Jan 4, 2013 9:27 PM by Keli Moore, KSBY News

Some food for thought: new law allows people to sell homemade treats

A new California law allows people who make food in their homes to sell it to grocery stores and restaurants. Everything from granola to cookies can make it onto the shelf or onto the menu.

We often hear about people wanting to do this, but there's a lot of public health concern. So how is this going to work? It falls under the California Homemade Food Act, which created a new category called a "cottage food operation."

Aspiring cottage food operators have to take classes on food safety, pass an exam, label their products with the ingredients, pay a fee and their home kitchen will get inspected annually.

Despite the lengthy list of requirements, there are some local bakers who plan to take advantage.

"They're vegan and they're gluten free but they are undercover because when you bite into it you don't know that," said Eva Klembarova, co-creator of Undercover Cookies.

Friday Klembarova and her business partner were delivering cookies to a man in San Luis Obispo, but they often send the treats via mail as far away as Afghanistan.

"Today we are delivering to Guam and we have delivered to Japan and Slovakia," said Valerie Mantzoros, who is a co-creator.

Cookie lovers place their orders online.

"These cookies are what I dreamed of because I am lactose intolerant," said Joe Patane, who is a repeat customer, "I would love to see these cookies in the local stores."

That's about to become a reality because of the Homemade Food Act.

"When we were first starting out, we wanted to open a cafe, so we are starting this with what we have. The fact that this allows us to make something that we can sell through another cafe or a store that gives us time to open up our own place," said Klembarova.

The Undercover Cookie girls are going through the application process with the San Luis Obispo County Public Health Department and will soon have their healthy treats in Central Coast cafes and grocery stores.

"We love to live a healthy lifestyle and you can have some cookies too," said Klembarova.

There are some limitations to the new law. If a homemade food business makes more than $35,000 in revenue in 2013 they will no longer qualify for the new law, they'll have to open a brick and mortar location.

The Homemade Food Act won't benefit meat lovers because it prohibits the sale of dairy and meats. On the list of approved items are jams, baked goods, dried pastas, candies, mustards and other treats.

Click here to read the new law and see the complete list of homemade goods that can be sold.

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