Home bakers are one step closer to making dough – in more ways than one.
The state Senate on has unanimously passed a bill that would allow the sale of home-baked goods created in residential kitchens.
“Bakers working in their own kitchens can prepare sweet treats for sale at fundraisers, but they can’t sell their cookies and cakes for profit,” says bill co-sponsor Sen. Kip Bateman. “There’s no reason to prevent them from offering their goods to local consumers. This bill addresses a long-outdated statute and allows home bakers to earn some extra money for their baking talents to help pay New Jersey’s notoriously high taxes.”
“Dedicated bakers who love what they are doing take great pride in the quality of their products and make food safety a priority,” said Bateman, who first introduced similar legislation in 2009. “Under this bill mandates protections to ensure the public’s health and wellness.”
The bill requires the health commissioner to produce a list of agencies to issue food service handler certification for bakers.
“It’s time we make New Jersey more hospitable to state residents who have mastered the art and science of baking and share the entrepreneurial spirit. They aren’t looking to get rich. They just want to make their bread, cakes and pies, pay for their expenses and gear, and keep a little profit in their pocket,” Bateman said.
“Baked goods” are defined by the legislation as ready-to-eat baked items prepared in a private kitchen that do not require further cooking or refrigeration for food safety.
The bill caps the income from home-baked goods at $50,000 a year. The baked goods can be offered for sale at the baker’s home, a customer’s home, a farmer’s market, farm stand, a fair or community event. The baked goods cannot be sold over the internet, wholesale or to a commercial store for resale.
The bill also restricts certain items than cannot be sold by home bakers, including any food requiring refrigeration, homemade buttercream or cream cheese frosting, fruit breads, vegetable breads, goods containing alcohol, cream-filled pastries, cream pies and cheesecakes.
The bill also requires home bakers applying for the food handler certification to provide a local board of health access to any other area where the goods are made.
The legislation, also sponsored by Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean Jr. and Sens. Mike Doherty and Gerry Cardinale now goes to the Assembly’s Consumer Affairs Committee.
The bipartisan bill would bring the state more in line with the rest of the country and establish requirements to allow the direct sale of homemade breads, cakes, cookies and other goods. In 2017, the New Jersey Home Bakers Association sued the state Department of Health for not allowing the sale of home-baked goods. The case is scheduled go to trial on Sept. 28 in Superior Court in Mercer County. A judge is expected to rule Aug. 7 on competing motions from both the state and the organization asking the judge to rule in their favor so the case doesn’t go to trial.