Texas' New Food Cottage Law Might Actually Mean Something for Home Bakers After All

Categories: Food News

The Texas Baker's Bill is getting closer to being useful to bakers.

Late last week, news circulated about new language for the Texas Food Cottage Law, which passed last year and allows home bakers to legally sell their goods with a few certain conditions. After the law was passed, the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) had the job of establishing a set of guidelines for labels on home baked goods, and wrote a set of rules that many Texas home bakers felt were heavy-handed and in conflict with the original intent of the law. The rules -- weight of each product, a complete list of ingredients in descending order and full allergen disclaimers -- would have been difficult for home bakers with limited resources.

Bakers rallied. In the end, the DSHS had the choice to either accept the new guidelines as they were written in committee or revise them based on public input.

On Thursday Lora Ann Gerson, who is a staffer in Senator Kirk Watson's office, forwarded an email to a cottage food law supporter Kara Perry, with details on the new revised language. And for the most part, the bakers are happy with them.

Kelley Masters has been a major driving force behind this movement and runs a Facebook page, Texas Baker's Bill, that serves as a hub of information for the law.

"I'm satisfied with the new proposed rules," Masters wrote in an email. "In my opinion, they are a fair compromise that serves the public interest."

The proposed language simplifies the labeling process. Per the email from Senator Watson's office, which was forwarded from Olivia Walker with the DSHS, labels will need to include the address of the food production operation, the common or usual name of the product, lists of any major food allergens, and a statement that the item was made in a home kitchen.

"The only two additions to the language in the statute are the common name of the food item, which is easy to comply with, and the list of major allergens," Masters wrote. "Because my son has a food allergy, I can clearly see the value in this kind of declaration on the label. It does serve the public's health to have this declaration."

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I am for the cottage law however, I do have some thought pertaining to having a home-based bakery. In order to add the label (s) with all the requirements, that is acknowledging  the homebased business is being held with the same guidelines as a commercial business but without the scrutiny of the Health Department. My other thought on this matter is some of the items that will be sold may not be large therefore the writing on the labels will be small and many will not be able to read. This I'm sure is where you are working on the font and lettering type. My suggestion is a shorter statement that would identify the foods as being cooked by a homebased business or an emblem on each label that identifies it as being non-commercially made. Please consider this as well prior to solidifying the "Cottage Law". We are the little guys trying to find some comfort and freedom of having a home-based bakery and enjoying the benefits as well.

kergo 1 spaceship
kergo 1 spaceship

This comment was too long, and you are reprimanded by commenting only in the Jackie Floyd column over at the DMN, for the next week.  Can you imagine what Big Bob thinks about the dynamic duo that is JF, AND Steve Blow?  You know he wants to punch one of them, and fire the other-or both!

Chris Danger
Chris Danger

These food allergy nuts are ruining food for everyone..So what your little precious has peanut/wheat/soy allergies? Have you attempted to give your child any of these products, or did some doctor tell you w/o any real verification? 

I apologize, but these people are going to be the end of civilization as we know it...;)

Kelley Masters
Kelley Masters

Excuse me, is this some kind of performance art?  I don't truly think you can be serious.  Have you rushed your 3 week old baby to the ER with a life-threatening allergic reaction?  Oh, I guess I was just imagining it.  Food allergies are not a joke.

Kergo 1 Spaceship
Kergo 1 Spaceship

Chris, CHRIS, dude, you f+cked up.........but, we still love ya!  

ps-Sorry to hear about the tot, BUT, every person with a sniffle these days thinks they have the bird flu, swine flu, allergies, etc........doc's are all too welcome to diagnose folks with the malady THEY choose. Makes it harder for folks with REAL problems.

pss-This thing is kinda performance art; and highly f+cking offensive to the nimble, fresh faced newb.  Sorry.  I'm the worst offender.  

Kergo 1 Spaceship
Kergo 1 Spaceship

If you bake the cottage, does the earthen roof, and middle beam become compacted, or compromised? Ahhh. the greatness of the cottage, makes me think of "me" old New Hampshire home......waking up, and stretching, and looking out over the Belknaps.  

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