California’s Department of Public Health has recently posted guidelines and answers to Frequently Asked Questions (See HERE). Although local counties still have authority to regulate the businesses and establish some additional parameters, this provides an outline for statewide regulations. The state law allowing cottage food industries in California (AB 1616) stipulates that operators must pass a food processor course within three (3) months of being registered or permitted. It has been unclear whether current food handler’s cards would be accepted or whether a separate course would be required. It appears that a special course for Cottage Food Operators will be established so don’t rush out to get the current card approvals. More information on the new class should be available in mid-January 2013.
Some detailed information on product labeling is also now available on the California health department site, including both state and federal stipulations and a sample label format. A list of sanitation and food preparation requirements, excerpted from the bill, are summarized here. While there is not a lot of new information, at least the department is moving forward in providing a centralized resource for information which is relevant statewide. Stay tuned for the next post on moving from hobby to business mentality!