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.

Sen. Sue Crawford
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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