POLITICS

Will Massachusetts make life sweeter for home-cook entrepreneurs?


Massachusetts lawmakers may soon blow up what is currently one of the worst cottage food laws in the country.

The H465, sponsored by State Representative Erica Witterhaven (D – Somerville), will address the state’s heavy local permitting and home-inspection requirements, among other dramatic improvements.

Uyterhoeven and other supporters created the bill as a COVID-19 recovery measure, a way to help out-of-work chefs, immigrants, in-home parents and others get back on their feet, WHDH reports. It’s all that and a bag of chips!

As I have detailed in my book Biting our feeding hand: How much less, smart laws will make our food system more sustainable And elsewhere, the cottage food law is a law that allows home chefs to sell certain home-made foods সাধারণত usually low-risk foods such as many baked goods, spices, teas and jams থেকে from their homes, to farmers’ markets, online, and on sale. At other venues. As I have repeatedly mentioned, cases where home-made food sold to consumers has made people sick এমনকি even in states that allow high-risk foods such as cheesecake or sauerkraut কঠিন are difficult or impossible to find.

Although each state now has a cottage food law, these laws vary dramatically in terms of quality. That’s why — as I mentioned in a September column detailing recent advances in the country’s various cottage food laws I am currently working on a study for the Reason Foundation (a nonprofit that reveals Because) Compare state cottage food laws in all fifty states (with other, more comprehensive laws that regulate the sale of home-made food).

In Massachusetts, entrepreneurs who want to create and sell food from their home kitchens must navigate a number of methodological challenges. First, they must allow the local government to sell cottage food. In Massachusetts, many municipalities do not. In a statement earlier this month before the State Legislative Assembly’s Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture, Whitterhaven told fellow lawmakers that the lack of preemption meant that “hundreds of municipalities” simply did not have cottage food producers within their borders, allowing them to “even cottage food.” There is no process. “

Increasingly, lawmakers across the country have passed cottage food laws that have failed to deliver on their promises – often because they have been undermined by the volatile local health department. These legislators are misunderstanding their path. Rep. With Uyterhoeven’s bill, Massachusetts could join the ranks of New Mexico, Florida and Illinois, which added prescription clauses to their respective cottage food laws this year.

Even if a city or town in Massachusetts has a permitting process, the process is inevitably stinking. As of today, Massachusetts is a declining state that requires local health departments to create and operate its own permits and inspection projects.

Take Boston, where the City Council voted this year to create a permitting process for cottage food producers. The city had previously banned it. While it’s great that Boston now has a process of becoming a cottage food producer, that process is still deeply difficult. Boston, like other cities and towns under the state’s cottage food law, must complete an application before allowing a potential cottage food producer. That application must include a list of foods that producers want to create; A sketch of the kitchen, preparation, and storage area that has been “drawn to scale;” A sample product label — even the FDA does not require the world’s largest food producers; Proof of zoning approval; And several other tiring hoops.

If Boston approves the application, the applicant must have their home kitchen inspected by the city’s health department. Only if the visitor approves their home kitchen will the producer be issued a permit that will allow them to start selling cottage food.

Compare the mind-numbing, entrepreneurial-suffocating process found in some states:

  • Step 1: Make some food at home.
  • Step 2: Start selling it.

In other words, while Massachusetts permits and kitchen inspections, label pre-approval, kitchen sketches and other steps are required before starting a cottage food business, many states do not require anything like this. The idea of ​​inviting a health visitor to one’s home kitchen is particularly discouraging and balanced, especially since cottage food rarely (if ever) causes foodborne illness.

Uyterhoeven’s bill will eliminate most of these heavy requirements for cottage food. For starters, the bill would prohibit government units সহ including the health department অনুম from approving or inspecting cottage food activities. But Bill Will not Transfer the heavy burden of home kitchen inspection over the state. Instead, it would completely eliminate the need for inspections-consistent with most state cottage food laws today সাথে with the completion of the mandatory permitting process. (At least one anonymous, self-described Massachusetts local health worker is surprised by these possible changes.)

The bill would also extend the kind of food that home chefs can make in the state – in Massachusetts, the foods currently produced for home kitchen only include baked goods, jams and jellies – to include pickles explicitly. And it will add a requirement that cottage food producers inform consumers via a mandatory label statement that the food they are buying is produced in an uninsured home kitchen and may contain allergens.

Next to that, an important one needs to be added. Although I’m not a fan of extended regulations in general, I’ve docked Massachusetts এবং and a few other states এ into my study’s draft State Rankings, stating that such labels do not need to appear on home-made meals. I believe there needs to be a clear label statement on cottage food, such as the one proposed in Massachusetts, to give any consumer the information they need to be a conscious consumer.

If Massachusetts adds a preemptive clause, removes kitchen-inspection requirements, allows certain ritual foods, and improves its labeling requirements and updates its cottage food law যেমন as seen by State Representative Waterhoven’s bill তাহলে Massachusetts cottage food law will be abolished. . My ranking is one of the best from the worst in the country. This is why I am excited about the possibility of cottage food reform in Massachusetts.



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