The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

July 4, 2014

Limestone Extension Office to host session on cottage law

For The News Courier

— The Alabama Cottage Food Law (Senate Bill 159) went into effect June 1, but what does it mean for Limestone Countians?

It may mean more sales, if you have a home-based food business. Before SB159 was passed, homemade, nonhazardous foods could only be sold at state sanctioned farmer’s markets and charitable, religious, civic or a not-for-profit organization’s food sale. The Cottage Food Law allows for the sale of these products in other direct-to-consumer venues.

The Limestone County Office of the Alabama Cooperative Extension System will be hosting an informational and certification meeting for those interested in learning how the new Cottage Law applies to them. There will be an informational session starting at 2 p.m. Monday, July 14, in the extension office, located at 1109 W. Market St. in Athens.  

After the 30-minute informational session, those who would like to obtain the legal certification for cottage law will start the certification process. During this session, the requirements for operating a Cottage Food Business will be explained. It should be noted that these are not additional requirements for the sale of similar products at the farmer markets. This is a separate law for sales in other venues. Also, if the food business is already approved, inspected and under jurisdiction of FDA or USDA, it operates as such. This is for foods made in home kitchens.

The July 14 course, which has been sanctioned by the Alabama Department of Public Health, will be taught by Christy Mendoza, regional extension agent for Food Safety, Preparation, and Preservation.  There is no fee for the informational session, but the certification session — which starts after the informational session — has a $25 state-mandated fee, and will be collected at the beginning of the certification portion of the class. 

Participants are invited to attend the informational session, and if they feel the law applies to their situation, stay for the certification class. The certification session will last approximately two hours.

Preregistration is required, and class will be filled on a first come basis.  Call the Limestone County Extension Office at 256-232-5510 to preregister for the class.  For information on the Cottage Law, contact Christy Mendoza at 256-547-7936 or 205-217-6495.

— Submitted by the Limestone County Extension Office.