To: ALABAMA State Legislators
We are petitioning our Alabama state legislators to enact a Cottage Foods bill authorizing The Alabama Department of Agriculture and local health departments to create a new category of food production called a cottage food operation, which, unlike other types of commercial food facilities, can be operated out of a home kitchen. The types of foods that a cottage...
To: ALABAMA State Legislators
We are petitioning our Alabama state legislators to enact a Cottage Foods bill authorizing The Alabama Department of Agriculture and local health departments to create a new category of food production called a cottage food operation, which, unlike other types of commercial food facilities, can be operated out of a home kitchen. The types of foods that a cottage food operation can sell are limited to “non-potentially hazardous foods,” which are foods that are unlikely to grow harmful bacteria or other toxic microorganisms at room temperature. The list of items includes, but is not limited to: breads, cakes, doughnuts, pastries, buns, rolls, cookies, biscuits, and pies (except meat or cream pies )candies, ) molded chocolates, chocolate truffles, jams and jellies. All are items that are permitted for sale at Alabama state sanctioned Farmer’s Markets.
• Cottage food products can be sold directly to consumers, through the internet or mail order and to in-state retail food facilities (ie, grocery stores) provided that the cottage food operator obtains the proper registration or permit.
• In addition to help from family or household members, cottage food operations may also have up to one full time equivalent employee.
• Indirect sales (eg sales through local shops, cafes and restaurants) Individual county health departments may choose to coordinate and allow for inter-county sales of cottage food products. Direct sales (between a producer and a consumer) may occur anywhere in Alabama (eg at farmers’ markets, in a home, at special events, and fundraisers.
• While preparing homemade food products for sale, small children and pets may not be in the kitchen (they can be elsewhere in the house). Smoking, other non-commercial meal preparation, washing clothes and other such household activities may not take place in the kitchen while “cottage food” products are being made.
This law will help create employment opportunities for state residents currently out of work to become food entrepreneurs. It is acknowledged that the cottage food laws may require food processors to pay a license and/or permit fee. It is this licensing requirement that could bring in money for the entire state or partially pay for any cost incurred for additional regulatory program operations.
Cottage food laws have been passed in 32 other states, some of them as recently as the last year. The success in these states gives us hope that Alabama can and will follow suit to help small business owners succeed in a growing market. It is currently impossible to obtain a home kitchen license in Alabama that will allow home business owners to sell outside of State sanctioned farmers’ markets or on the internet. A statewide Cottage Food Law could change all of that and help change Alabama's economy for the better.
Barbara Lee Parsons