What are ‘Cottage Foods’ and Why Legally Selling Them in Massachusetts Could Change
A Massachusetts Representative is working to make sales of Cottage Food easier in the Commonwealth, in hopes it will make life a little easier for folks as they continue to recover from the ongoing pandemic.
What Is Cottage Food?
According to mass.gov, cottage food is food produced by a residential retail kitchen in a private home for the purpose of sale to another individual.
The term Cottages Foods usually includes, but is not limited to, things like jams, uncut fruits and vegetables, pickled vegetables, hard candies, fudge, nut mixes, granola, dry soup mixes, dried fruit, and fruit empanadas, fruit tamales, coffee beans, popcorn, and baked goods that do not include dairy or meat frosting or filling.
What's excluded from legally being sold are any products that contain dairy or meat or other items that need refrigeration or have the potential to breed food born illnesses.
Some cottage food can be sold for charity, for example a bake sale or something of that nature, but other cottage food can be sold by the individual to other individuals. In the case of sales for profit, Massachusetts currently has laws and regulations in place that Rep. Erika Uyterhoeven of Somerville thinks are obsolete and need to be updated.
According to WWLP, Uyterhoeven says that although Massachusetts was a leader in legalizing the sale of cottage foods over 20 years ago, regulations have not been adjusted since, making it difficult for home chefs to sell.
Basically, back in 2000 when the sale of Cottage Foods were legalized, the state bestowed the responsibility of regulating and permitting home chefs on individual cities and towns. However, the Sommerville Democrat said that resulted in a "patchwork of regulations that vary from town to town, and that hundreds of municipalities have not created a permitting process for cottage foods."
Rep. Uyterhoeven says this lack of regulation has made it complicated and difficult for some folks to operated viable home businesses that could help support their families during these trying times.
She asked lawmakers to support her proposed bill that would allow home cooks to sell their foods without a local health department’s permit.
By creating state regulations specifically for cottage food and eliminating the local permit requirements for cottage food, this bill would open up opportunities for home cooks all across the state to share their diverse culture through food operations, help establish small businesses and support local economies
Rep. Uyterhoeven, via WWLP
What are do you think about the sale of Cottage Foods?