July 2014
Homeplace & Community

It’s the Law ....

Alabama’s new Cottage Food Law is now in effect.

The first training session aimed at helping Alabama entrepreneurs comply with Alabama’s new Cottage Food Law was held June 5 at the Montgomery County Extension Office.

The new law that went into effect June 1 allows anyone to sell nonhazardous foods made in the home directly to consumers.

Nonhazardous foods specified by the new law include cakes, cookies, dried herbs, jams and jellies.

At Auburn University, Dr. Jean Weese, a food safety specialist who heads the Alabama Cooperative Extension System’s food safety team, said that while these foods are not subject to inspection by the local public health department, the folks preparing these foods are required to attend a food safety course.

"This food safety course, required by the new Cottage Food Law, teaches basic food safety steps with the goal of ensuring the food sold to friends and neighbors is as safe as possible," Weese explained.

The food safety training course will be tailored to help cottage food entrepreneurs comply with this act.

"The concepts taught in this class apply specifically to foods prepared in the home," Weese said, adding that participants will receive a certificate upon completion of the course.

The Cottage Food Law requires entrepreneurs to attend this prescribed safety course every 5 years. The cost of each course will be $25.

The ServSafe certification, also taught by ACES, can also be used to comply with the new law, Weese said.

Under the new cottage food law, home prepared food cannot be sold to restaurants, novelty shops, grocery stores or over the Internet.

Likewise, the law prohibits certain foods from being sold directly to consumers, including baked goods with ingredients requiring refrigeration. These include custard pies, Danish with creamed fillings and cakes with whipped toppings.

Products that are also prohibited under the law include juices from fruits and vegetables, milk products, soft and hard cheeses, pickles, barbecue sauces, canned fruits and vegetables, garlic in oil and meats in any form.

The Cottage Food Law requires entrepreneurs to include labels on their products bearing the following information: the name of the individual entrepreneur(s) or business; the address of the individual(s) or business; and the statement that the food is not inspected by the Department of Public Health.

Sales prescribed under the Alabama Cottage Food Law cannot exceed $20,000.

For more information about upcoming training contact your local county Extension office or, for the training offered at the Cullman County Agriplex in Cullman County, Thursday July 10, 2014, from 4-6 p.m., please call me at 205-410-3696.

For a map to the Cullman County Agriplex, located at 1714 Talley Hoe Street SW; Cullman, AL 35055, visit http://www.aces.edu/counties/Cullman/images/directions.jpg.

Angela Treadaway is a Regional Extension Agent in Food Safety. For any questions on food safety or preparation of vegetables, contact her at 205-410-3696 or your local county Extension office.