CHEYENNE - New rules adopted by the Governor's Food Safety Council will relax requirements for operation of cottage food businesses in the state.
The council on Tuesday adopted the new rules in response to a bill that passed the Legislature this winter.
Current rules require cottage food business operators to prepare foods in a commercial, licensed and inspected kitchens. Those requirements will be dropped after the new law goes into effect July 1.
Rep. Sue Wallis, R-Recluse, the main sponsor of the bill that passed this year, said Tuesday that she introduced the bill to address a long-standing exemption that has allowed people to make nonhazardous foods in home kitchens for sale at functions, including nonprofit and religious organizations.
Wallis said the Department of Agriculture had interpreted the exemption narrowly to apply only to nonprofit organizations.
The new law and the proposed rules enacted this week will allow people who prepare food in their home kitchens to sell nonhazardous foods at farmers markets, roadside stands, or county fairs, bazaars and other organized events. The department will not require inspection or licensing of the kitchens.
Nonhazardous foods allowed to be prepared in a cottage food business include baked goods such as breads, cookies, cakes, double-crusted pies, jams and jellies.
"Open-face pies may be potentially dangerous," the proposed rules say. Food is subject to sampling to determine if it is "misbranded, adulterated or potentially hazardous."
Dean Finkenbinder, manager of consumer health services for the Department of Agriculture and a council member, said Tuesday that the department plans to sample only for total coliform contamination.
The rules also encourage the cottage business people to take the department's food safety training course.
The rules also require cottage food business products to be labeled with the words "Home Produced Without Inspection" in bold, 12-point type on the display panel. It will also be required to list ingredients when the food is made from more than two ingredients as well as to list the name of each major food allergen and the date the food was produced.
The department will hold a public comment period later on the rules.