In 2011, the Texas Legislature passed the Texas Cottage Food Law, a bill that makes it legal to sell certain foods that are made in a residential kitchen like baked goods, jams, jellies, and spice mixes. This bill was a great start for entrepreneurial Texans with an interest in making and selling homemade goodies. This year, the Texas Legislature amended the bill to include more foods and make it possible to sell goods at local places like farmers markets, festivals, and non-profit fairs. Below is a summary of the new requirements of the amended Texas Cottage Food Law that was effective September 2, 2013.
- Foods that are not potentially hazardous are allowed to be sold under the Cottage Food Law. These include baked goods that do not require refrigeration (cookies, cakes, breads, pies, pastries); unroasted nut butters; canned jams and jellies; roasted coffee or dry tea; coated and uncoated nuts; popcorn snacks; mustard; dehydrated fruits and vegetables; cereal (including granola); fruit butters; dried herbs and herb mixes; vinegar; pickles; fruit pies. These foods are not potentially hazardous because they do not have to be held at specific temperatures to prevent foodborne illness. Potentially hazardous foods such as eggs, meat, poultry, shellfish, milk, and other dairy products can be used to prepare a food, but if the final product requires time or temperature control to prevent the growth of bacteria, it cannot be sold under the Cottage Food Law. Examples of potentially hazardous foods are cheesecake or cream cheese icing on a cake.
- Foods may now be sold at the individual’s home, a farmer’s market, a farm stand, or at municipal, county, and non-profit events. Foods cannot be sold over the internet, by mail order, or at wholesale. However, foods may be delivered in person to the customer, at which time the sale can take place.
- Foods must be packaged to prevent contamination. Bulky items (e.g. wedding cakes) are exempt from being packaged; however, common sense should be used to keep them safe.
- Foods sold under the Cottage Food Law must be labeled with the following information: name and physical address of the operation; common name of the product; any major food allergens that are present in the food; and the following statement, “This food is made in a home kitchen and is not inspected by the Department of State Health Services or a local health department.”
- A Food Handler’s Card is required. Beginning January 1, 2014, an owner of a Cottage Food Business is required to have a food handler’s card. You can earn your card through Texas A&M AgriLife Extension or other website. Texas A&M AgriLife Extension has an accredited food handler’s course that will help you learn the basic food safety practices that can help assure the food you prepare and sell is safe.
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension in Bosque County will be offering a Food Handler’s Course on Thursday, September 26, from 10am-12pm at the Clifton Civic Center. The cost of the course is $20. At the end of the course, all participants will receive the Food Handler’s Card that is required by the new Cottage Food Law.
Click here to register online or call the Extension Office at 254-435-2331 to RSVP. Contact Kate Whitney at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. We will offer another course in the coming months, so stay tuned for more details if you cannot attend this one.