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Okay NJ it's our turn to change the law re: home bakeries!!

post #1 of 125
Thread Starter 
Hellow fellow New Jersians.

After reading all of the posts in two different threads started by Kelleym of Texas (and that includes the links, too), stephaniescakenj and I have decided to try to do something right here in The Garden State to try to have the laws that govern home bakers (currently outlawing/forbidding them) changed.

We need as much help as we can get on this. Please, if it's important to you and you think you would benefit from this, join us in this effort. The more people we have behind us, the better off we are. NJ is a state sort of known for it's "What's in it for me" attitude and we have to prove that this new law would not only be beneficial for the people, but would help the state, too. So to that end we have come up with a letter sample to send to our representatives.

Firstly, you need to find out who your reps are and that information can be obtained here: http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/districts/municipalities.asp.

Next, here's the letter. Feel free to make some changes to suit your heart-felt feelings. We very much based this upon Jodie's (of MD) letter, but tailored it to fit us in NJ. (Thank you so much Jodie! and you, too, Kelleym!):

To the Honorable (insert name):

I hope you will consider sponsoring a bill that is very important to me as a cake decorator. This bill would legalize residential kitchens and allow for the fulfillment of supplier and consumer need, regulation of home bakers, additional revenue for the state and commercial parity with our neighboring states. Many people do not realize that New Jersey currently does not allow for legal sales of home-baked goods. Within Chapter 24: Sanitation in Retail Food Establishments and Food and Beverage Vending Machines (NJAC 8:24) there are allowances for preparing not potentially hazardous food for sale at a religious or charitable organization's bake sale, as well for foods being prepared and served if the home is a bed and breakfast guesthouse or homestay, or if the private home is a family child-care home, but it does not extend to selling such items to any other consumer. However, legalizing residential kitchens for non-potentially hazardous foods (i.e. foods that will not support the growth of pathogenic organisms and do not require temperature controls, such as bakery products - cakes, cookies, brownies, breads, rolls; jams and jellies; acidified foods; and candy or ready-to-eat foods) will be beneficial for the state of New Jersey in the following ways:

1. Fulfillment of supplier and consumer need:
For many bakers, opening a legal bakery is a catch-22 situation: they want to know if they will have a customer base before investing a great amount of money and spending resources to open a legal kitchen, but they must open a commercial kitchen to legally sell their products. In turn, many home bakers turn to illegally selling products from their residential kitchen. For these home bakers, the opportunity to prove to their clientele that they are legally recognized by the state would be a real boon to their business. They would be able to show their clients certificates from the Department of Health showing that they've passed inspection and could even print up business cards, register with the state and truly 'test the waters' as a small bakery business owner to see if their products are well-received and if this is what they truly want to do, without going into debt. Given that home bakers average a small quantity of goods each week (as they just don't have the equipment, space, or the staff), and many are already operating 'under the radar', the impact on commercial bakeries should be minimal.

Similarly, many consumers have a desire to purchase home-made baked goods from a local neighbor or friend. However, if they've never been to the baker's home before they might be leery about approaching someone that has no certification, permit or license. Being able to see these items would give the potential customer greater peace of mind, and in the unlikely event that a food-borne illness was to result (it is definitely not unheard of even in inspected, licensed commercial food establishments), the customer would have some recourse and the health inspector would have a much easier time being able to track down the cause/origin of the problem. This would alleviate the problem of trying to track down an illegal baker, and gives greater possibility of preventing this scenario in the first place.

2. Increased regulation:
Commercial kitchens undergo strict food regulations, permitting, and licensing by the state. In contrast, people who sell out of their home kitchens undergo no such regulations or restrictions. By legalizing residential kitchens, the bakers will have to take the same food handling courses to earn their certificates and be subject to many of the same rules and regulations for sanitary conditions and procedures within their residential kitchens that are prescribed for retail food establishments. Such regulations could also include a no pets in the home clause, common in many other states' rules for residential kitchen home food manufacturing, as well as requirements for labeling advising that the product was manufactured/baked in a licensed home kitchen, making it mandatory to keep products and ingredients used for saleable goods separate from home use items, etc.

3. Increased revenue with negligible cost
Legalized residential kitchens will allow bakers a legal income and would follow the current income tax laws regarding minimum and maximum revenue taxation, which would in turn bring more revenue to the state of New Jersey. Furthermore, the home baker would be responsible for paying the fees associated with opening a small food establishment business, which includes but is not limited to: application fee, permit fee, trade name fee, home inspection fee, etc. The revenue generated from these would help cover the costs to the state for the additional workload to its employees. Also, the home baker would most likely need to purchase supplies, equipment, and ingredients; all of which would help stimulate the economy (as would the sale of the baked goods, too) resulting in more revenue for New Jersey.

4. Parity with neighboring states
Some of New Jerseys neighboring states in the northeast (such as, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Maine, North Carolina, Vermont, Virginia, just to name a few) allow for the sale of food from home kitchens. Sharing a similar law will enable New Jersey to remain commercially competitive with other states in this geographical area.

Some other states have cake decorators in the same situation as my peers and myself and they, too, are trying to have their states laws changed as well. One such state, Texas, recently had their bill, HB 3282, heard before Committee and is now pending. Many of their opponents mentioned the dangers which bringing this bill into law would cause, but the whole reason for wanting to become legal is to prevent dangerous situations and to protect both the baker and the consumer, as the baker would have the responsibility of taking food handling courses and being required to have that certificate in order to register and the consumer would benefit from the knowledge the baker obtained. Its far more dangerous now having so many illegal, unlicensed home bakers who might have taken safety or food handling courses and are unregistered should something actually occur.

Another concern came from larger commercial bakeries and restaurants that are already established. They questioned the unfair advantage that the home bakers would have regarding no overhead, lower pricing and possible unsanitary kitchen practices. These worries are actually baseless since the home baker would have restrictions that the commercial baker does not; such as only preparing potentially non-hazardous foods, and not having a staff to help or commercial equipment to increase productivity. The home baker, most likely would not reap the benefits of shopping for ingredients in bulk so their costs on that level would probably actually be a bit higher and would be reflected in their pricing. Also, the standards of cleanliness would have to be kept the same since both the home baker and commercial baker would have their kitchens inspected by the same agency and need to be certified by the same state recognized food handler courses (though chances are the home baker, not having any employees or staff, would probably set him/herself to a higher standard since its not just a job as its the bakers home and the customers would know where the baker lives). Furthermore, of course, both the home baker and commercial baker would be required to carry liability insurance, as well.

Please consider seriously what I have put before you here. This potential law really means a great deal to me and my cake decorating friends and, I believe, would benefit many, not only home bakers, but the whole state of New Jersey. Thank you.

Sincerely,


___________________
under name include:
Address
Phone No.
E-Mail Address
Web Site (if applicable)


You can even include a couple of pictures of your work if you feel inclined. If you have any questions, please feel free to PM either Stephanie or myself. We are currently in the process of trying to obtain some information from the states that have cottage food laws on the books and also will be setting up a petition soon (we'll update this thread as these things come to fruition).
-Grace

"Shades of grey wherever I go;
The more I find out the less that I know."
- Billy Joel
"What color's the icing in your world?" - Me
Reply
-Grace

"Shades of grey wherever I go;
The more I find out the less that I know."
- Billy Joel
"What color's the icing in your world?" - Me
Reply
post #2 of 125
Thread Starter 
bump (I promise I will not do this too often)
-Grace

"Shades of grey wherever I go;
The more I find out the less that I know."
- Billy Joel
"What color's the icing in your world?" - Me
Reply
-Grace

"Shades of grey wherever I go;
The more I find out the less that I know."
- Billy Joel
"What color's the icing in your world?" - Me
Reply
post #3 of 125
Pretty please icon_lol.gif It's a long shot but we'lll never know if it will work unless we try !

Also, to those of you who do not know about our local cake decorators club, please join us! Here's the link. We have alot of fun!

http://www.meetup.com/njcakedecoratorsclub/
post #4 of 125
Yay!! So hope this works out. It's just not fair that we who do this because we love it, but still have to work full time (or stay home with our babies) are not able to sell our cakes (legally) without putting out an arm and a leg in kitchen fees. Trust me, I'd love to say I own a shop and put all the work into opening one up, but for me, that's not an option.
Help prevent feline diabetes! Please feed your cat properly with a canned food or raw diet. Have you hugged your kitty today?
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Help prevent feline diabetes! Please feed your cat properly with a canned food or raw diet. Have you hugged your kitty today?
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post #5 of 125
Thanks, Grace. I'm in.
post #6 of 125
Fantastic Idea! I'm going to post this link on my site so more NJ decorators can participate. The more letters we can send the more they will take it seriously. Thanks so much for starting this Grace!
My new blog: http://cake2cake.blogspot.com
My website loaded with cake info and links: www.distinctivecakes.com
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My new blog: http://cake2cake.blogspot.com
My website loaded with cake info and links: www.distinctivecakes.com
Reply
post #7 of 125
Thank you for getting in touch with me, I'm in!!!!!!! thumbs_up.gif
nothing is more relaxing than decorating a cake or reading to your kids
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nothing is more relaxing than decorating a cake or reading to your kids
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post #8 of 125
I think this is a great idea. I'd love to be able to sell my cakes as well.
post #9 of 125
Wow!!
I was thinking about doing something like this last week but I didn't know how to star and now I get this message from you. God is good!!!

When Oprah gave the letter to her listeners a while back to send to our senators about changing the laws about pedophile I sent one with my signature and a few months after I got a response from the senator office letting me know that the law was passed and approved, I cried of excitement because I never thought that we can make that kind of difference, but we did!

Thank you and for sure I'm in.

God be with us

Wendy
CAKE CENTRAL IS THE BEST!!!!!
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CAKE CENTRAL IS THE BEST!!!!!
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post #10 of 125
Grace,

I have been trying to figure out how to do this for almost a year now. Count me in! The current laws are so limited it is crazy.

Maria
post #11 of 125
Thank you for this - I'm IN!!
post #12 of 125
I sent my letters out this morning!
post #13 of 125
Hooray for Jersey girls!! I'm in, too.
post #14 of 125
Thread Starter 
Thanks so much everybody. If any of you have followed the saga of what TX has gone through, you'll know that this isn't going to be a breeze and might be a long (possibly two years or more!) uphill battle, but I really think we can make a difference here.

I have my letters and I'm off to the PO. Please don't for get to tell your NJ neighbors, friends and families about this and ask them if they'd be willing to send off some quick letters, e-mails and faxes, too!

Thanks!
-Grace

"Shades of grey wherever I go;
The more I find out the less that I know."
- Billy Joel
"What color's the icing in your world?" - Me
Reply
-Grace

"Shades of grey wherever I go;
The more I find out the less that I know."
- Billy Joel
"What color's the icing in your world?" - Me
Reply
post #15 of 125
I am on it...I will send out a letter also!!!

Go Jersey! icon_lol.gif
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