Cottage food safety training is March 19

FROM STAFF REPORTS

A new Alabama cottage food law, which went into effect June 1, 2014, allows anyone to sell nonhazardous foods made in the home directly to consumers.

Nonhazardous foods specified by the new law include cakes, cookies, dried herbs, jams and jellies.

At Auburn University, Dr. Jean Weese, a food safety specialist who heads the Alabama Cooperative Extension System’s food safety team, said while these foods are not subject to inspection by the local public health department, the individuals preparing these foods are required to attend a food safety course.

“This food safety course, which is required by the new cottage food law, teaches basic food safety steps with the goal of ensuring that the food sold to friends and neighbors is as safe as possible,” Weese said.

The food safety training course will be tailored to help cottage food entrepreneurs comply with this act.

The cottage food law requires entrepreneurs to attend this prescribed safety course every 5 years. The cost of each course will be $25.

The ServSafe certification that it is also taught by Alabama Cooperative Extension System can also be used to comply with the new law, Weese said.

Under the new cottage food law, home-prepared food cannot be sold to restaurants, novelty shops, grocery stores or over the Internet.

Likewise, the law prohibits certain foods from being sold directly to consumers, including baked goods with ingredients that require refrigeration. These include custard pies, Danish with creamed fillings and cakes with whipped toppings.

Products that are also prohibited under the law include juices from fruits and vegetables, milk products, soft and hard cheeses, pickles, barbecue sauces, canned fruits and vegetables, garlic in oil and meats in any form. This and many more facts will be explained in the class.

A class will be offered at the Shelby County Extension Office on March 19 from 4-6 p.m. For more information and to preregister, call the Shelby County Extension Office at 669-6763 or call Angela Treadaway, the Regional Extension Agent in Food Safety who will be teaching it, at 410-3696.