Home baking act goes into effect, allows home bakers to sell

Staff Writer

This year, a change to law went into effect on Nov. 1 that will allow those who bake a tasty loaf of bread in their home kitchens to once again sell in certain places, including farmer’s markets, in Oklahoma.
The new Oklahoma Baking Act of 2017 has offered changes that will benefit those artisans who show off their talents at home. Before November 2013, all food sold to consumers was required to be made in a facility inspected by the Oklahoma Department of Health, with commercial kitchens as the most basic facility allowed to be inspected. The Oklahoma Home Bakery Act of 2013 legalized prepared baked goods in an uninspected home kitchen - but those goods were only allowed to be sold from the homeowner’s premises.
Senate Bill 508 aimed to amend the act, and was passed in early 2017. Homemade baked items can now be sold off-premises in select locations.
The Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service released information to assist home bakers in understanding and following the amended legislation, with the following:
• Under the amendment, one’s primary residence (not just a building on one’s property) becomes a non-inspected “home food establishment”. Prepared foods can be made for sale or resale from this home food establishment.
• Prepared foods are intended to be bakery goods such as breads, pies, scones, cookers, cakes, brownies, bagels, donuts, tortillas, muffins, tarts, granola, etc.
• Prepared foods are NOT allowed to contain meat or fresh fruit.
• Meat in commonly considered to be a foodstuff derived from an animal. The common definition of meat includes beef, pork, lamb, poultry, fish, other seafood and game animals, such as rabbit and venison.
• Fresh fruit is any fruit, homegrown or store purchased that has not been further processed by commercial methods. Botanically, fruits are seed-bearing structures, developing from the ovary of a flowering plant. Vegetables would be all other plant parts such as roots, leaves and stems. Commercial methods of fruit processing are considered to be canning, drying or freezing, as conducted by inspected and licensed food manufacturers. Home canning or freezing of store-purchased or homegrown fruit would not qualify as commercial methods.
• Fruit containing pies, cakes, scones, etc. are allowed only of they are baked at traditional temperatures and times. What is not allowed is, for example, fresh pineapple slices placed on an already baked pineapple cake.
• Sale (or resale) of prepared foods can occur at the following venues: Farmers markets - According to the Oklahoma State Department of Health, a “farmers market is defined as a designated area in which farmers, growers or producers from a defined region gather on a regularly scheduled basis to sell at retail non-potentially hazardous farm food products and whole shell eggs to the public. A portion of the raw food ingredients used by the individual vendor to produce a product must have been grown or raised by the vendor; Individual vendors wishing to process food, as defined by Oklahoma Good Manufacturing Practices guidelines (Chapter 260), must obtain a state food processor’s license - on site, by phone and internet with delivery occurring ONLY within the state of Oklahoma, cooperatives, membership-based buying clubs.
• The home food establishment is not allowed to exceed $20,000 in gross annual sales; this includes sales from all sale locations.
• Some requirements are in place for those who want to bake at home and sell at a farmer’s market.
• Any prepared food sold by a home food establishment must have a label affixed, when possible, to the product containing the following information: Name and address of the home food establishment; name of the prepared item; and the statement, “Made in a home food establishment that is not licensed by the State Department of Health” in at least 10-point font, in a color that provides clear contrast to the background of the label.
• If a label is not easily affixed to the packaging of the bakery item, a free-standing label may be placed by the product or placed on the receipt.
• If a home food establishment plans to sell at a farmers market, they must obtain a sales tax permit. These are required at farmers markets.
Enforcement is handled through the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry, which will receive complaints regarding ineffective adherence to the Home Baking Act. A form for complaints can be found online at oda.state.ok.us. If a home food establishment is thought to have exceeded $20,000 in gross annual sales, ODAFF can request written documentation for evaluation. Charges may include a misdemeanor punishable by a fine not to exceed $100.
Most state home baking acts require an ingredient statement and/or allergen listing on labels. Oklahoma does not currently have this requirement, and this could contribute to a food safety risk. It is recommended home bakers make a list of the ingredients and remain mindful of what is in the item intended for sale. The eight major allergens are milk, eggs, fish, crustacean shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat and soybean. Some ingredients may induce cross-allergenicity. Providing this information to the consumer could be a beneficial marketing tool and help keep your patrons safe.
This information and more can be found online at fact sheets.okstate.edu/documents/fapc-183-understanding-the-oklahoma-home-bakery-act.