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Texas Becoming Legal - Page 2

Poll Results: How Passionate are you about Texas becoming Legal?

 
  • 84% (154)
    VERY Passoniate! I'll write my representative!
  • 13% (25)
    I'd like to see it happen, but I'm okay either way
  • 2% (4)
    I really don't care. I have no interest in selling my cakes.
183 Total Votes  
post #16 of 347
I'm in!!! I am currently a hobby cake maker, but would love to be able to sell the cakes that I make right here at home!!! It would go a long way to my goal of eventually doing this full-time!

I will be writing a multitude of letters!

We just need to remember that the squeaky wheel gets the oil!
Terri
Head Chick
Sugar High Cakes....we specialize in Sugar & Spice and Everything Iced!
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Terri
Head Chick
Sugar High Cakes....we specialize in Sugar & Spice and Everything Iced!
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post #17 of 347
I know this is a old thread but since the Legislature is in session now...

I wondered if anyone has done anything? and what they wanted the laws changed too? I'm going to try to write a letter this week and wanted to ask the same thing as others if possible.

Thanks princess.gifbirthday.gifcowboy.gif
Emily
post #18 of 347
This Houston girl is in too! I'll write a letter for sure. icon_smile.gif
post #19 of 347
Florida, one cannot use their home. They too must have a commerical kitchen.
post #20 of 347
KelleyM,
Did you ever come up with a more comprehensive letter that we could use to write to our state legislature. I for one will write but am not sure what to put in a letter.
Bradymom
post #21 of 347
Here is my letter. Anyone is free to take it and modify it as they need to, as my experiences do not apply to everyone.

Go to this page http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/ and type your address in the box at the right that says 'Who Represents Me'. That is who you should send your letter to.

I feel really strongly about this. A cake cooked in my kitchen in Texas is not less safe than a cake cooked in a kitchen in Ohio or North Carolina. We may not change the law, but we can at least make a lot of people start thinking about it. Speak from your heart -- they will pay more attention to a heartfelt letter than a letter that looks copied, or a form letter.

The legislature is only in session every other year. This is our last chance until 2009. icon_smile.gif

------------------

Dear ___________:

I am writing about an issue that is very important to me. I am a cake decorator and I take pride in the cakes I make (attach some pictures of your home-prepared cakes). I have invested time and money in learning my craft. What you may not know, is that in Texas it is illegal to sell a cake made in a residential kitchen.

Most people are not aware of this law. It is the Texas Administrative Code, Food Establishment Rules, Rule §229.167 (E)(10) which states Private homes and living or sleeping quarters, use prohibition. A private home, a room used as living or sleeping quarters, or an area directly opening into a room used as living or sleeping quarters may not be used for conducting food establishment operations.

This law is in place to protect the public from unsafe foods. However, cake and other baked goods such as cookies, pies and brownies are considered low-risk for spoilage and contamination due to their high sugar content. There are at least 8 other states that have mechanisms in place for allowing bakers and cake decorators to sell foods made in residential kitchen, including:

Iowa    http://www.extension.iastate.edu/Publications/PM1294.pdf

Massachusetts    
http://www.mass.gov/agr/markets/specfood/selling_foods_made_in_your_farm_kitchen.htm

North Carolina  http://www.agr.state.nc.us/fooddrug/homebiz.htm

Ohio    http://www.ohioagriculture.gov/pubs/divs/food/food-licensing.stm

Oregon    http://www.oregon.gov/ODA/FSD/docs/pdf/pub_dk.pdf

Pennsylvania   Department of Agriculture (717) 787-4737
Tennessee  http://www.state.tn.us/agriculture/regulate/permits/permit4.html

Virginia  Department of Agriculture (804) 786-3520

I currently have a food purveyors permit and rent a licensed kitchen at a rate of $10/hour. If it takes me 3 hours to bake and decorate a birthday cake that I will sell for $50, and my ingredients cost $10, my hourly wage to myself ends up being about $3/hr. I have never had a single customer ask me if I have a license or I bake from home. In fact, most assume that I do bake from my home. They consider this a benefit. The word homemade conveys quality. The words prepared in a licensed commercial kitchen do not have the same effect! Everyone eats foods made in residential kitchens every day. There are bake sales at schools and churches, parents sending cupcakes to schools for their childs birthdays, people bake cookies and bring them into the office. There is nothing to fear from these items.

I would like to request a change in the law. Turn the regulation of home or cottage bakeries over to the Department of Agriculture, as other states have done. Inspect our homes and charge an annual inspection fee. There are many safety regulations that can be put in place to serve the public good while allowing hundreds or even thousands of home bakers to legally provide a service to the community while earning extra money for their families. There are many people out there who sell cakes and other food items from their homes already wouldnt it be safer to have a way to regulate this already-existing industry?

I briefly tried using the kitchen of a legal, licensed restaurant. It was the dirtiest place I have ever worked. But it is legal to sell food prepared there. Somewhere along the way, in our effort to protect the public, we have gone too far. Homemade cakes are not a public health threat. Regulating these home businesses would serve the public good.

Thank you very much for your time.

Name
Address
Phone #
Email
Web site
post #22 of 347
Way to go with the letter! I couldn't have put it better myself. I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to get this law changed.
post #23 of 347
I have two in envelopes, all stamped and addressed to my state senator and representative. I will mail them tomorrow assuming the ice melts. icon_smile.gif Don't let me be the only one, guys....let's do it! thumbs_up.gifthumbs_up.gifthumbs_up.gif
post #24 of 347
kelleym~

I want you to know that I have letters to Senator Kyle Janek and Representative Dennis Bonnen in envelopes ready to be stamped and sent to Austin when I get off of work in the morning!! I expanded upon your letter, adding my experience and explainations of views, and printed them out as fast as I could.

Thank you for getting me off my duff and wanting to make a difference. I can only hope that our fellow Texans do the same and we get something done. As I am entering the beginnig of my own 5 year plan (hope to open my own cake biz by Feb 6, 2012-my 35th b-day), it would be a relief to not have to quit my current job and be able to make and sell the cakes that I love from my home. Being that I am soley making cakes from my home now, I was a little apprehensive about putting a letter out there with my information on it, but it's done and I feel good about it!

Again, thank you for all your research and ideas for the letter!! YOU ROCK!! thumbs_up.gif
When's my next cruise already?!
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When's my next cruise already?!
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post #25 of 347
Ok, my deed is done: I have mailed a letter to Senator Steve Ogden and Representative Dan Gattis. If these senators and reps got multiple letters from those of us within the districts, I think that would really help!

Those of you who haven't written your letters yet might want to mention something about how the new Texas Food Establishment Rules, FOOD SAFETY is the most important issue. Williamson County doesn't even mark off for dirty floors and walls in a restaurant! We can all take food safety courses and learn how to handle food safely. If the environment the food is cooked in doesn't have to be clean, why on earth do they care if it is a restaurant or a home? Dirt is dirt. And clean is clean.

http://www.publichealthwilliamson.org/Env_InspSvs.htm
Quote:
Quote:

The Williamson County & Cities Health District food inspectors are trained through education and on-the-job experience before they perform these inspections. The latest version of the Texas Food Establishment Rules (TFER) went into effect March 15, 2006. The new format focuses on causes for food born illnesses. Demerits are given for any deficiencies in the acquisition, storage, handling, and preparation of food found during the inspection. Demerits are not given for items such as dirty floors and walls. These issues are addressed under a different time schedule for correction. The goal is to leave our restaurants with all deficiencies corrected



There are 22 other people besides me who voted in the poll at the top of this thread that they would write icon_smile.gif. Let's git 'er done, ladies. icon_lol.gif
post #26 of 347
Senator John Whitmire and Representative Dwayne Bohac have both received a letter from me via USPS, email AND fax. You know...squeaky wheel and all. =)
Terri
Head Chick
Sugar High Cakes....we specialize in Sugar & Spice and Everything Iced!
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Terri
Head Chick
Sugar High Cakes....we specialize in Sugar & Spice and Everything Iced!
Reply
post #27 of 347
Well, I just had an interesting hour...

DH called me and said that State Rep. Dennis Bonnen called the house and left a message for me on our machine to call him back. I'm in shock...am I in trouble? Are we getting something done? I called his office and his receptionist said she'd have him call me back, so I gave her my work number.

About 15 minutes later, Bonnen calls me. Says he wishes he had better news, but "the chances of getting this (a bill like this) passed would be next to none". He then tells me that he is an honest person and that he didn't want to call me and tell me that he was working on it because he knows that there would be no chance for it. IOW-he didn't want to blow smoke. I thank him and tell him I appreciate his honesty. He then said that he appreciates how well thought out the letter was (THANK YOU kelleym for the base letter that I added my own experiences to!!!!). He actually told me that a bill like this would get "slaughtered"!! Wow... If there was another way we could come up with for residential bakers/food makers to be lawful, he would love to hear it. I have no clue about laws or bills and how they become, so I'm stuck!!

So, that was my experience with my State Representative. Has anyone else heard back from theirs???
When's my next cruise already?!
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When's my next cruise already?!
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post #28 of 347
Wow...I'm speechless. No, I haven't heard back from my senator or rep. I mean, that is great public service, him calling you back and being honest with you.

What does he mean....another way? I'm really intrigued. He makes the law....how else would we change the law? My letter specifically proposed turning over regulation of cottage bakeries to the Dept. of Agriculture. The only other thing I can think of is maybe an "exeption" for home bakers where if we earn less than $1000/yr or something like that? Any other ideas?

And, did anyone else write? Hmmmmmm? I really refuse to believe that this is impossible.
post #29 of 347
I have started my letter, but a family emergency came up and I haven't finished or mailed it. But I was hoping for the under 1,000 rule. Or something like that.
I also wonder what he meant by other means.
Emily
post #30 of 347
That was the only thing I didn't understand about the conversation...I mean, yeah, he makes the laws, but it didn't sound like he wanted to spend a lot of time on this himself. I like the under $1,000 idea. He did say that if at any time, day or night or whenever, I had an idea to call him. I don't even know where to begin!!! Hey, tax us some more, just let us legally do this from home!!
When's my next cruise already?!
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When's my next cruise already?!
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