Here are more clarifications about Cottage Food Bill.  Under the new law you cannot sell at farmers markets – just directly from your home (as if you weren’t doing that already).

http://www.texascottagefoodlaw.com/TheLaw/LawSummary.aspx

http://www.robbwalsh.com/2011/05/victory-texas-cottage-food-bill-passes/
and a link to the rules.

1. Food must be sold from your home, directly to another consumer.  No
sales at farmer’s markets, county fairs, roadside stands, local
festivals, craft shows, wholesale, or resale to restaurants, grocery
stores, coffee shops, etc.  The food must be purchased at your home.

2. Foods are limited to non-potentially hazardous baked goods
(cookies, cakes, breads, Danish, donuts, pastries, pies, and other
items that are prepared by baking the item in an oven), canned jams,
jellies, and dry herb mixes. THESE ARE THE ONLY FOODS ALLOWED.  If you
do not see it on this list, it’s not allowed.

3. Annual gross income from sales of above food items must be $50,000 or less.

Taken from the FARFA website, regarding the Cottage Food Bill and other similar bills this past legislative season . . .

———————————————————————————————-

FARFA worked on several bills in the regular 2011 Texas legislative session.  While the raw milk bill (HB 75/ SB 237) died, portions of the cottage foods (HB 1139 and HB 2084) and farmers market (HB 3387) bills were passed within SB 81.  Specifically, under SB 81, small-scale producers of low-risk foods are exempt from regulation under the following conditions:

1)  They are selling non-hazardous baked goods, canned jams or jellies, or dried herbs directly to consumers;

2) They make $50,000 or less in gross sales of these foods;

3) They sell from their home; and

4) They label the food with a label that includes the name and address of the producer, and a statement that the food is not inspected by the state or local health departments. (The Department of State Health Services will adopt a rule governing the labeling requirement)

SB 81 also includes two provisions to help farmers market vendors:

1)  Clarifies that farmers and food vendors at farmers markets can obtain temporary food establishment permits for up to one year, without limiting permits based on the number of days during which the farmers market takes place.  This provision recognizes that farmers markets are special events regardless of the number of days that they occur on, while providing the flexibility for local governments to decide the best option for their jurisdiction.

2) Prevents mandatory mechanical refrigeration or electric heating requirements.  While the state and local health departments can still adopt rules governing what temperatures foods must be kept at (to keep cold foods cold and hot foods hot), they cannot dictate the specific method by which the farmer or vendor meets these requirements.  The only exception would be when a municipality owns the farmer’s market.  In those cases, the municipality may specify the method to comply with food temperatures.

These farmers market provisions do not apply in counties with a population of less than 50,000 people and over which no local health department has jurisdiction.

Read the entire text of SB 81

OTHER BILLS OF INTEREST

To read the full text of each bill, click on the link with the bill number.

HB 268 – Relating to the exemption from sales and use taxes … for timber and certain items used in or on a farm, ranch, timber operation, or agricultural aircraft operation.

HB 274 – Relating to the reform of certain remedies and procedures in civil actions and family law matters, referred to as “Loser pays.”  This bill will make it more difficult for individuals and small nonprofits to take on large corporations in the Texas courts.

HB 414 – Relating to the regulation of equine dentistry and the conducting of licensing examinations by the State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners.  Background:  in 2006 the Texas Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners established a rule that floating horses’ teeth was veterinary medicine. After several lawsuits and multiple bill introductions, a bill was passed this session that makes floating a horses’ teeth a veterinary procedure, but allows non-veterinarians the ability to provide this service under “appropriate” supervision of the veterinarian.

HB 1451 – Relating to the licensing and regulation of certain dog and cat breeders; providing penalties.

HB 1992 – Relating to the authority of the Texas Animal Health Commission to set and collect fees.  Provides authority to TAHC to set fees “for any service provided by the commission” through 2015.

HB 2471 – Relating to limiting the civil liability of certain persons who obtain or provide medical care and treatment for certain animals.

HB 2994 – Relating to the creation, operation, and funding of the urban farm microenterprise support program.

SB 18 – Relating to the use of eminent domain authority.

SB 89 – Relating to summer nutrition programs provided for by school districts.

SB 199 – Relating to agricultural projects in certain schools, including the eligibility of nonprofit organizations that partner with schools to receive grants.  Authorizes TDA to provide grants to nonprofits that partner with schools in urban districts to demonstrate projects designed to foster an understanding and awareness of agriculture.

SB 332 – Relating to the ownership of groundwater below the surface of land, the right to produce that groundwater, and the management of groundwater in this state.

SB 387 – Relating to the sale and consumption in this state of raw oysters harvested from Texas waters.

SB 449 – Relating to the appraisal for ad valorem tax purposes of open-space land devoted to water stewardship purposes on the basis of its productive capacity.

SB 479 – Relating to limiting the liability of certain persons for farm animal activities.  Extends the protections against liability  that are currently provided for equine activities to all farm animal activities, such as fairs, rodeos, and parades.

5-7pm. At Hope Fellowship – 1721 Sanger Ave. (the big green/gray house!) Learn how to preserve some basic foods – to extend all those lovely things you grow into seasons beyond their time. Mary will be demonstrating by canning wild mustang grapes for a lovely jam – and possibly show-casing some of her famous wild plum jam.  Led by Mary Hudson. Please RSVP your attendance to Bethel – vista@worldhungerrelief.org.

Please consider donating $5 to help the Urban Gardening Coalition continue our workshops into the future.  And bring something snacky to share with others – so we don’t all get cranky with edible anticipation!

Originally appearing on Minnesota Public Radio online – “Mpls. passes plan to expand urban farming” - by Madeleine Baran

April 15, 2011

St. Paul, Minn. — A plan to expand urban farming in Minneapolis received final approval from the city council and Mayor R.T. Rybak on Friday.

The Urban Agriculture Policy Plan opens the door for farmers to use land for commercial farms. It also recommends incorporating urban agriculture into the city’s long-range planning efforts. As part of the plan, the city will review its land inventory to look for places to grow food.

“I think it’s a big step forward,” said City Council member Cam Gordon, a key supporter of the plan. “It’s going to allow commercial growing in the city and really create a local food economy.”

Local food advocates said the plan was needed in part because the city lacked zoning codes for market gardens or urban farms. They said that made it impossible to create innovative local food ventures. The council still needs to formally approve the changes to the zoning code, but city planner Amanda Arnold said she expects that to happen by the end of the year.

The plan is part of Homegrown Minneapolis, a broader effort to strengthen the local food movement. Over the past two years, the city has created community gardens on city-owned lots, developed mini-farmers markets in urban areas, and led workshops on canning food.

Article originally appears on the Farmers Market Coalition website.  To read the complete article, visit the FMC website.

States advocate for legislation and regulation to support home-based micro-processing

Posted on April 19th, 2011 by admin. Filed under News, Newsletter.

By Drew Love, FMC Research & Education Intern

When the Food Safety Modernization Act passed in 2010, it established an important precedent by allowing smaller, direct-marketing farms to be exempt from many of the new federal requirements, provided that they could prove compliance with applicable state and local regulations. Now, a wave of legislative and regulatory activity has been sweeping across the country, with states attempting to create more explicit rules governing the sale of food at farmers markets and other direct-to-consumer outlets. Some of these laws, generally referred to as “Cottage Food,” or Home-based Food Processor bills, allow small-scale food producers to make low risk food products in their own kitchens, and then sell their products directly to consumers at venues like farmers markets. In 2011 alone, Arizona, Florida, New Jersey, South Dakota, Washington, and Pennsylvania have introduced similar legislation. Maryland and Oklahoma are in the process of re-introducing cottage food laws after seeing legislation die in committee in 2010.

It seems like a basic idea, doesn’t it? But reshaping cottage food regulation has a dramatic impact on the viability of small scale food producers. Without cottage food regulation, these same bakers, cupcake chefs and artisan jam producers would have to make their food in a certified commercial kitchen. Commercial kitchen rentals, as it turns out, are often prohibitively expensive for an upstart business. Even if small businesses do have the income stream to rent a kitchen, it still takes a significant bite out of their profit margin.

So how do these cottage food laws work? . . . .

To continue reading, please visit the article on the FMC website.

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