Update ~ May 23, 2015
It’s 5 in the morning, I’ve been tossing and turning for awhile, and my mind won’t stop. I decided that I might as well get up and share some of those thoughts with you all.
Yesterday Marianne and I were invited to a meeting that included several people who are involved with working on our Cottage Food Bill. It was great and I can’t thank Kathy Zemen enough for inviting us. There were people from the Dept. Of Health, the Dept. Of Agriculture, the Farmer’s Market Association, and so many more that are involved with things to do with food in our state of Minnesota.
There are wonderful people at the Dept. Of Agriculture working on a link to their website which will include the rules and instructions on how to proceed after the bill becomes law. This will include such things as where and how to register, information about the Food Handlers certificates, lists of potentially non hazardous foods, food labeling and other general information.
Now I will try to answer some of your questions that I have been seeing on the Facebook page: Once the bill is signed the DOA is expecting the law to take effect by the beginning of August. They are already working on how to proceed even as I write this. Yes, it does take time to organize everything and it will need more patience on our part. For sure we are all so excited but, we are not their only job. 🙂 There is one lady who is in charge of putting the information on the website. She is very nice and I am sure will do her best.
As for the question of registration, many of you have been wondering exactly how this will be enforced. I suppose the best answer is through your own conscious. I am assuming the same people, who want so badly for this law to be passed in order to legally sell baked goods from their homes, are going to follow the law once it takes effect. Otherwise, why did you bother? It benefits you the baker to make sure that you are registered and follow the rules. It keeps you safe from civil suits and liability if something should happen where a customer has a complaint against you. It is also a good idea to open up your own little company as an LLC and get small business insurance, which is not very expensive and again this is for your protection. Also, just a small warning, once this law does take effect, there is no doubt in my mind that all of those who opposed it will be watching us like hawks. They will pounce on the first person who messes up, the first customer complaint, so it really is important that we all follow the rules and take every precaution for all of our sakes.
The cottage food law that we have now remains in play until the new one is legally in place. So for now, you can only sell your (potentially non hazardous) baked goods at the Farmer’s Markets, and events such as bake sales & fund raisers, with proper labeling, as per the directions on the Dept. Of Agricultures website. However, it’s still a good idea to become an LLC and get that insurance. It’s just good business. 🙂
For some reason, which no one has been able to explain to me yet, the bill is now under house file 846. I only found this out yesterday and yes, it threw us all into a frenzy for several hours. Many thanks to the folks who brought it to our attention and helped to clarify it.
Obviously the main thing now is waiting for the Governor to sign the bill. I looked it up this morning and as of yet he hasn’t done it but his website says he will be signing bills all day today so, please send all of your prayers and positive thoughts in that direction, and hopefully we’ll have some good news today.
If this all seems like a random jumble of thoughts, it is. Hope it answered some questions anyway. Have a safe weekend.