SAN ANTONIO – Those interested in starting their own cottage food business should attend the “Cooking Up a Cottage Food Business” program from 6-8 p.m. Dec. 4, said the program’s coordinator.
The program, which includes a food handlers course for cottage food business owners, will be held in Suite 208 of the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension office, located in the Conroy Square office complex, 3355 Cherry Ridge Drive, San Antonio.
“The cottage food act was amended last September to allow specific foods to be prepared and sold from unlicensed residential kitchens,” said Dr. Connie Sheppard, AgriLife Extension agent for family and consumer sciences, Bexar County. “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.”
Sheppard said the revised law requires that all cottage-business foods have labels with the name and address of the operation, the product, possible allergens and a statement that the food was not prepared in a kitchen inspected by the Texas Department of State Health Services or a local health department.
As of the first of this year, individuals who operate a cottage food business in Texas are also required to complete a food-handlers course accredited under the Health and Safety Code of the Texas Department of State Health Services, she said.
She also said the Dec. 4 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 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.