Texas home bakery law to face challenges in Valley

Attention all wanna-be bakers.

Don't start mixing that icing just yet for at-home cake and other baked good sales come September 1st, 2011.

That's when a new state law called the Texas Cottage Food Law will allow a home based bakery business that's limited to non potentially hazardous types of baked goods and total income from sales.

State Representative for District 37, Rene Oliveira, said local law will ultimately be the key ingredient.

"Different cities in the Valley and across the state have different ordinances that would still regulate and govern this so it doesn't get out of hand," he explained.

This means if local laws regulate where and how a business can operate, similar rules could be enforced by municipalities for people trying to sell goods to the public from home, according to the state representative.

Some people fear their neighborhoods could be inundated with traffic or have unsightly signs posted on front lawns.

Oliveira said people should not be concerned.

"City laws are still going to prevail."

Gloria Rodriguez owns a specialty cake shop along Harrison Avenue in Harlingen.

Her business is regulated by the health department.

Home based bakeries would not be.

Her advice to potential customers?

"Ask questions," she said. "Who have you baked for|Is there any recommendations?"

Representative Oliveira called the law toothless.

But he believed it will ultimately protect consumers from people who've been illegally selling baked goods without any level of control.

He said the Texas Cottage Food Law created some safeguards.

"There will now be a registry where you can make complaints... You're going to have to put your label on that product... Instead of just buying something blind," he said.

As for whether the recipe will work, will depend on how the law is governed across the Rio Grande Valley.

SUMMARY OF THE TEXAS COTTAGE FOOD LAW: 1) Food must be sold from the person's home, directly to consumer.2) Foods are limited to non-potentially hazardous baked goods like cookies, cakes, breads, pastries, canned jams, dry herb mixes.3) Annual gross income from sales must be $50,000 or less.4) Food items sold must be labeled with the seller's name and address and also must indicate that the kitchen has not been inspected by a health dept.5) Baked goods cannot be sold over the internet, at flea markets, festivals, etc.Click here to read more on the Texas Cottage Food LawClick here to join Ryan Wolf's Facebook Page