Shelley Owens: Local cottage food industry takes advantage of new state law
When Florida passed a law this summer allowing people to sell food products they make in their own kitchens, Kelly Peters saw her chance to make healthy desserts for kids and adults….
The Cottage Food Act in a nutshell:
House Bill 7209 enacted July 1, 2011.
“Cottage food” producers who create products meant for human consumption in their residences are not required to have a food/commercial kitchen license or permit from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Local occupational licensing and other permits may be required. Agricultural and pet product producers are not included in this law.
“Cottage food” producers may manufacture and sell from their residence “cottage foods” such as breads, cakes, cookies, candies, jams, jellies, honey, candies and fruit pies. (Not a complete list.) Products have specific labeling requirements.
“Cottage food” producers may not sell foods that must be refrigerated such as ice; cut fruits or fruit juice; dairy, seafood or meat products (including yogurt or jerky); sprouts; sauces, dips, barbecue sauces; perishable products including meringue pies and breads made with vegetables or cheese; nor home-canned foods (not a complete list.)
Maximum sales $15,000 per year per producer.
Cottage food products must be labeled in accordance with the requirements as outlined in Section 500.80(5), Florida Statutes, and United States Code of Federal Regulations Title 21, Part 101.
Commercial equipment in the home or multiples of a single type of appliance (double-oven acceptable.)
Sales via Internet, mail-order or wholesale for example to restaurants or retailers.
When Florida passed a law this summer allowing people to sell food products they make in their own kitchens, Kelly Peters saw her chance to make healthy desserts for kids and adults. “Nobody said sweets have to be bad for you,” she said. “We’re going for clean, green and organic muffins, cookies, and pies.”
Peters, a single mom with two autistic children, started her home baking business, The Wholesome Cottage, with organic pumpkin pies at Thanksgiving. In addition to “clean, lean and organic” baked goods, Peters fills a niche for other autistic children, eliminating food allergy triggers some doctors associate with behavioral problems.
“I make gluten-free, casein-free, soy-free baked goods and jams,” Peters said.
One in four children has allergies and specific food allergies to soy, gluten (a constituent of wheat flour) and casein (a protein found in milk and dairy) that can trigger unresponsiveness or other problems in autistic children, she said.
“Since we’ve been following this diet, my one son has gotten language,” Peters said. “I never thought he would be able to talk.”
This healthy diet, which also eliminates processed foods, also is big with adults, especially those who have retained allergies from childhood, she said.
“The Florida Cottage Food Act, which passed in July, allows me to make allergy-friendly baked goods at home for sale,” Peters said. “It’s great for someone who doesn’t have the means to rent a commercial kitchen or to open a storefront.”
The Wholesome Cottage phone is 772-288-1646.
On the Treasure Coast, five Chili’s Grill & Bar restaurants plus MO Bay Grill in Sebastian have allergy-safe menu options. Find these restaurants, and more, at www.TreasureCoastDining.com. The website is a free service of Scripps Treasure Coast Newspapers and TCPalm.com.
If you are a restaurant owner who offers allergy-safe menu items, click on www.TCPalm.com/forms/restaurants/ to update your free listing and spread the word.