Support Small and Local Food Businesses in California

Target: California State Legislation

Goal: Enable local and small-business food producers to sell products in California.

Current regulations in California make it incredibly hard (if not altogether impossible) for many local and small-scale businesses to sell goods. Unless the products are made in commercial kitchens, it is illegal to sell home-crafted goods within the state. As can be imagined, fledgling and local business are most at odds with the current situation.

Newly proposed legislation is looking to change all this and hopefully open the doors for many young entrepreneurial enterprises. The California Homemade Food Act, AB 1616, would create “a new category of food production called cottage food operation, which, unlike other types of commercial food facilities, can be operated out of a home kitchen.” There are, of course, limits to the types of foods that could be produced and producers are limited to “non-potentially hazardous foods”: foods that are unlikely to spoil or accrue harmful bacteria if left standing at room temperature.

Foods like baked goods (sans cream, custard, or meat fillings), bread, jams and jellies, granola, coffee, pie, pasta, etc. are just a small sampling of allowable foods under the act. AB 1616 would also require that food producers meet with a county health department, fulfill routine self-inspections, pay a permitting fee, attend classes and pass pertinent exams, adhere to all health and sanitation guidelines, and package and label all food stuffs with proper information like product name, ingredients, contained allergens, etc.

Los Angeles Assemblyman Mike Gatto, who drafted the bill, believes that with the bill’s passing, smaller businesses will be better able to compete with large manufacturing companies—giving consumers more options and greater sway. “I don’t think it’s the job of government to necessarily make a small business a big business,” explained Gatto. “It’s our duty to not hurt that business and make sure that we don’t put forth too much red tape for that small business and allow them to grow.”


Dear California State Senators,

With growing support already in favor of the California Homemade Food Act, AB 1616, the vote now lies with members of the California State Senate. In short, the proposed legislation aims to support small and local businesses, as well as entrepreneurial enterprises, by allowing home-made goods (produced outside of commercial kitchens) to be sold within the state.

In addition to this, consumers would have a wider range of options to choose from—closing the gap between large manufacturing companies and these local organizations. Support of these smaller operations will build opportunities throughout the state, bestowing benefits to the individual and the state as a whole.

It is because of these reasons that I ask for your support in getting behind the California Homemade Food Act, AB 1616. Help California grow by providing residents with more local options.


[Your Name Here]

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