- Summary of the Homemade Food Act and full bill language
- En Español: Lo que la Ley de Comida Casera de California, AB 1616, logrará- un resumen
- Frequently Asked Questions
- En Español: Preguntas Frecuentes Acerca de la Ley de Comida Casera de California
- Cottage food laws in other States
- What People are Saying
- Who Supports It
- Video: our bill in Assembly Health Committee
California Homemade Food Act, AB 1616, is being implemented now!
New updates about the implementation of the California Homemade Food Act (AB 1616):The California Conference of Directors of Environmental Health (CCDEH), convened an implementation working group composed of representatives from SELC, Assemblymember Gatto’s office, other groups and some soon-to-be cottage food producers.
The working group has met twice and reviewed a large number of model documents that have been drafted by CCDEH members. The final documents will be offered to local departments of environmental health to use (at their own choice) in enforcing the new law. The documents are really close to final and all members of the working group are anticipating that local departments of environmental health will be prepared to enforce the new law beginning on their first day of regular business in January.
The price will vary from county to county. Most counties will have info available on their websites before Christmas. You can call your local department of environmental health to inquire if you cannot find information about cottage food operations online.
There is an issue with the course that producers will need to complete within 90 days of beginning their cottage food operation; the law requires that the state-level California Department of Public Health (CDPH) design this course and the Department has indicated they will not to able to do this by March 2013. CCDEH and other stakeholders have proposed a number of practical interim solutions. CDPH has not made any firm indications regarding their plan of action but we at the SELC are hopeful that the department will act on one of the interim solutions that have been proposed or come up with an interim solution of their own.
Regardless, local health departments will begin issuing permits and registration forms starting in January in accordance with the new law.
Special note to jam, jelly, fruit butter and marmalade makers: As some of you may have noticed, the law that got signed has rather strict definitions of what kinds of fruit preserves can be made in cottage food operations (based on federal law). This was done at the insistence of certain public health professionals and is not something Sustainable Economies Law Center or other key supporters of the bill advocated for. Since the law gives CDPH power to change the list we are planning to petition the Department to not require that fruit preserves meet the federal definitions of jam, jelly, fruit butter or fruit preserve since we don’t believe this is in the best interests of the public’s health and it will be difficult for regulators to enforce these standards for fruit preserves anyway. If you make jams or other fruit preserves and are especially interested in this issue (and would be willing to write letters to CDPH next year) please send Christina a quick email at firstname.lastname@example.org and she will keep you updates about fruit preserves in particular.
If you have questions about the law please consult our summary of the bill (or the bill itself) and our list of frequently asked questions and answers. If after reading those materials you still have a specific question regarding how to get a permit or any question that’s very specific to your business we suggest you contact your local department of environmental health. We do appreciate your questions and comments about matters that could be more clearly addressed on our website or those regarding more general policy and legal issues affecting small food enterprise.