Support AB 1616 To Make Bake Sales Legal in California

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From Mark Stambler of the Los Angeles Bread Bakers:

AB1616, the California Homemade Food Act, was introduced in the California State Assembly today by Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Los Angeles). This cottage food law will finally allow people in California to legally sell bread [and other “non-hazardous” food such as honey, jams and jellies] they bake at home!

The Los Angeles Bread Bakers helped draft the legislation and will be organizing community support for it over the next few months. If all goes well, the bill will be signed into law by the governor by the end of the summer. But, of course, it will take a lot of work to make sure this happens, including visits to elected representatives.

For those of you who need more info about it, please visit

Many states have cottage food bills already (see a pdf of those states and the laws they have on the books). Those that don’t need one! In California, AB 1616 will help many people with home-based businesses in a time of economic uncertainty. Please consider making a donation to the Sustainable Economies Law Center to help pass AB 1616. See for details of the bill and for a complete list of the foods that are covered under the legislation.

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  1. It seems the description for Alabama is not a true picture of what we can and cannot sell. For some reason bake sales have not been busted. Churches have bake sales with items made by church members. Groups set up a table outside stores in a strip mall and sell their homebaked goods.

    However, all canning, breads, and such cannot be sold to the public or friends, unless it has been prepared in a prescribed kitchen,one set up as a commercial kitchen. The food does not have to be sold where it is prepared. I cannot sell jams and jellies that I prepare at home unless I rent a booth at the Farmer’s Market.

    In 2009, special legislature mandated that anyone who sold at a farmer’s market was covered under the umbrella of the market and could sell any kind of food, even that prepared in the family kitchen.

    The same food cannot be sold on a yahoo trader group where someone was selling. I was very successful until I found out it was outside the law…lol.

    People from the Health Dept came by the Farmer’s Market, handing out litte vials of test strips, telling everyone with canning for sale how to use the strips to find the correct ph and assuring people that a call to the Health Dept was welcomed and they would help…ha!

    Foods sold on premise had to be stored properly. The guy who made goat cheese from his home-grown, pasteurized goat milk had a freezer on his truck for the ice he used to keep the cheese cold. The man who has a local butcher operation had a refrigerated truck.

    A local CSA was threatened at the market because their eggs were not refrigerated. Health Dept officials assured them that all eggs must be refrigerated. The couple had to prove it before they were allowed to sell eggs.

    People who make the rules and those who try to enforce rules don’t necessarily know what they are talking about.

  2. Here’s a question. I’m in southern California and a local coffee shop is interested in buying eggs from my backyard flock. I’d be ecstatic for them to have local, organic eggs from pastured chickens; and since I live only 1.5 miles from them, it’d even be no trouble to deliver them by bike. So far as you know, how could I do this legally (or is this just not allowed)? Just wondering if you had experience with this and if maybe it was as *simple* as calling some office and getting an inspection and permits. Thanks for anything as always.

  3. Joss, that is an excellent question. A local restaurant, Forage, managed to get the sourcing of backyard fruits and vegetables legal. That was simply a matter of getting a LA County Ag inspector to inspect backyards for a small fee. I have a feeling eggs would be more complicated. I would start with a call to the Los Angeles County agricultural commissioner’s office: Let me know what you find out. And, just to be clear, AB 1616 would not cover eggs.

  4. While I am in total support of bake sales (I’m known as the cookie monster in town and at games) as well as canning, etc…I am very concerned that this gives governmentium another reason to invade our homes and property for ‘inspections’.
    Customers have a choice…..if they know something is home-grown, THEY can make the choice to buy while on the other hand, if there’s a death or illness proven to be from a certain product, the seller risks liability. I cannot see the sellers risking their futures and family fortunes by being careless.

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