Jennifer Marich and Elizabeth Cibotariu sit down with Ernie Anastos to discuss NJ’s lack of cottage food laws.
Growing up in Brazil, Martha Rabello, who now lives in Fanwood with her husband and three young children, loved the coffee and sweets that her grandmother served every day at
After settling in the United States in 2005, Rabello attended the pastry program at Manhattan’s Institute for Culinary Education, graduating in 2009. She subsequently developed two coffee hour– inspired cookie flavors, one featuring corn flour and fennel seed and the other featuring coffee and dark chocolate. She set about securing commercial kitchen space to produce the treats for sale online and at local cafes under the name Cherryspoon. Now, due to New Jersey regulations that forbid her to work in her more affordable home kitchen, she finds herself out of business. Today Rabello and others are fighting a long legal battle with the state, one that now includes representation by the Institute for Justice, based in Arlington, VA, a nonprofit, libertarian, public-interest law firm
CRANFORD, NJ — Martha Rabello used to run her own bakery. Not anymore. The Cranford mother of two was trained as a pastry chef in Brooklyn and specialized in Brazilian-inspired cookies that pair well with coffee.
She rented a commercial-grade kitchen, required by New Jersey state law, but the cost was so burdensome, she stopped, halting her business. Now, she and other members of the New Jersey Home Bakers Association are looking to overturn the state regulation that prohibits would-be Betty Crockers from selling their confections.
The organization — in conjunction with the Arlington, Va.-based libertarian law firm Institute for Justice — sued the state Department of Health on Dec. 6, claiming the law is unconstitutional and unnecessary. With every other state allowing the sale of home-baked goods, they can’t understand why New Jersey is the only one that doesn’t allow it.
After escaping an abusive relationship, Heather Russinko found herself living paycheck to paycheck. For Heather, baking became a way to recover, and bond with her son. At first, she sold her baked goods to support her son’s school fundraisers. But over time, her signature cake pops became a hit. Soon Heather started receiving requests from family, friends, sports fundraisers, and even a wedding venue. Heather realized that she could earn some much-needed dough simply by baking at home. With this business, Heather hoped she could pay for her son’s college education and one day open her own brick-and-mortar cake pop shop.
Unfortunately, her dreams were dashed thanks to a law that exists only in New Jersey. Unlike 49 other states, selling baked goods made at home is illegal in the Garden State. Baking and selling just one cake, cookie or muffin risks fines as high as $1,000. When Heather learned she had to shut down her cake pop sideline, the news was “crushing,” she said. “I always wanted to have my own business. I believe in creating your own destiny and being self-sufficient,” Heather told CBS This Morning.
FRANKLIN — For single mom Heather Russinko, the desire to fight for change started with a cake pop.
“I’m a pretty decent baker,” said Russinko, of Franklin. “I have always made cookies and cake pops for birthday parties and things around the neighborhood, and when I started looking for a way to supplement my income, I thought why not start a business out of my kitchen? It would give me some extra money, and I could spend more time with my son. It felt like a good solution to a lot of my problems.”
Thanks to a long-standing New Jersey regulation that prohibits the sale of homemade baked goods, however, Russinko and other home bakers like her have had to put their businesses on the back burner, so to speak, while the issue of legality works itself out at the state level.
Earlier this month, the New Jersey Home Bakers Association, of which Russinko is an active member, sued the state Health Department over rules that require people to have a license before they can sell their home-baked treats.
New Jersey seems to never miss an opportunity to send a message that it is an overly regulated state unfriendly to business.
The latest is state legislators making home bakers sue the state to be allowed to sell limited amounts of their breads, cakes, cookies and such. Democrats in the state Senate have blocked voting on a bill ending the ban, which likely would pass.
In this and in too many other cases, New Jersey lawmakers are the last in the nation to adopt an obviously better practice.
Wisconsin left the Garden State alone and looking foolish in the spring when a judge ruled its ban on home-baking sales had “no real or substantial connection” to consumer protection.
Selling homemade baked goods in New Jersey is no piece of cake. It is the only state where home bakers can sell treats for charity, but not for profit. Now, home bakers there are suing the government over a law that bans the sale of items not made in a commercial-grade kitchen.
For Heather Russinko, selling her kitchen creations could bring in some much-needed cash. She started baking about 10 years ago for her son’s school activities. She had no idea her sweet skills would turn into a recipe for requests, reports CBS News’ Meg Oliver.
Selling baked goods prepared in a home kitchen in New Jersey is far from easy as pie.
New Jersey is the only state to completely ban the commercial sale of food made in a home kitchen, including foods deemed not potentially hazardous, such as cookies, breads, muffins and other goods that are shelf-stable and do not require refrigeration.
Three home bakers from New Jersey, as well as the New Jersey Home Bakers Association, filed a lawsuit against the New Jersey Department of Health earlier this month to declare the ban unconstitutional as applied to the sale of home-baked goods that are widely acknowledged as safe, according to the Institute for Justice, which will represent the bakers in the suit, which was filed in Union County.
The Institute of Justice recently represented a group of home bakers from Wisconsin, whose lawsuit against the Department of Agriculture was successful in overturning Wisconsin’s home baking ban.
A group of home bakers are suing to overturn a New Jersey law that says they can’t bake their cakes and make money too.
A lawsuit they said they’re filing in state Superior Court seeks to “vindicate the right of New Jerseyans to earn an honest living by selling safe and delicious home-baked goods and other homemade foods to their friends, neighbors and other consumers.”
New Jersey is the only state in the nation that bans the sale of homemade foods for profit out of concerns for health and sanitation. You can sell home-baked goods for charity.
The lawsuit called the ban “arbitrary and irrational in violation of the New Jersey Constitution’s due process guarantee.”
ELIZABETH — A group of stay-at-home mothers are suing the state Health Department in a challenge to a law prohibiting home-baked goods from being sold to the public.
The lawsuit by the New Jersey Home Bakers Association and three of its members argues that the law is discriminatory because it allows home-baked goods to be sold to support charities. The law, meanwhile, doesn’t apply to other non-potentially hazardous foods like chocolate, candies or pastas.
The law requires bakers to rent commercial kitchens, which can cost them tens of thousands of dollars a year.
Erica Smith, an attorney for the Institute for Justice, a nonprofit advocacy group that is representing the bakers, says the regulations eat into the profits of entrepreneurs, many of whom are raising children or are disabled.