Changes proposed to food cottage law - KALB-TV News Channel 5 & CBS 2

Changes proposed to food cottage law

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ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB News Channel 5)- The Louisiana Food Cottage Law went into effect last summer. It's a law that allows people to make cakes and other baked goods in their homes and legally sell them to the public. As News Channel 5's Rachael Penton found out- one Louisiana lawmaker now wants to make changes to the law that some local business owners say would do more harm than good.

Last August the Louisiana Cottage Food Law was passed. That new law allowed Carmen Lashney to begin the business she'd always wanted to have- making and selling cakes in her spare time on nights and weekends.

"The response that I have received I didn't expect it at all and I have been booked every week since August when I officially became Patisserie Petunia," says Lashney.

The law allowed at-home bakers like Lashney to sell cakes and cookies from the home legally for the first time under a certain set of rules.

"You have to of course keep your area clean and pet-free and just the basic common knowledge stuff of anybody that would do any kind of food product."

But now proposed changes to the law have been introduced to the State Legislature in House Bill 775. At first glance it seems to beneficial, with new additions to what you can sell.

"They have added a few other things for it to fall under like some honey and other jellies and stuff. They've raised the earning cap to $50,000 which currently it's $20,000."

But Lashney says that if you take a closer there are a few things in the bill that will do more harm than good. In addition to tougher inspections and certifications she'll have to label her products.

"Whenever I sell a cake I'll have to list all of the ingredients like if you were buying it in a store."

But the biggest issue? All recipes will have to be sent for food safety testing- a big cost for small businesses like Patisserie Petunia.

"Recipe testing is about 150 dollars per recipe and it can take up to 9 months for that to happen. so in the meantime we can't do anything we can't sell anything. We can't bake anything until all of these things are approved."

That's why cottage food businesses across the state are trying to take a stand.

"We want everyone to contact their state representatives and ask them to vote against House Bill 775."

Lashney says that while she makes a little money, her cake making business is more of a hobby. A hobby and a dream that the current Louisiana Food Cottage Law has allowed her to pursue.

"If this passes I will have to close shop."

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