So your food is not on the CA Approved Cottage Food List . . . now what? The Homemade Food Act, AB1616, authorizes the state Department of Public Health to add or remove foods and they have just released instructions on how you can request that they consider adding your food product.
As one of the most recent laws in the country to allow the making and selling of food from home, AB1616 is (in my mind) one of the most comprehensive and well designed cottage food laws of any state. It permits a wide variety of edibles—from honey to jams, pastries to popcorn, roasted coffee to dried tea, even specifically including ethnic foods like mole paste, churros, and fruit empanadas.
But what if the food you make is non potentially hazardous and NOT on the list? One aspiring Cottage Food Operator (CFO) in San Diego wanted to make dried vegetable soup mix. Although dried fruit is an approved product, dried vegetables are not, and therefore not permitted. Now, however, there is a way to have that, and other foods, considered for addition to the Approved Food List.
Complete and submit the “Request to Add Food Product to the Approved Food List” application to the CA Department of Public Health by mail or email. A review and response is promised for every request. Recipes and formulations are not necessary (in fact, not wanted) but you should provide a brief description of the food, how it is made, and how it will be packaged. Use a separate application for each food product.
A notice of proposed changes to the Approved Food List will be posted on the state website in December and June of each year, allowing the public to comment on changes for twenty (20) days. The following month, notices will be posted indicating whether the proposed amendments were accepted or withdrawn.
Because of the late notification, this year submission deadlines are extended to January 31, 2014 to be posted by March 2, 2014 and take effect April 1, 2014. Subsequently, the June/December deadlines will be followed.
Do you have a non potentially hazardous food product that you think should be included on the state’s Approved Food List? Get the application in now and find out if you, too, can become one of California’s new Cottage Food Operators!