Tuesday, February 18, 2020

State Senate committee approves 'Homemade Food Freedom Act'

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Senate committee approves Homemade Food Freedom Act

Social media has allowed at-home food business owners to reach larger numbers of potential customers, but Oklahoma’s strict regulations have kept many from growing and succeeding.  Sen. Adam Pugh, R-Edmond, wants to remove unnecessary regulations for these small business owners with his Senate Bill 1714, the Homemade Food Freedom Act, which passed unanimously Monday out of the Senate Agriculture and Wildlife Committee.

“Our economy moves quickly.  What worked for businesses ten to twenty years ago doesn’t work today.  Oklahoma must grow and change with the trends or our small business owners will suffer,” Pugh said. “One way we can help is by lifting the restrictions that are hurting those who sell food out of their homes. My mom started with a home bakery, and it was a major jump to go from running her kitchen to a retail location. Just because a business is thriving doesn’t necessarily mean the owner is ready for a retail location. This bill will allow them to decide when they feel comfortable moving from their home to a store.”

SB 1714 removes the arbitrary $20,000 annual gross sales limit placed on formerly known home food establishments. It also requires that ingredients be labeled and state that the product was made in a home kitchen.

“If signed into law, this bill will help our farmers, ranchers, small food business owners and others be able to bring their fresh nutritious food to the marketplace,” Pugh said.  “Oklahoma provides food for people around the world, but we have some of the most restrictive laws when it comes to providing it for our citizens. This will allow them to share their culinary talents and passion for homemade food with fresh ingredients with more people.”

SB 1714 regulates products and classifies them as either potentially hazardous or non-potentially hazardous food. The sale of non-potentially and potentially hazardous food is exempted from licensing requirements promulgated by the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food, and Forestry. The measure requires potentially hazardous food to be affixed with a specific label. Homemade products may not contain any meat. The Department would still be allowed to investigate any reported foodborne illness.

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