Originally Posted by cakelady2266
smbegg...I'm not making assumptions about anyone's knowledge concerning health codes or skill levels as bakers/decorators. I don't understand how all of a sudden it's okay for some bakers to sell food products from their homes especially without health department inspections. While those of use with inspected kitchens will still be under close scrutiny from state and local health departments. Seems like a double standard to me.
Cakelady2266, I've devoted the last 3 years of my life to this cause, and I'm very passionate about it, so I'm going to speak passionately. Please forgive me in advance.
Tonight I was re-reading Joel Salatin's "Everything I Want To Do Is Illegal"
and happened across this passage, which seems particularly apropos to your question:
"We believe that requiring $500,000 processing facilities for a farmer to be able to sell one T-bone steak to a neighbor creates price discrimination against small producers and consumers who want to patronize him. With such large overheads, not only do many would-be solutions-based entrepreneurs never start, but those who do must charge exorbitant prices to their customers in order to recoup the inordinately astronomical facility overhead costs. Critics must argue that Farmer Brown processing one T-bone steak is equivalent to Con-Agra processing 5,000 animals per day."
Substitute "cake" for "steak" and "kitchen" for "processing facility" and I think you'll see where I'm coming from. Why is the barrier of entry so high for something as innocuous as selling cakes and cookies? These are items which are scientifically classified as non-potentially hazardous and have an extremely low chance of making people sick. Selling one cake (steak) to a neighbor is not the same as selling 50 cakes a week. Requiring Americans to invest $20,000 or more in a commercial kitchen, or pay an exorbitant amount of hourly or monthly commercial kitchen rent in order to sell ONE cake, basically excludes small producers from business. It prevents entrepreneurship.
This is not happening "all of a sudden", as you said above, although due to the downturn in the economy, several states have taken steps to encourage jobs and local economies. The local food movement is also growing - people like to know who made their food, where it was made, and how it was made. Many states have had these cottage food laws on the books for many years. Today's "food safety"(* see bottom)
laws came around largely due to the public uproar over Upton Sinclair's 1906 book, "The Jungle", which depicted horrible and disgusting conditions in a meat plant -- not home kitchens. Before that, cooking and baking at home was normal. Yes, normal. People baked cakes and bread and cookies and sold them in their local communities, and this was normal. Texas' own Mrs. Baird
of Mrs. Baird's Bread began selling homemade bread after she was widowed, and her sons would make deliveries in horse-drawn carriages. She became so successful that she moved to commercial facilities. When she died in 1961, the Texas Senate passed a resolution in her memory and declared Ninnie Baird "a living example for mothers, wives, business executives, Christians and good people the world over."
Most cottage food laws are restricted to non-potentially hazardous food. Many have other restrictions, such as income caps. In Texas, food may only be sold at the producer's home, which is quite limiting for some. Since we are limited in what we can sell, where we can sell, and how much we can make, I do not see how this is a "double standard".
Home kitchens aren't set up for production. You can only do so much before you burn out, or have to move up to a commercial facility, where you would, in return for your investment, have unlimited production capacity and no limits on what, where, and how much you sell.
I read stories every day of people whose lives were transformed for the better by the passage of Texas' law. These people, who never would have been able to build or rent a commercial facility (for a multitude of reasons) have a sense of pride and ownership in contributing to their household's finances while being in charge of their own small-scale business. It's a beautiful thing, it truly is.
Home bakers have been around since ovens were invented. Cottage food laws don't create home bakers, they just bring them out of the shadows.* "Food Safety" needs to be put in quotation marks, because it's pretty obvious to anyone who's really paying attention that modern "food safety" laws exist to protect the pocketbooks of Big Agribusiness and factory farms. If you've actually read about pink slime you know that we're getting pretty close to being fed government-approved Soylent Green.
Thank you for bearing with me.