Cottage Food Law requires safety training



A new law, the Alabama Cottage Food Law, allows anyone to sell nonhazardous foods made at home directly to consumers. Foods specified include cakes, cookies, dried herbs, jams, and jellies.

BUT…individuals preparing these foods are required to attend a food safety course, according to Auburn University food safety specialist Dr. Jean Weese.

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

The course is tailored to help cottage food entrepreneurs comply with the law. The first session was held June 5 at the Montgomery County Extension Office.

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

The Cotttage Food Law requires entrepreneurs to attend the course every five years. Cost of the course is $25. The ServSafe certification taught by the Cooperative Extension System can also be used to comply with the new law, Weese said.

Courses in Blount County have not been scheduled at this time. The course will be offered in Cullman County the first or second week of July. Blount County residents are encourged to register for that course. For further information on upcoming training, call Dan Porch at the local extension office at 274-2129, or Angela Treadaway at 205-410-3696. Prohibited foods

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

• The law prohibits certain foods from being sold directly to consumers, including baked goods with ingredients that require refrigeration, such as custard pies, Danish with cream fillings, and cakes with whipped toppings.

• Other products specifically prohibited include juices from fruits and vegetables, milk products, soft and hard cheeses, pickles, barbecue sauces, canned fruits and vegetables, garlic in oil, and meat in any form. Labeling

The Cottage Food Law requires entrepreneurs to label their products with the following information: the name of the entrepreneur or business; the address of the entrepreneur or business, and the statement that the food is not inspected by the Department of Public Health.

Sales cannot exceed $20,000 annually under the law.