The hard-working people at the Sustainable Economies Law Center have been leading efforts to get a “cottage food law” on the books in California, and the campaign is very close to a successful finish. Over thirty states have similar laws, which creates a category of food production called a cottage food operation. Unlike other types of commercial food facilities, a cottage food operation can be run out of a home kitchen. For a description of the California Homemade Food Act, AB 1616, click here. The final step for this bill to become law is for Governor Brown to sign it! Read on for a message from SELC on how you can help.
AB 1616 passed out of the Senate and the Assembly concurrence vote unanimously!
This is quite an achievement and we’re so excited that the one last step left is the governor’s signature. No more amendments, no more committees and no more votes.
But some last minute opposition is stirring—more from paranoid health department officials and now from the League of California Cities. If Governor Brown chooses not to sign our bill next month then our hard work will be lost and we’ll have to start all over again next year. Please send him a letter this weekend or first thing next week urging him to sign the bill.
AB 1616 has gone through several amendments to directly address the opposition’s concerns, including requiring kitchen inspections for indirect sales, requiring special food safety training courses for cottage food producers and limiting cottage food operations to $50,000 in annual gross sales, among other limits and requirements.* Yet the opposition keeps pushing for more and tighter restrictions. The author’s staff and our core group of organizers have had to push back and stand firm to defend the bill as it stands. Having your vocal support for this legislation has been key to preserving the bill and getting it this far!
We can overcome this opposition. Among our supporters are food businesses, food advocacy organizations, religious organizations, the California State Grange, AFSCME, the City of Los Angeles and of course lots of consumers who want more access to homemade food!
If you represent an organization that supports AB 1616 please send a letter on behalf of your organization (even if your organization already sent letters to Assemblymembers and Senators) directly to the Governor. You can find his address and a sample letter at Sustainable Economies Law Center’s Take Action Page.
Already wrote to the Governor? Want to do more? You can … 1) Ask others to write to him, too! You can ask friends, family, your local government leaders and anyone else in California! AND … 2) Make a donation to the Sustainable Economies Law Center to support our work after the bill is signed as we engage with the health department to ensure the bill is properly implemented and to create free legal resources for start-up and small food enterprises.
Thank you for your support. We’re almost there!
*You can read a summary and full text of the latest version of the bill here if you want to catch up on all the changes.
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