cereals and trail mixes; fruit pies and empanadas and fruit tamales; honey, jams, jellies and fruit butters; nut mixes, nut butters and popcorn; vinegar and mustards; roasted coffee and dried tea, and waffle cones and pizelles. Sonoma County Environmental Health & Safety, 625 Fifth St., Santa Rosa 565-6565. More at  Outside Sonoma County consult local county government.

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