Welcome

Here are the facts: 49 states have home cottage food laws that allow home-baking businesses.  49 states find it safe49 states have managed to address possible public safety concerns to allow residents to earn extra money or prepare for a larger-scale professional baking business at home prior to a bigger investment.  FORTY-NINE STATES.

The New Jersey Home Bakers Association feels that anyone with the talent and drive to begin a home business should be allowed that right, and that consumers should have the freedom of choice to purchase baked goods from a home baker.  We also believe in the safety of our products. Potentially non-hazardous baked goods are those which do not require initial refrigeration or further preparation; items like cookies, brownies, cakes, and bread, among others.

Food science shows that given proper preparation, the potential for contamination in these foods is rare to non- existent. In most areas of New Jersey, it is possible to donate these same baked goods or sell them for charitable purposes. We are left to wonder; aren’t these the same goods baked with the same ingredients in the same kitchen by the same baker? Why are these goods safe enough to donate, but not safe enough to sell for profit?

Latest Developments:

On the legislative front, we are still working with our sponsors to amend Bill A4580/S73 before it is brought before the Assembly for a full vote. At play are the main issues of inspection, permissible food items, allowing online advertising and the costs associated with registering and maintaining a cottage food license. We want to make sure the legislation is equitable and accessible to all who wish to sell their homemade baked goods.

⮕ On the administrative front
, we are awaiting a final review from the Department of Health on the proposed rule changes to the NJ Food Code. As you recall, the public comment period ended in mid-June 2020. Per the DoH, they received an overwhelming amount of replies, and they are obligated to read, listen, consider, and respond to every submission. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 health crisis, the department has, understandably, had other things on their plate, but they assure us that the process is still ongoing.

⮕ On the judicial front
, we have not dropped our lawsuit against the state and remain in the backlog of cases that were delayed due to the courts being closed for the majority of 2020. We do not intend to back away from the litigation, and it will remain an option for us until we receive satisfactory legislation or a positive administrative rule change.

In the wake of our January 10th summary judgement hearing, the Department of Health has been working behind the scenes of our ongoing litigation to draft a proposed change to NJ Food and Beverage Laws that WOULD LIFT THE BAN on the production and sale of potentially-nonhazardous home-baked goods!!!!
WHAT DOES THE PROPOSED RULE SAY?

The proposed rule change includes many of the things that were written into our previous legislative bills and in our lawsuit, such as:

      • Producers will have a valid food handler manager’s certification from ServSafe or another approved certificate program
      • Producers will label all products with ingredients, major allergens, address of production, and mark clearly that the goods were made in a home kitchen not subject to inspection
      • Producers will agree to be subject to inspection upon complaint
      • Producers will only conduct sales direct-to-consumer from home or in venues such as a farmer’s market or festival (no retail or online sales) and sales at such events will require a sign noting that the goods were made in a home kitchen
      • A gross income cap of $50,000 annually

The proposed rule change also includes new, but not unreasonable requirements, such as:

      • Producers must apply for a cottage food production license, at a fee of $100, to be renewed every two years

WHERE CAN I SEE THE FULL PROPOSAL?

  •  The text of the proposed rule change can be found here
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?
    • The proposed rule will be submitted to the Office of Administrative Law for review
    • Once processed by OAL, a 60-day open public comment period will commence
    • During this time, ANYONE (supporters and detractors) may comment on the proposal, so we must rally together and make our voices heard
    • We will inform you all as soon as the comment period begins, so stay closely tuned!
    • When the comment period closes, the OAL will consider all submissions and either agree to overturn the baking ban or leave the law as it stands
WHAT ABOUT THE LAWSUIT?
We will NOT be dropping the lawsuit at this time. We need to ensure that we are continuing to pursue every avenue available to us in our fight for cottage food laws. If the rule change occurs in a timely fashion, we will no longer need to persist with litigation. Our trial is still currently scheduled for May 18, 2020. We will keep you all informed if anything changes.
WHAT ABOUT OUR GRASSROOTS EFFORTS?
We encourage you all to keep talking to people and spreading the word. Ask your friends and neighbors to join the NJHBA, our membership is free and open to all who support the right to bake from home. If you’d like to speak to your local leadership and need information packets and moral support, just reach out! We are happy to help you talk to officials who can make noise for us at every level of government.

 


Our expert report has been submitted to the state!
Click here to see what an acclaimed food microbiologist has to say about the safety of home-baked goods.