Gov. Jerry Brown legalizes sale of home-cooked food in California
Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday signed a raft of bills aimed at improving the business climate in California, including one legalizing a growing cottage industry that sells home-cooked foods.
Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Silver Lake) wrote the bill making it legal to sell certain safe foods, including bread, cookies and tortillas, made in home kitchens. Until now, state law did not allow the sale of goods prepared anyplace but a commercial kitchen, although there was an exception for charity bake sales.
Under AB 1616, the state Department of Public Health would have authority to add and remove foods from a list of those approved for sale, and require the foods to be properly labeled. Foods with potential safety issues, including meats and custards, are not allowed under the bill.
"It will allow people who are trying to start a small business in a tough economy to do so with a minimum of red tape,'' Gatto said.
The governor also signed bills to make it easier for courts to dismiss vexatious lawsuits against businesses, give hotels longer to install carbon monoxide sensors and encourage the builders of a bullet train to buy rail cars made in California.
Brown vetoed SB 977 by Sen. Leland Yee (D-San Francisco), a measure that would have increased penalties for manufacturers of nail polish that falsely advertise their product as toxin-free.
"While bad actors should be punished, it makes no sense to increase penalties, one manufacturer at a time," Brown wrote in his veto message. "The existing Sherman Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Law provides for a $1,000 fine for a first offense, and a $10,000 fine for subsequent offenses, for false labeling of this kind. This suffices.’’
-- Patrick McGreevy in Sacramento
Photo: A bill signed by the governor Friday was inspired by Mark Stambler, who was ordered to stop selling bread he baked in his backyard oven. Credit: Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times.