My State Senator, Phil Rockefeller, has introduced SB 5748 – “An act relating to cottage food operations.”
Apparently, Senator Phil wants to make sure candy, cereal, granola, dry mixes, vinegar, dried herbs, and baked goods can be sold along with a statement in at least 11 point font that “Made in home kitchen that has not been inspected by the Washington Department of Agriculture” as long as you do not make more than $15,000 doing so.
Here are the Pros and Cons according to the Bill:
PRO: When doorbelling, people often offer food and I always accept it and haven’t gotten sick. In terms of what is regulated, there needs to be a rule of reason as to how far the regulations go. Food is sold at fairs, and farmers markets, and made in home kitchens. Right now, it is illegal to bake or decorate cakes at home and sell them. Seventeen states allow certain foods made in a home kitchen to be sold. Most of those states do not have a dollar limit on annual sales. What I have to do now is go to a certified community kitchen at the local grange and find a babysitter for my children to operate my cake decorating business. It is ok if they want to inspect my home.
CON: The bill allows foods that take a lot of hand contact to be sold, that may spread disease. Many home kitchens have children and pets and there is concern about selling food prepared in home kitchens. The agencies are happy to assist small businesses with complying – as commercial kitchens are available in most communities. The current bill is opposed as written. When people get sick from a food borne illness, it can be devastating to both the consumer and to the producer who sold the food.
Seriously, with a several billion-dollar hole in the state budget, Senator Phil, don’t you have better things to do?