February 01, 2013 Print

Home bakers versus the regulatory-industrial complex

Earlier this week, my wife baked some particularly impressive breads. Of course, she had to post a picture on Facebook, and one friend said she would love to be able to buy it.

Turns out, such transactions are heavily regulated and can easily fall afoul of state laws and regulations. It was only last year that the state’s Cottage Food Law allowed people to sell their own homemade breads, cakes, or jams. And that law explicitly limits success. According to the Department of Agriculture,

Gross sales of cottage food products may not exceed an annual amount of $15,000. If gross sales exceed the maximum annual gross sales amount, the cottage food operation must either obtain a food processing plant license from WSDA under chapter 69.07 RCW or cease operations.

Rep. Jason Overstreet has sponsored a simple bill. HB 1135 would delete from state law the success limit on cottage food producers. He requested that I testify about the bill, and my comments are in the video below.

The hearing also offered an outstanding example of citizen testimony ... and an example, courtesey of Rep. Kristine Lytton, for legislators of what not to do. (It’s a great illustration of what they teach future litigators in law school: Never ask a question unless you already know the answer.) The video shows the exchange, scroll back to see more of the earlier testimony.


Trent England

Executive Vice President

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