Colorado home bakers made a sweet impression on the Colorado legislature, so much so that on Thursday the Colorado House committee gave unanimous support for the Colorado Cottage Food Bill. If enacted, the bill would allow for the sale of baked goods from home kitchens. To make their case, cottage food advocates handed out homemade decorated cookies with the Colorado State Seal to the Economic and Business Development Committee’s public hearing on House Bill 12-1027. The cookies were dubbed Amendment 41 cookies, so the legislators would not get burned for taking gifts as public officials. The bill goes for a vote on Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2012.
The Colorado cake-baking community got behind the idea, citing that “you can buy a taco from a truck, meat from a van and even marijuana,” but not cakes from a home baker. The group says that 27 other states have a similar laws and so should Colorado. The bill would allow for home kitchens to sell goods for local sale, without costly regulations that make it impossible to succeed, such as finding health department approved kitchen incubator space. The bill is limited to non-hazardous foods, like cookies, cakes, brownies and other baked goods (as long as they do not contain marijuana).
The bill was introduced by Rep. Laura Bradford, R-Mesa. She launched her own business from her kitchen table 27 years ago and says that the bakers of today deserve the same opportunity. The foods could be sold on the property, from a roadside stand, or if registered, off premise. The baker could register for $100 or less in one county and make retails sales in another county, according to the draft document. Counties that opt out of the registration, could not prevent sales.
The law also requires labeling with the producers food telephone number, electronic mailing address and complete disclosure of ingredients. The baker must also be covered by liability insurance. The bill would not cost state any money and local health officials would collect the fee.
The committee also approved a bill introduce by Senator Gail Schwartz, D-Snowmass and Rep. Don Coram, R-Montrose, called the Colorado Cottage Food Act, which would allow for other home food businesses like fruit and vegetable canning, preserving and drying. Small farmers would like the opportunity to preserve fruits and vegetables and sell them on sight and at farmer’s markets. The Cottage Food Act is more restrictive as it caps revenue at $5,000. Farmers say this would allow them to use excess and/or injured produce to make dried spices, fruits and vegetables, breads and other baked goods. The bill was dismissed last year for concerns regarding food safety, but was approved by the committee this year.