Wednesday, April 18 2012 Assemblyman Mike Gatto’s California Homemade Food Act Clears First Committee Sacramento, CA – Assemblyman Mike Gatto’s (D- Los Angeles) Assembly Bill (AB) 1616, the California Homemade Food Act, earned its first legislative victory Tuesday with a unanimous vote of 15-0 in the Assembly Health Committee. The Act would allow for the sale of certain homemade, non-potentially hazardous foods by creating a two-tier system of “cottage food operations” based upon the point of product distribution. The Assemblyman made a commitment to help small-scale entrepreneurs improve access to locally produced foods after his constituent, Mark Stambler, was shut down by the Los Angeles Department of Environmental Health last June for selling homemade breads baked in the brick oven in his home. “This victory today in the Health Committee is substantial for artisan foodmakers like Mark,” said Gatto, “I am happy to see such broad support clearing the path for healthy homemade foods to be sold.” Under AB 1616, foods available for sale would include every-day items such as breads, tortillas, dry roasted nuts and legumes, granola, churros, jams, jellies and other fruit preserves, rice cakes and cookies. If the producer chose to sell directly to the consumer, he or she would be required to register with the local health department and complete a food handler’s course. If a producer chose to sell to a retail outlet, such as the neighborhood coffee shop, he or she would be subject to inspections by the local health department. “During these tough times, removing the stifling red tape that surrounds these small neighborhood businesses is an important thing to do,” commented Gatto, “Creating a legal structure for the safe, in-home production of certain foods that respects the importance of public health is a sensible approach.” The legislation is consistent with recent changes in the laws of 32 other states. Amendments were made to the bill after its introduction to be reflective of numerous conversations with local health directors, small and large-scale retail interests, and cultural and ethnic groups. The bill has thus far received the support of a variety of organizations statewide, including the Los Angeles Bread Bakers, the Sustainable Economies Law Center, Proyecto Jardin, Whole Foods Market Northern California, the Central Coast Alliance for a Sustainable Economy, and the California Food and Justice Coalition. AB 1616 has been re-referred to the Assembly Committee on Appropriations where it will have its second committee hearing in the coming weeks. Mike Gatto is the Assistant Speaker Pro Tempore of the California State Assembly. He represents the cities of Burbank, Glendale, and parts of Los Angeles, including Los Feliz, North Hollywood, Silver Lake, Toluca Lake, Valley Glen, and Van Nuys. Contact: Taylor Giroux (916) 319-2043
CURRENT BILL STATUS MEASURE : A.B. No. 1616 AUTHOR(S) : Gatto (Coauthors: Huffman, Nestande, V. Manuel Pérez, and Wieckowski) (Coauthor: Senator DeSaulnier). TOPIC : Food safety: cottage food operations. HOUSE LOCATION : ASM +LAST AMENDED DATE : 05/03/2012 TYPE OF BILL : Active Non-Urgency Non-Appropriations Majority Vote Required State-Mandated Local Program Fiscal Non-Tax Levy LAST HIST. ACT. DATE: 05/25/2012 LAST HIST. ACTION : From committee: Do pass. (Ayes 12. Noes 5.) (May 25). Read second time. Ordered to third reading. FILE : ASM THIRD READING FILE DATE : 05/29/2012 ITEM : 154 COMM. LOCATION : ASM APPROPRIATIONS COMM. ACTION DATE : 05/25/2012 COMM. ACTION : Do pass. COMM. VOTE SUMMARY : Ayes: 12 Noes: 05 PASS TITLE : An act to amend Sections 109947, 110460, 111955, 113789, 114021, and 114023 of, to add Section 113758 to, and to add Chapter 11.5 (commencing with Section 114365) to Part 7 of Division 104 of, the Health and Safety Code, relating to food safety.
SEC. 5. Article 5 (commencing with Section 113400) is added to Chapter 11 of Part 6 of Division 104 of the Health and Safety Code, to read: Article 5. Cottage Food Operations 113400. This article shall be known, and may be cited, as the California Homemade Food Act. 113401. Unless the context otherwise requires, the meaning of terms used in this article, as applicable, shall be the same as the definitions found under the California Retail Food Code (Part 7 (commencing with Section 113700)). Additionally, for the purposes of this article, the following definitions apply: (a) "Adulterated" means either of the following: (1) Food that bears or contains any poisonous or deleterious substance that may render the food impure or injurious to health. (2) Food that is manufactured, prepared, or stored in a manner that deviates from a HACCP plan, as defined in Section 113801, so as to pose a discernable increase in risk. (b) "Cottage food operation" means a private home where cottage food products are prepared or packaged to be sold directly to consumers, including through the internet or mail order, and to in-state retail food facilities pursuant to this article. (c) "Cottage food products" means foods that are prepared for sale in the home kitchen of a person's primary private home and are not potentially hazardous food, as defined in Section 113871. Cottage food products include, but are not limited to, nonpotentially hazardous baked goods, jams, jellies, fruit butters, preserves, pickles with a pH level of 4.6 or below when measured at 75 degrees Fahrenheit, candy, granola, dry cereals, popcorns, nut mixes, dried fruit, chocolate covered nonperishable nuts and dried fruit, dry baking mixes, roasted coffees, dry teas, honey, and similar products specified in rules adopted by the department. (d) "Home kitchen" means a kitchen primarily intended for use by residents of a private home. It may contain one or more stoves or ovens, including a double oven, and shall be designed for residential use.
The California Homemade Food Act, AB 1616, may be a game-changer for entrepreneurs who want to cook in their kitchen and sell on the street. Vendors who make breads, nut mixes, fruit butters, preserves and other foods that don’t spoil at room temperature would be able to legally cook from home if the bill passes. The state assembly’s Health Committee amended the bill on April 10, and it will go back to the committee for a re-vote on April 17, said Pamela Davis, communications director for Assemblyman Mike Gatto, who authored the bill. So far there’s not a lot of opposition to the legislation, according to the sponsors, and it could be on the governor’s desk by August.