Nacogdoches Co. to host Cottage Food Law program

NACOGDOCHES COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - Half the fun in a farmer's market is seeing and tasting all those home baked items and canned goods. That privilege was at risk until new and updated legislation passed this year. Now home cooks have a unique opportunity to learn or refresh their memory on cottage food laws.

Julie rice is baking up a batch of white chocolate dipped oatmeal cranberry cookies.

"This is my family's favorite holiday cookie," said Julie Rice, Cottage Food Vendor.

It was the start to Rice's cottage food business.

"I love to grow things, bake things, can things and so I started taking them to the farmer's market," said Rice.

Along with a lot of other home cooks. The state stepped in with strict laws requiring commercial kitchens and health department inspections. It practically shut down the cottage food industry. Heat in the kitchen led to new laws that aren't so difficult to follow, but still protect the consumer.

"I think that's a great entrepreneurship activity, but people need to stay in depth with what the law is and the current law," said Claudann Jones, Texas Agrilife Agent.

Nacogdoches Agrilife is hosting an expert on the subject Monday afternoon at 1:00 p.m.

" And at the end of that program we will have a two hour food handler's course which is required now in the State of Texas for those in the cottage food industry," said Jones.

Rice already has her's and knows all the do's and don'ts.

" Just that you know how to handle your food and keep your items clean and that food has to be cooked at a certain temperature and stored at a certain temperature," said Rice.

And stickers fully inform the buyer.

"This food is made in a kitchen and is not inspected by the Department of State Health Services," said Rice.

But makes up for that in other ways.

"It's made with love from your home. I think that's just the best to have it made out of a home from someone who cares and loves. I just love to bake," said Rice.

The Cottage Food Law program is Monday at 1:00 p.m. A food handler's certification program begins at 2:00 p.m. The cost is $25. Both programs are at the Nacogdoches County Courthouse Annex.

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