Over one hundred people showed up yesterday to hear from Orange County health department officials about the new California Homemade Food Act, which took effect January 1.
Evan Kleiman, who moderated the panel at the Grand Central Art Center in Sana Ana, started off by proclaiming that the health department is not the enemy – despite their reputation in the restaurant industry. Their role is to protect us – consumers and crafters. That statement framed a lively discussion about what’s legal (and not) as a room full of people pondered their future selling food items in the marketplace.
Enforcement of the law is complicated: it involves strict labeling rules (address must be included), home inspections (no pets or kids near the food), and an evolving list of permitted food. Many attendees seemed particularly concerned about the privacy issues surrounding the labeling guidelines. I won’t be surprised if many of these early regulations end up being changed as they start enforcement.
Perhaps the sagest advice came from Master Preserver Ernie Miller: “Just because you are selling your item, doesn’t mean that people have to buy it.”
Check out Shuji Sakai’s recap of the forum and the law.