New Jersey Home Bakers Can Start Selling Their Goodies Legally

Source: Asbury Park Press

It’s finally official: New Jersey home bakers can legally sell their cookies, cakes, pies and more, now that the Department of Health has updated their website with the “Cottage Food Permit” application.

The update, which was not expected to occur until late October, allows bakers to purchase two-year permits at a cost of $100 to legally sell their baked goods from home, at farmers markets or at events, with a yearly income maximum of $50,000. Online advertising also will be permitted.

Rob Peccola of the Virginia-based Institute for Justice, which represents the New Jersey Home Bakers Association, was happily surprised with the quick progress.

“I am thrilled beyond description that our clients can apply for a license to bake legally,” he said. “This was a rare, faster-than-expected development for our clients.”

This has been quite a week for home bakers. On Monday, the New Jersey Office of Administrative Law published the ruling that was reviewed in July by the state’s Public Health Council, officially legalizing homemade baked goods sales.

“I’m ecstatic that the application for the permits can begin and cannot wait to see New Jersey Home Bakers thriving,” said Martha Rabello, co-founder of the New Jersey Home Bakers Association.

“It’s been six years of our lives that we have tabled at fairs, spoken to so many people, sent so many emails,” Rabello said Monday.

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Peccola said the ruling will benefit [home bakers] tremendously.”They’re able to make extra money to support their families,” he said Monday. “These bakers were affected by the pandemic’s economic consequences, just like everyone else, so being able to bake from home for profit could be a lifeline.”

“We are thrilled that after a decade-long battle, New Jersey bakers are able to sell their baked goods to support their families,” Peccola added. “It’s been a really long journey and it’s an awesome thing that [through their advocacy], these folks we represent were able to get such a great result.”

The ruling in July was sparked by the Department of Health’s April 2020 publishing of a proposed rule to change the New Jersey Food Code, which required commercial kitchen use for the sale of baked goods. Those caught profiting from homemade baked good sales potentially faced cease and desist orders and fines.

Before that, Rabello, Liz Cibotariu of Jackson, Heather Russinko of Franklin Borough and the New Jersey Home Bakers Association had filed a lawsuit in 2017 against the state Department of Health in an effort to legalize home baking.

Until this week, New Jersey was the only state in the country where selling homemade cakes, cookies, cake pops and more was illegal.

Bakers caught selling even one homemade baked good faced up to $1,000 in fines. New Jersey required home bakers to register as a “retail food establishment” before selling a single cookie. This required renting or building a commercial-grade kitchen, paying multiple fees and abiding by hundreds of pages of regulations meant for large commercial establishments.

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