Nov 18

Amending the Approved Food List

cdphsmallSo 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  The following month, notices will be posted indicating whether the proposed amendments were accepted or withdrawn.

Dried spices

Dried spices

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!



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  1. Ron Trethowan

    I have a question. If I buy dried fruit in bulk, from a company, and don’t make them myself, but bag and label them. Do I need a Cottage Cert., or just a business license?

    1. Cottagefoods

      Check with the Health Department to be sure, but I think you need an entirely separate Health Department license for repackaging. If you dry the fruit yourself, you can sell it with a Cottage Foods permit but (as I understand it) you can’t just repackage bulk dried food under that permit.

  2. Paul

    I’ve submitted an application to the state to add a new food to the list that was supposed to be published March 3rd and go into law 30 days later. To date, the list has not been published and when I talked to Susan at CDPH last week, she said the list with their recommendations has been on a supervisors desk for several weeks and she didn’t know when it would be published. Hopefully things will move forward soon.

    1. Cottagefoods

      We have been encouraging people to lobby on their twitter page @CAPublicHealth and their Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/CAPublicHealth to publish the list.

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