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New rules for cottage foods

Idaho lawmakers have approved a new rule aimed at bringing more consistency to state regulations regarding cottage foods.

Cottage foods are products made in home kitchens and sold, and do not have ingredient labels or have not had a state inspection.

The House Health and Welfare Committee voted unanimously on Thursday to adopt the pending rule.

Idaho Department of Health and Welfare Manager, Patrick Guzzle, who has hosted 18 meetings on cottage foods across Idaho, explains, “Legislators asked what do we do? Is there a problem that needs to be fixed and do we need to fix it?”

Emilee Belliston, who has a baked goods home business called, ‘Alex’s Sweet Treats’ said, ” I’ve been baking cupcakes, brownies and cakes from my kitchen for years. I hope it’s not too strict.”

The rule would include baked goods, fruit jams, jellies, breads and cakes.

“What I consistently heard from cottage food producers is that there needed to be better definitions but not regulations around it. So that’s how we got to where we are today,” Guzzle said.

The new rule requires producers to submit an application online that clarifies what kind of cottage foods they make.

They must also include a label on their product that states it was prepared in a home kitchen.

“The cottage foods that don’t have any record of causing any food-borne disease outbreaks and they are in a form that doesn’t allow for any bacterial growth, so we see them as low-risk foods.,” Guzzle said.

High-risk foods are foods like meat, dairy and eggs, which have a high risk of transporting food-borne illnesses.

However, Belliston does agree that cottage foods need to have some guidelines.

“Store bought foods have labels which help those who have food allergies. I’m not too worried about the extra expense of providing a label,” said Belliston.

To find out more about cottage foods, visit healthandwelfare.idaho.gov.

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