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I received the email below from the Florida Dept of Agriculture. It appears that the Commissioner will be making some recommedations at the end of this month regarding allowing baked goods from home. I think it would be a good idea to send a letter to the commissioner expressing our needs for this act and how it will benefit Florida. The commissioner for the Dept of Agriculture is Charles Bronson and you can email him at

http://www.doacs.state.fl.us/about/index.html click on his name and send your email.

Thank you,

Barbara

Dear Ms. Schmal:

Thank you for your recent email requesting support for legislative language regarding cottage foods. As I am sure you are aware, there are multiple agencies in Florida with food regulatory responsibilities. Along with the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (DACS), the Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) and the Department of Health (DOH) have food regulatory functions.

Traditionally, DACS has authority for grocery stores, supermarkets, delis, bakeries, processors, seafood markets, warehouses, etc. DBPR has authority for restaurants, temporary events, mobile food dispensing vehicles, etc. DOH has responsibility for hospitals, educational facilities (school food operations), bars and lounges, and certain other institutional food service operations. DACS is the lead food agency for Florida and the authorizing statute is Chapter 500, F.S., with the corresponding food rules in Chapter 5K-4, F.A.C. Major portions of the 2001 Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Food Code, which is model language for food regulatory jurisdictions, have been adopted by reference in Chapter 5K-4 (similar to both DBPR and DOH rules). To my knowledge, none of these three agencies have any authority in statute to permit or regulate a private residence at this time.

Section 6-202.111, FDA Food Code, provides the following language regarding use of a private home for preparing food for the public: “6-202.111 Private Homes and Living or Sleeping Quarters, Use Prohibition. A private home, a room used as living or sleeping quarters, or an area directly opening into a room used as living or sleeping quarters may not be used for conducting food establishment operations.” This language or a variation of such has been in place for many years and is adopted by all three primary food agencies.

Obviously there are “bake sales” operating around the state all the time and, for many non-profit type groups particularly, is a viable way of earning money. The operation of traditional “bake sales” or other temporary events such as at churches or schools generally fall under the jurisdiction of DBPR or DOH, depending on at what type of facility the “bake sale” was operated. Individuals who wish to prepare and sell baked goods as a business operation would fall under the DACS umbrella. As stated above, we currently have no authority in law for permitting a private residence. There was a bill this past session that included home prepared goods also known as “cottage foods”. This bill failed however, as a charge from the Florida Legislature in the 2010 Regular Session, this agency was charged with the following:

“In accordance with section 500.033, F.S., the Florida Food Safety and Food Defense Advisory Council shall assess the food safety requirements for food permits that govern small farm facilities permitted as food establishments. The council will complete the assessment and report its finding to the Commissioner of Agriculture by December 1, 2010. The department shall submit recommendations to the President of the Senate and Speaker of the House of Representatives by December 31, 2010, focusing on the most efficient and effective ways to ensure food safety while minimizing the cost to small farmers. The report is due to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives by December 31, 2010.”

The above subcommittee has reviewed and discussed home baked goods as a part of the total issue and a report from the Florida Food Safety and Food Defense Advisory Council has gone to the Commissioner of Agriculture for review and response. The Commissioner will review this report and provide recommendations for potential legislation to the Florida Legislature by December 31, 2010.

I hope this information is helpful. Please let me know if you need any further information.

Regards,

Lee M. Cornman

FL Dept. of Agriculture and Consumer Services

Division of Food Safety

Phone: 850.245.5595

Fax: 850.488.7946

cornmal@doacs.state.fl.us

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