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Andrzejczak Bill to Establish Requirements for Sale of Homemade Food Products Advanced by Assembly Committee

(TRENTON) – Legislation Assemblyman Bob Andrzejczak sponsored that would permit and establish requirements for sale of homemade food products was advanced Thursday by an Assembly committee.
“Permitting the sale of cottage food products in the state will give residents greater access to fresh, locally made food products and help local economies,” said Andrzejczak (D-Cape May/Cumberland/Atlantic). “It will also remove some of the startup barriers for fledging food entrepreneurs, such as the requirement to cook out of an expensive commercial kitchen and comply with extensive food safety regulations geared towards commercial food producers.”
The bill (A-801) specifically addresses cottage food products – non-potentially hazardous food that is prepared for sale by an individual in their own kitchen.
Under the bill, an individual would be permitted to sell cottage food products, provided the person obtains a cottage food operator’s license form the Department of Health, complies with the requirements established in the bill and by the DOH.
The bill would not apply to individuals who:
(1) prepare non-potentially hazardous food in a residential kitchen for sale or service at a religious or charitable function, provided the consumer is informed that the food is not subject to regulation or inspection;
(2) prepare food in a residential kitchen in a family child-care home; or
(3) prepare food in a residential kitchen in a bed and breakfast homestay or guesthouse, and offers that food to guests, provided the home is owner-occupied and breakfast is the only meal offered.
Such preparation and sale are already permitted under existing DOH regulations.
“Forty-two state currently have cottage food laws,” continued Andrzejczak. “New Jersey is one of handful of states that still prohibit cottage food production. This bill, modeled off successful laws in California, Massachusetts, and New York, seeks to balance food safety with the desire to create meaningful opportunity for small-scale food entrepreneurs.”
The bill would establish two classes of cottage food operator’s licenses. A “Class A” cottage food operator’s license would entitle the holder to engage in direct sales of cottage food products from the cottage food operation (CFO) or other direct sales venue. This includes sales made in-person at the CFO, farm stands, farmer’s markets, and festivals.
A “Class B” cottage food operator’s license would entitle the holder to engage in direct sales and indirect sales of cottage food products.
The bill establishes minimum health and safety requirements for CFOs and authorizes the DOH to adopt further requirements. It also establishes packaging and labeling requirements for cottage food products.
The bill was referred to the Assembly Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee, of which Andrzejczak is chair.