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Texas Cottage Food Laws regulate food sold from home businesses

Tamales and other meat items shouldn't be purchased from home businesses
Posted at 5:47 AM, Dec 22, 2021

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — More people are opening up shop at home due to the pandemic. Many of them choosing to sell baked goods and other food items from the comfort of their home.

But, how are these treats regulated through something called the Texas Cottage Food laws?

More people are becoming entrepreneurs.

"Last year, you know since the pandemic, 3,000 more just within the city of Corpus Christi and this a record," said Jim Lee, a professor of economics at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.

According to U.S. Census data, Corpus Christi has seen a growth in home businesses.

With the holidays here, more people are turning to homemade desserts, pastries and other items.

But are these food businesses following the law?

Some are, according to the cottage law.

"It allows people to make a pretty wide range of foods in their home kitchens and sell them directly to consumers with really minimal regulations or government permitting or requirements," said Judith McGeary, executive director at Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance.

Tisha Gavlik owns Nauti T's Creation, which specializes in jellies and sauces. She said the Texas Cottage Food laws helped guide her when she started her business three years ago.

"We call them a creation, because they are not just a PB&J kind of jelly," Gavlik said. "We use Maui pineapples. We go as far as to get peaches from Fredericksburg, Texas."

Manami Kumagai sells Japanese-style breads and pastries from home and started her business called Mana's this year.

"So inside of this pancake I put the fillings which are the natural ingredient based which is coconut-milk based," Kumagai said. "So, vegan people and regular people can both enjoy those pastries. This is one of the very unique points in Japanese pastry."

Both these businesswomen follow the Texas Cottage Food law rules, meaning they can operate because they are not selling foods that require time or temperature control to prevent spoilage like meat.

"If someone is selling you fresh hot tamales, and saying they are cottage food producers, they are not complying with the law and it should be a concern," said McGeary.

The cottage law also states you must follow labeling requirements and has an annual income limit. If the department of state health or the local health department has reason to believe your business poses a threat, they could potentially shut you down.

For more on the Texas Cottage Food Laws clickhere.