What Does HB 468 Do?
- Allows the Department for Public Health to update and regulate permissible items to home-based processors and home based micro-processors as new innovations and food safety issues surface.
- Redefines Home-based Processor as (changes in bold) “a person who in his or her home, produces or processes non-potentially hazardous foods, including but not limited to dried herbs, spices, nuts, candy, dried grains, whole fruit and vegetables, mixed-greens, jams, jellies, sweet sorghum syrup, preserves, fruit butter, bread, fruit pies, cakes, or cookies;
- Redefines Home-based Microprocessor as (changes in bold) “a farmer who, in the farmer’s home or certified or permitted kitchen, produces or processes foods, including but not limited to acid foods, formulated acid food products, acidified food products, or low-acid canned foods, and who has a net income of less than thirty-five thousand dollars ($35,000) annually from the sale of the product;
- Requires the Cabinet for Health and Family Services to develop and implement a registration system for home-based processors;
- Implements a $60,000 annual gross income limit for both home-based processors and home-based microprocessors.
How Did We Get Here?
- 2003: CFA was instrumental in passing Kentucky’s original cottage foods law, House Bill 391, that allowed home-processing, micro-processing, and in-state certification.
- Spring 2018: House Bill 263 became law. Its main goal was to allow home bakers to become homebased processors. CFA listened to producers, farmers market managers, and homebased processors and learned that HB 263 included several unintended negative consequences for farmers.
- October 2018: CFA attended the public hearing and submitted public comments on the regulation accompanying HB 263.
- November 2018: CFA released a “What’s Your Issue” survey and 47% of respondents listed cottage foods as a pressing farm issue.
- February 2019: CFA had discussions with Senator Hornback and Representative Heath to devise a legislative solution. The Cabinet for Health and Family Services Department of Public Health (CHFS DPH), Kentucky Department of Agriculture (KDA), University of Kentucky
Extension, Farm Bureau, and CFA partner farmers markets and producers were part of these conversations. Rep. Heath introduced House Bill 468, and CFA members met with 6 legislators in Frankfort and asked them to support the bill.
- March 2019: HB 468 passed 96-1 out of the House and 36-0 out of the Senate and became law.
The passage of HB 263 did the following:
- Eliminated the application/registration process for Home-Based-Processing, thereby allowing anyone *with access to any water source* to sell “produce[d] or process[ed] whole fruit and vegetables, mixed-greens, jams, jellies, sweet sorghum syrup, preserves, fruit butter, bread, fruit pies, cakes, or cookies”.
- Consequence determined by CFA: food safety is limited
- Removed the requirement that allowed only farmers to apply for said certification
- Consequence determined by CFA: anyone can sell the permitted items listed above
- In addition, items that had been previously cleared for sale under the Home-Based Processor certification, specifically maple-syrup sweetened granola, squash pies (ex: pumpkin and cushaw), nut pies, and other vegetable pies are no longer permitted under the revised language of HB 263.
- Consequence determined by CFA: Farmers and CFA members that rely on value added income streams to keep their operations profitable and/or afloat are now more limited in the scope of products they can sell outside of a certified kitchen.
- The following items were NEVER listed as permitted by HB 391(the original Home-Based-Processing statute), BUT were listed as permissible by registered Home-Based Processors in the KDA Farmers Market Handbook: Dried herbs, spices, nuts, or candy.
- Department of Public Health’s (DPH) enforcement of the HB 391: Eggs harvested on the farm cannot be used in home-based processor product (reasoning being cited: food safety). As it stands, farms (with appropriate licensing) may sell their eggs to restaurants, but may not use those eggs to make home-based processed goods to sell to the public.
CFA’s proposed changes to HB 263:
- ACCOMPLISHED–Include language to require home-based processors to register and be traceable for accountability, food-safety, epidemiological standards.
- ACCOMPLISHED–Provide language that will allow the following items to be sold by home-based processors: Dried herbs, spices, nuts, or candy.
- Include language to require proof of water safety for home-based processors.
- Ask about the laws that limit home grown eggs to be used in home-based processor goods, but are permitted for sale to restaurants.
Community Farm Alliance will continue working with Representative Heath, Senator Hornback, and stakeholders during the 2019 interim session to fine-tune our cottage foods laws.