Posts Tagged: cottage foods
The workshop opened with a warm welcome from Sonoma County Supervisor David Rabbitt (District 2) and Supervisor Shirlee Zane (District 3) and thoughtful facilitation from Joseph McIntyre with Ag Innovations Network. These leaders “built a foundation of trust, care, and urgency for the work, resulting in a productive and energizing day for the audience and presenters alike,” explained Pamela Swan with Sonoma County's Department of Health Services.
“Many farmers weren't aware of the range of options for value-added production that can help them use the abundance of their harvest, diversify their operations, and generate new income for their ag businesses,” stated UC Cooperative Extension Agricultural Ombudsman, Karen Giovannini. “These emerging opportunities support farmers and food entrepreneurs, as well as regional economic development and help to build a more robust local food system,” added UC Cooperative Extension Food Systems Advisor, Julia Van Soelen Kim.
The workshop was offered as part of the “Opportunities in Ag Business” series presented by UC Cooperative Extension and Sonoma County Department of Health Services and was generously sponsored by American Ag Credit. The workshop complemented the work of the Sonoma County Food System Alliance and helped move forward the goals of the Food Action Plan, the countywide vision for a vibrant local food system.
A two-tier cottage food operator registration and permitting system has been established to be enforced by local county or city environmental health agencies:
1) “Class A” cottage food operators are those operations that sell CFO prepared foods directly to the public (at the home where the cottage food operation is located or at a community event, such as a farmers market); and
2) “Class B” cottage food operators are those operations that sell CFO prepared foods either indirectly through restaurants and stores or both directly to the public as well as indirectly to the public via sale to retail food facilities such as restaurants and markets.
All individuals involved with the CFOs are required to complete a food processor training course within three months of registering. Information about this training is available at:
More information about the qualified foods and the requirements to become a CFO, along with an excellent set of Frequently Asked Questions, are available at the CDPH website, http://www.cdph.ca.gov/programs/Pages/fdbCottageFood.aspx. You may find some surprises on this page, including the following restrictions:
- Delivery -- CFOs are not allowed to mail or ship their shelf-stable products directly to their customers (FAQ #9).
- Direct Sales Restrictions -- Direct sales of cottage foods are limited to their county of origin (where the farmer lives, in the case of farmers who are also CFOs—FAQ #7.)
- Planning and Zoning Restrictions--All CFOs need to obtain approval from their local city or county planning department (FAQ #12).
CCDEH (California Conference of Directors of Environmental Health) is considering proposing a clean-up bill to remedy these unexpected restrictions. If you share these concerns or have others related to CFOs, please email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) so that I can share your input during the next AB1616 Stakeholders Advisory Group conference call./span>