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Thu Aug 30, 2012, 01:08 PM

Bill would allow sale of homemade foods

Shades of Mildred Pierce may be cropping up throughout the state as lawmakers are set to decide whether mothers and others are allowed to sell homemade muffins, cakes and pies at local stores and restaurants and directly to consumers.

Slammed by the economy, many households are looking to follow in the footsteps of the fictional heroine by earning a bit of money on the side with home-cooked confections without the huge upfront costs in leasing certified commercial kitchens and complying with myriad business rules.

The bill, up for a final vote in the state Senate as early as Wednesday, would permit home bakers to sell as much as $50,000 worth of goods a year, as long as they don't contain cream or meat products. So far, more than 30 other states have similar laws.

"This is maybe the most significant public health-related bill in this year's session," said Bruce Pomer, executive director of the Health Officers Assn. of California.

http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-homemade-food-20120829,0,6759357.story

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Response to bemildred (Original post)

Fri Aug 31, 2012, 12:14 AM

1. This is really good news.

Lots of people have been doing this for years and I have yet to hear about massive illnesses/death due to people eating that which has been prepared in the same kitchen in which the cook prepares meals for the family. I've been selling beerocks out of my own kitchen for years.

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Response to Le Taz Hot (Reply #1)

Fri Aug 31, 2012, 05:01 AM

2. It was always about favoring big business over MomNPop outfits anyway.

Anybody that tells you our economic elites favor competition is pulling your leg.

But yeah, it's really good, and in lots of different ways too.

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Response to Le Taz Hot (Reply #1)

Fri Sep 14, 2012, 07:15 PM

14. Never heard of a beerock - upon googling, it sounds tasty!

My mom used to make something called pieburgers, which seem similar, but I think I'll have to either make or seek out a beerock one of these days...

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Response to petronius (Reply #14)

Sat Sep 15, 2012, 04:06 AM

15. It's kind of a Fresno thang.

If you're ever in/around the frezburg area, PM me ahead of time and I'll make you a batch. On the house. You can buy them here but they're expensive, hard to find and they're not as good as mine.

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Response to bemildred (Original post)

Fri Aug 31, 2012, 02:51 PM

3. I'm on the fence about this ...

mostly over sanitation concerns. And just because it's homemade doesn't mean it's made-well.

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Response to Auggie (Reply #3)

Sat Sep 1, 2012, 12:36 AM

4. Years ago I dated a health inspector

who was loath to eat in most of the restaurants he'd inspected saying he'd been in their kitchens and seen untold filth in too many of them. If you've ever worked in a commercial kitchen you know that, a) they ain't that sanitary and b) most things aren't "made well" there either.

This is just making legal what's been going on for many many years anyway.

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Response to Le Taz Hot (Reply #4)

Sat Sep 1, 2012, 09:18 AM

5. Yep.

I'll take a cook that is interested in what s/he is doing, not a cook who is just doing a min-wage burnout job and thinking about his hot date tonight.

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Response to Le Taz Hot (Reply #4)

Sat Sep 1, 2012, 10:38 AM

6. You are comparing restaurant kitchens to commercial bakeries

The article says "baked goods." And yes, while I know commercial bakeries aren't necessarily 100% sanitary there is no guarantee a home kitchen is either.

When I say "made-well" I refer to artisan. As an amateur baker I appreciate the effort that goes into a baguette as tasty as those made by, say, Acme Bakery of the S.F. Bay Area. One would assume the artisan baker takes equal pride in the cleanliness of their facilities.

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Response to Auggie (Reply #6)

Sat Sep 1, 2012, 10:51 AM

7. That comment was an appropriate reply to this sentence:

And just because it's homemade doesn't mean it's made-well.


in the sense that being not homemade doesn't mean it's made well either.

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Response to bemildred (Original post)

Fri Sep 7, 2012, 08:07 PM

8. I think there could be a middle of the road.

I have run a commercial kitchen in the past and there are certain protocols the law requires that make sense. Part of the problem of dirty commercial kitchens is that health inspectors are spread pretty thin and they often concentrate on code violations, like whether there is hot water, who your exterminator is, how cold your refrigeration is rather than how clean the kitchen was when they visited. I think certifying home kitchens as having basic protocols in place like good, working refrigeration, hot water, pest control etc., not on the same level as commercial but enough to ensure a safe, clean product could work and it shouldn't have to be expensive to install those things like it would be in a commercial kitchen.

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Response to Cleita (Reply #8)

Sat Sep 8, 2012, 06:32 AM

9. Well, I agree that the basic problem is the government's unwillingness to govern.

Or to tax in order to govern, particularly where it comes to commercial activities, where we have this fetish about private enterprise being somehow more "efficient" than non-pr0fits, an idea which proves fatuous when you take a look at it.

But the root problem lies in the conflict between the desire to cook well and the desire to make money. You cannot simultaneously maximize both profit and quality, and it is the government's JOB to get in there and adjuducate that conflict in the public interest by monitoring anybody that produces food for the public to consume.

The point of the OP, to my mind, is more that small food producers deserve a fair playing field, and agribusiness has twisted the law to favor themselves and work against the little guys.

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Response to bemildred (Reply #9)

Sat Sep 8, 2012, 02:23 PM

10. I think that is what I was saying.

People don't need a commercial kitchen to produce small batches of safe food for consumption. But producers from those home kitchens do need some minimal regulations to keep the public safe. A lot of people don't know what the safe temperature of refrigeration is and what temperature should they cook their food too and if it's to be served hot, what temperature it should be kept at.

Sure to have a commercial kitchen, it requires a lot of special tile, stainless steel, drains in the floor and many things that are expensive construction requirements for code, impossible for someone to outfit their home kitchen with unless they are millionaires. I think a compromise and a certification program could happen. When that law passes look forward to empanadas coming out of my home kitchen.

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Response to Cleita (Reply #10)

Sat Sep 8, 2012, 05:49 PM

11. Cool, I think we're on the same page then.

It is quite true that I would want someone looking in on anybody that is making a habit of selling food to the public, big or small. I'm not sure how many people nowadays even know how to safely prepare and store food.

Things I really like about small producers are: quality, variety, service, price, less trash, and the money stays local.

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Response to bemildred (Reply #11)

Sat Sep 8, 2012, 07:24 PM

12. Also, people need to think of liability too.

There is always some one out there who might want to sue you for food poisoning, so there has to be some investment in insurance for this just in case.

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Response to bemildred (Original post)

Tue Sep 11, 2012, 02:35 PM

13. Years ago, when my wife and I were living in the Midwest...

... the health department closed the only real Mexican restaurant in town because they were preparing some food at home. It was a small family owned restaurant and they simply didn't have room in the kitchen.

They were allowed to reopen, using commercial canned and frozen ingredients, but the food wasn't as good and it seemed we were even further away from our native California.

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