Cottage Law course to be held March 16

Published 3:06 pm Friday, March 11, 2016

By Leisl Lemire | Special to the Advertiser

When purchasing prepared food—whether from a restaurant, store, or at a farmer’s market—one hopes that the food has been prepared safely; from the cleanliness of the pots and pans, to the proper storage of the ingredients used in each recipe.

The Cottage Food Law was passed on June 1, 2014, to specifically address home baked or prepared foods.

For those with a secret family recipe that is just too good not to share, or in this case, to sell, the law requires a few basic steps to make sure that compliance is taking place.

A food safety course is required, providing entrepreneurs with the needed certification to make their home-prepared foods in compliance with the law.

Locally, the next food safety course, which is required by the Cottage Food Law, will be offered at the Alabama Power Company on March 16 from 9 a.m. until noon.

The course teaches basic food safety steps, which ensure that the food sold to friends and neighbors can be prepared as safely as possible.

“The classes are offered for those who might not have heard about the opportunity for the training to start a home based business,” Regional Extension Agent Janice Hall said.

The training is offered periodically in other locations throughout the state.

“It is not a difficult thing. It was an informative class with a test at the end,” said Harold Pierce, who took the class in December.

“The purpose is to emphasize the need for cleanliness and remind you of the packaging requirements.”

Pierce has recently started selling the peanut brittle and pecan brittle that his family has enjoyed for years, along with some specialty jams and jellies.

The course will inform those in attendance what foods are, and what foods are not, to be sold, as well as where they can and cannot be sold.

For example, the law prohibits certain foods from being sold directly to consumers, including baked goods with ingredients that require refrigeration. Included in that list would be custard pies, and anything with a cream filling or a whipped topping.

Other prohibited products include juices from fruits and vegetables, milk products, cheeses, pickles, barbecue sauces, canned fruits and vegetables, garlic in oil and meats in any form.

Labels must be included on all products bearing either the name of the entrepreneur or the business name, the address of the individual or business, and must also include the statement that the food is not inspected by the Department of Public Health. It should be noted that sales can not exceed $20,000.

The cost of the course is $25.

For more information and to register, go to and click on “Cottage Law.”