State of Oklahoma

Posted: Jan 17, 2020 1:49 PMUpdated: Jan 17, 2020 1:57 PM

Rep. Derrel Fincher Files Homemade Food Act

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Garrett Giles

District 11 State Representative Derrel Fincher of Bartlesville has filed legislation creating the Homemade Food Act to be considered in the upcoming legislative session.

House Bill 3420 would replace the Home Baking Act and would expand venues and conditions in which homemade foods can be sold. Currently, producers of homemade food products must sell the food themselves, either through direct delivery or at a farmers market or cooperative.

In a statement, Rep. Fincher said, “This bill would allow homemade food products to be sold in small amounts by someone other than the producer as long as the vendor personally knows the producer of the food. This eases some of the regulation for our small, home bakers without compromising food safety for the public.”

The change in the past to allow home baked goods to be sold by the producer to the public was based on the idea that people who buy home baked goods could meet the person who made them. The new bill builds on that concept by allowing the public to also buy from a seller who personally knows the person who made the food.

Fincher said he decided to run the legislation to fix problems expressed to him by constituents. In the process of researching this, he discovered it was a statewide issue.

Ash Winfield, co-owner with his wife, Carrie Beth, of Farm Hippie Farmers Market in Collinsville, explained they registered their business with the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture last summer and opened in August, selling products from dozens of vendors throughout the area. He said while they follow the farmer’s market format of selling products from local growers and artisans, they decided to locate their business inside a store front so they could operate year-round.

In October, they were visited by the Department of Health and told they would be required to operate as a retail store, not as a farmers market as they did not fit the traditional format of a farmers market and would not be able to sell homemade foods from other producers in this format.

Winfield said, “More than 20 vendors had to pull their products from our shelves. This impacted them financially as well us. Just because a business may be home-based does not quantify them as a risk. These are good, healthy products. Updating this law would be a win for these small home-based businesses.”

Winfield said home bakers who wish to sell their products have to make sure their products are properly packaged and labeled, which includes a disclosure that the product is homemade.

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