By Bob Katzen
The Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture Committee held a virtual hearing on legislation that would allow home cooks to sell their home-made foods that carry a low risk of foodborne illness—those that do not need to be temperature-controlled—without a local health department or zoning permit.
These so-called “cottage foods” would only be allowed to be sold directly to the consumer and include jams, uncut fruits and vegetables, pickled vegetables, hard candies, fudge, nut mixes, granola, coffee beans, popcorn and some baked goods including breads, biscuits, cookies, churros, pastries and tortillas.
“Home cooks who are majority immigrants and people of color face excessively complicated procedures and requirements to sell their low-risk homemade food products,” said sponsor Rep. Erika Uyterhoeven (D-Somerville). “This bill will support small business development and promote locally-produced products by creating state-wide regulation specifically for low-risk homemade food products and eliminate the local permit requirement for cottage foods. Such low-risk homemade food products should not be regulated at the same standards as restaurants, catering operations and food trucks.”