SAN ANTONIO – Those interested in starting their own cottage food business should attend the “Cooking Up a Cottage Food Business” program from 9-11 a.m. Oct 14, said the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service family and consumer sciences agent for Bexar County.
Dr. Connie Sheppard said the program, which includes a food handlers course for cottage food business owners, will be held in Suite 208 of the AgriLife Extension office, located in the Conroy Square office complex at 3355 Cherry Ridge Drive in northwest San Antonio.
“The cottage food act was amended last September to allow specific foods to be prepared and sold from unlicensed residential kitchens,” Sheppard said. “Food can be sold from the home, a farmers market, a farm stand or at a fair, festival or event sponsored by a municipality, county or non-profit organization.”
She said the revised law requires that all cottage-business foods have labels that include the name and address of the operation, the product, possible allergens and a statement saying the food was not prepared in a kitchen inspected by the Department of State Health Services or a local health department.
As of Jan.1, individuals who operate a cottage food business in Texas are also required to complete a food-handler course accredited under the Health and Safety Code of the Texas Department of State Health Services, Sheppard said.
She also said the Oct. 14 program will begin with a presentation designed to help participants understand the new Cottage Food Law, learn what foods can and can’t be sold as cottage foods, and learn how to correctly label their foods. The program will end with an accredited cottage food handlers course that meets the new requirements.
The cost for the entire program is $20.
“The food-handlers course will provide basic food safety training and an understanding of good food safety practices that will help cottage food business owners produce a safe product for the consumer,” she said. “The class is tailored to cover the food safety aspects of the cottage food laws in Texas.”
Sheppard said upon completion of the program participants will be able to print a food-handlers card that will be valid for two years and can be verified online.
“However, the cost of the course does not cover any fees that may be associated with the person’s local health department,” she explained.
For more information and to register, contact Sheppard at the AgriLife Extension office for Bexar County 210-467-6575.