Cottage food sales expanded

Nebraskans may sell so-called cottage foods directly from their homes and at certain events under a bill approved by lawmakers April 29.

<a href='http://news.legislature.ne.gov/dist45' target='_blank' title='Link to the website of Sen. Sue Crawford'>Sen. Sue Crawford</a>
Sen. Sue Crawford

State law previously had authorized the direct sale of certain foods such as baked goods and uncut fruits and vegetables to consumers at a farmers market if the consumer is informed by a sign at the sale location that the food was prepared in a kitchen that was not subject to regulation and inspection.

LB304, introduced by Bellevue Sen. Sue Crawford, expands that provision to direct consumer sales at a fair, festival, craft show or other public event or for pickup or delivery at the seller’s private home.

For sales made for pickup at or delivery from a private home or other area, notification is required at the home or area, on the producer’s website and in any advertisement for sales. For sales at a farmers’ market, fair, festival, craft show or other public event, notification is required at the sale location.

LB304 requires producers other than those selling directly to consumers at a farmers’ market to complete a nationally accredited food safety and handling course or a certified food safety and handling training course offered at a culinary school or as required by a county, city or village to obtain a food handler permit.

The bill requires delivery to be made in a person-to-person transaction, by U.S. mail or by a commercial mail delivery service. It also requires the name and address of the producer to be included on the package or container label.

A producer also is required to follow food safety and handling guidelines for sale at a farmers’ market, fair, festival, craft show or other public event required by the county, city or village where the food is sold.

If a producer uses private well water to produce food, he or she must have the water tested for nitrates or bacteria before producing and selling food.

Finally, a producer selling from a private home is required to register with the state Department of Agriculture before conducting any sales.

Senators voted 40-0 to pass LB304.

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