(Orange, Texas)

September 4, 2013

Farmer’s Market faces changes with new Cottage Food Law

Dawn Burleigh
The Orange Leader

ORANGE — During the spring 2013 session, the Texas Legislature revised regulations created in the 2011 Texas Cottage Food Law written to allow the sale of foods prepared in the home.

The law initially went into effect Sept. 1, 2011 and was amended version went into effect on Sunday, Sept. 1, 2013 allowing sales outside the home at specific locations such as farmers markets, farm stands, roadside stands, or nonprofit fairs and festivals as long as the gross sales of the vendor do not exceed $50,000 annually.

Vendors at the local Farmers Market and other locations will be affected by changes to the law that was enacted to allow the sale of food made in uninspected and unlicensed home kitchens.

“The law affects those with baked goods, granolas, jellies and jams,” Orange County Health Inspector James Scales said. “No preserves are allowed. There are many stipulations to the new law.”

Those who prepare the product are required to have a food handler’s card starting January 1, 2014. The course is available on-line or through the local AgriLife Extension. The card is valid for two years.

Jean Fregia, owner of Homemade Cookies!, sells her cookies and snacks at the Orange County Farmer’s Market.

“The law did not affect me as I already have a commercial kitchen,” Fregia said. “It will make it easier for homemakers to sell their baked goods.”

The Orange County Farmers Market is open twice a week through November from 8 a.m. - 11 a.m., Saturdays, and 3 p.m. - 6 p.m., Wednesdays, in the parking lot of Big Lots on MacArthur Drive in Pinehurst.

The list of foods that can be sold has been expanded to include pickles, popcorn snacks, candy, unroasted nut butters, and vinegar. All foods sold must be properly labeled and include the name and address of the operation, the name of the product, possible allergens that are in the food, and a statement saying the food was not prepared in a kitchen that is inspected by the Department of State Health Services or a local health department.

Foods not allowed under the new changes include fresh or dried meat, including beef jerky, canned fruits and vegetables, juices or salsa, fish, shellfish, baked goods that require refrigeration, milk and other dairy products.