Cottage Food Bill Passes

4/19/12 (

AB1616 Digest:  Existing law, the Sherman Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Law (Sherman Law), requires the State Department of Public Health to regulate the manufacture, sale, labeling, and advertising activities related to food, drugs, devices, and cosmetics in conformity with the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. The Sherman Law makes it unlawful to manufacture, sell, deliver, hold, or offer for sale any food that is misbranded. Food is misbranded if its labeling does not conform to specified federal labeling requirements regarding nutrition, nutrient content or health claims, and food allergens. Violation of this law is a misdemeanor. The existing California Retail Food Code provides for the regulation of health and sanitation standards for retail food facilities, as defined, by the State Department of Public Health. Under existing law, local health agencies are primarily responsible for enforcing the California Retail Food Code. That law exempts private homes from the definition of a food facility, and prohibits food stored or prepared in a private home from being used or offered for sale in a food facility. A violation of these provisions is a misdemeanor. This bill would include a cottage food operation, as defined, that is registered or has a permit within the private home exemption of the California Retail Food Code. The bill would also exclude a cottage food operation from specified food processing establishment and Sherman Law requirements. This bill would require a cottage food operation to meet specified requirements relating to training, sanitation, preparation, labeling, and permissible types of sales. The bill would establish various zoning and permit requirements relating to cottage food operations. By imposing duties on local officials and adding new crimes, this bill would create a state-mandated local program. The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement. This bill would provide that with regard to certain mandates no reimbursement is required by this act for a specified reason. With regard to any other mandates, this bill would provide that, if the Commission on State Mandates determines that the bill contains costs so mandated by the state, reimbursement for those costs shall be made pursuant to the statutory provisions noted above.