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Come and Bake It

Local movement fights for cottage food bill.

Appearing before Congress after a meat recall in 2008, Salatin testified: "You can't regulate integrity...It is not a lack of government oversight that created this opaqueness, but rather the cozy government-industrial fraternity that criminalized neighborhood abattoirs and cottage-based food processing. Ultimately, you cannot have a transparent food system without a production and processing model that reinserts the butcher, baker and candlestick maker into their village."

Consumers are eager to get away from the high-fructose corn syrup, trans fats, chemicals and preservatives that modern-day muckrakers like Michael Pollan and Eric Schlosser have warned them about. And as a result, more and more organic, natural and artisan food products are being sold at farmers' markets and small farms. But when the local food movement started diverting a significant amount of business away from grocery stores, big agriculture and major food producers, it became a target. And so Big Food has turned the public debate about food safety on its head — they are using food-safety laws to put small local competitors out of business.

Last summer, citing pressure from legislators, health authorities across the state of Texas began a crackdown. In July, Texas Department of State Health Services officials launched a statewide sting operation that cited 355 food companies with possible violations. Many of the infractions defied logic. Several producers, including Angelo's Barbecue in Fort Worth, were fined for not having manufacturing licenses, despite the fact that they don't manufacture anything — their products are private-labeled by other companies.

Janice Schindeler makes pimento cheese in a certified kitchen...
Photos by Chris Curry
Janice Schindeler makes pimento cheese in a certified kitchen...
...but thinks it's time for a Texas cottage food bill.
Photos by Chris Curry
...but thinks it's time for a Texas cottage food bill.

Details

• Check out a slideshow of sugar processing done the old-fashioned way at Henderson's Heritage Festival.

• See video of artisan cooks talking about the proposed cottage food bill.

Hank's Ice Cream in Houston was told it needed a state manufacturing license and state inspections, even though its production kitchen is certified by the City of Houston health department. On the local level, Katz Coffee was ordered by the city to install a certified kitchen with a three-compartment sink and a grease trap. The coffee roaster doesn't have anything to wash and doesn't produce any grease.

Obviously, this kind of legal nit-picking has little or nothing to do with the public safety.
_____________________

At a Go Texan kickoff breakfast at Lola's in Houston last September, Texas Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples was eating fried eggs and talking about East Texas food. "I used to eat at a place called Billy Burgers in Neches when I was a state rep," he said. "They served homemade pies from a lady that lived nearby. The health department doesn't allow that anymore. That's a great example of the kind of overregulation that makes it difficult for people to make a living," Staples said.

Senator John Whitmire (D-Houston), who was also sitting at the table, agreed. When asked if they would support a bill that would allow home cooks to sell their products at farmers' markets and roadside stands, both Staples and Whitmire agreed that this was an excellent idea. "I am becoming more of a libertarian every day," Whitmire said. We shall soon see if such breakfast-table common sense can survive in the 2011 session of the Texas Legislature.

"Before the legislative session started, I convened a 'Farm to Table' Town Hall meeting at the East Side Show Room in Austin," state legislator Eddie Rodriguez (D-Austin) wrote me in an e-mail.  "I wanted to know from local farmers and chefs what the state could do to help the local food movement in Texas.  By and large it wasn't help they were seeking from government, but for government to get out of their way."

The Texas Cottage Food Bill, HB 1139, was one of several bills that Rodriguez proposed to help the local food movement. "Of course, we have to ensure the safety of consumers, but this must be done without raising the barrier to market entry so high as to discourage new enterprises. Small producers and urban farms get into this business because they care about the food chain.  Consistently the safety problems that arise come from large-scale 'Big Food' factories and not the small family operations we want to help."

Since 2009, the number of states with cottage food laws has doubled. There are currently 11 states with such laws in place and six with bills under consideration. The first was passed by Oregon more than 20 years ago. Under Oregon regulations, home kitchens are inspected and approved by the same health authorities who certify restaurant and commercial kitchens. The standards are strict and surprise visits are part of the law.

Elizabeth Montes, the owner of Sagahuan Chocolates, is one of many Oregonians who took advantage of the law to start a business at home. "After I graduated from Ecole Chocolat in Canada, I moved to New York," Montes said. "But it cost so much to rent a commercial kitchen, I couldn't work for myself. Then I moved to Oregon and found out about the cottage food law." After several years of making chocolates at home and selling them at farmers' markets, Montes saved enough to open her own brick-and-mortar chocolate shop. She has since been featured in several major food magazines.

Under the most recent cottage food law, enacted in Michigan, home kitchens are exempted from health department regulations if they produce nonhazardous foods such as cakes, cookies, jams and jellies and their volume of business is under $15,000. Although it initially met with resistance from the Michigan Department of Agriculture and established food companies, the cottage food law has become the darling of state government in Lansing after being recognized nationally as an enlightened effort to help small entrepreneurs.

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48 comments
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Tempus
Tempus

Gee. Yet another lovely manifestation of the Fascist States of AmeriKKKa. Brought to you by Refugs who are the bought, paid for, and used toys of Big Ag and the plutocrats who have own and operate our excuse for a 'government.' What's next, outlawing home baking altogether, with scenes a la 'Brazil'? The time is thirty years past--at least-- when our 'government' could be trusted to do anything but screw the poor and toady to the rich; how long will this country of MORONS sit back and take it?

janey
janey

Okay, seriously....germs are everywhere. Food borne illness can occur even in the cleanest kitchen. It is a persons right to decide if they want to live their lives being hyper focused on these things or not, and if a person does not feel comfortable eating something produced in a home kitchen, well guess what, they do not have to because it will be clearly marked on the packaging. The most important thing, in my opinion, is that not every little thing in the world needs to be regulated by our government. What ever happened to personal choice? If a person wants to buy a cake from a home baker why can't they make that choice for themselves? Some people prefer homemade baked goods, and if they are okay with the fact that it wasn't made in a commercial kitchen then they should be able to buy that product! Let the people decide for themselves.

pissed momma
pissed momma

I have ask all the local dining establishments pull this issue immediately from their locations.

As a mother of a child who nearly died from food poisoning, I think this article is as low as it gets. Are your cook out of the house bakers going to carry insurance when it all hits the fan and a child *Literally* poops out his intestines??? Do you expect me to trust the safety of my children's lives simply because the cook says their kitchen is clean?

Your kidding right? They openly admit they break the law. I HIGHLY doubt they give 2 craps about food safety.Do they carry insurance to protect the people who may possibly die because of their disregard for the law?

You've hit a new low.

My son's intestines turned INSIDE OUT- his body PASSED them. A restaurant almost killed my child. Try living with a child with post infectious IBS, Reactive Arthritis and Reiters syndrome. All because *SOMEONE* didn't follow proper food handling (CROSS CONTAMINATION)

I'm curious.... was this an Advertorial? Its beyond a smack in the face to the restaurants who go above and beyond to protect their diners....

BTW- the restaurant who poisoned my son settled for 2.5 million.

Is Betty's back yard bakery prepared for a food borne illness?

guest
guest

There are many pro and cons to this bill. I was in a baking class a couple of years ago where a lady announced that right before the class (30 minutes before leaving for the class) her dog licked the icing off of the cake and she quickly re-iced and decorated it and then sold it to a customer. This obviously is a con to the bill. Maybe if there were some teeth like inspections and required food handling courses it would be a great thing to have. There are many commercial kitchens that are so dirty. I heard of a lady who did catering out of a commercial kitchen. When the health inspector said he was coming she would rent a u-haul and load everything up that would be considered not up to health code standards and the park it somewhere until after the inspection, then bring it all back. Her kitchen was filthy and she did not follow health code practices. Another con. However, on the plus side, I do know baking pirates who's kitchens are impecable and they have no pets or children to compromise their products. They have taken food handling courses for their own interest and should be allowed to produce food from their kitchens. Just because it holds the label certified commercial kitchen does not mean you should eat food from it.

There are those, I have friends from across the state, who have spent the money to have a commercial kitchen attached to the back or side of their house. They have gone legal so they could produce food products without having to leave their houses. So there are ways to become a legal kitchen without breaking the law. If so many are willing to spend the money to have a commercial kitchen put in, why shouldn't everyone. Just think, come holidays you would now have two kitchens to do all the baking in instead of just one and could host the entire family. Great bonding.

sdavis
sdavis

This was a GREAT article. My cupcakes are simple, but soo yummy and the first time someone offered to pay me for my baking I was floored. But, I didn't forget that when my husband was layed off almost a year ago. I sort of made it word of mouth and 'boom'! Families who are busy and moms who don't have the time will pay for the convenience of someone else to do all kinds of things for them, including baking cookies, brownies...It is homemade and can sometimes be a special order of gluten-free items or low sugar items. I don't have plans to open a commercial bakery, I like what I'm doing and I know that I have a great product. It is made in a clean kitchen and I am not hurting anyone. In addition, I don't have to charge a crazy amount of money for what I do because I don't have a commercial bakery. Texas is a great state where food and diversity are a given. Taking tamale's out of the kitchens of so many people who make a little extra at Christmas time is crazy. And jams from the kitchens of those who love to do it, is insane!I bake in the wee hours of the night when my family is sleeping or the early morning after my kids are off at school. I couldn't do that if I had to go to a licensed kitchen. I wouldn't be at home, which is the whole point of doing it there to begin with.Why make something so simple, so much more complicated for people?It is un-Texan!

Jeremyg
Jeremyg

I need those chips with salsa and guacamole cookies!

titianterror
titianterror

I worry when authorities have nothing else to do but write citations for people baking cookies for a bake sale out of their home because their home kitchen isn't up to commercial kitchen standards. Apparently, people who cook and bake for church functions or for their own livelihood have a reputation for lawlessness. Who knew?

I understand the legal ramifications and origins of these types of laws - its what keeps many organizations from being able to accept catered food donations/leftovers to the needy because of possible contamination/allergic reaction/et cetera, but even in those instances, it seems like an example of one overly litigious recipient of a donation trying to make money off of it, and screwing up the system for everyone else.

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Ruby
Ruby

This is crazy!!! I also have small children and own and operate a legal bakery in Deer Park, Texas called The Kake Chick Bakery. I am 1of 2 bakeries in my area that is LEGAL!! This bill is unfair to us moms who work ad pay taxes to be honest business owners!! Don't use your children as an excuse because you don't want to shell out the "dough" to be a legal baker!

Kitchen Incubator
Kitchen Incubator

I applaud Rob on bringing this issue into the limelight. When I developed the plan for Kitchen Incubator, I was certain that the City would be supportive - that they simply did not realize that this was needed or could be done. I provided case studies on similar kitchens from around the country showing how the kitchens work and how they are critical to preserving small-scale food production and entrepreneurship. Instead I was appalled at the level of support that I received. The City officials and programs genuinely seemed to be saying "we want BIG business, not the little guy!"

So, I ventured into the project alone and self-funded our kitchens, building them from the ground up over three years. I am in favor of cottage baker's bills, but we try to help everyone comply with legislation by hosting workshops like our Food Business Boot Camp. Renting our kitchens is not cost prohibitive, and in fact, costs much less than it would to outfit a home kitchen with large scale production equipment or storage for the final product. Contrary to what it may seem, $1M in liability insurance is incredibly affordable, about on par with your auto policy, and is in the best interest of the person selling the product because it protects them in the end.

In short, people should be able to sell home-cooked food that is low risk such as preserves and baked goods and they will always continue to do so under the radar of the Health Department. Anyone who wants to start a legitimate business will need a commercial equipment regardless, even if just for the equipment. What would truly help is to change the way the Health Department places all food operations under one umbrella, particularly regarding grease traps. Just as there are two tiers of licenses for mobile food units, there should be tiers for Food Establishments. A chocolatier or coffee roaster should not have to have a grease trap. It is always easier to just sign a petition and create a new law then it is to truly analyze and re-craft our existing legislation, which is why this Country is in such an over-legislated mess in the first place.

Sincerely,Lucrece Borregowww.kitchenincubator.com

Just another baker
Just another baker

What good is it to create cottage food laws when the people have no place to sell their goods? 'Farmer's Markets' in Houston have been taken over entirely by the Urban Harvest monopoly and are run almost like a mafia - favoritism, mixed policies, ridiculous application processes that apply the 'rules' when they want to but often overlook them.

I've found a commercial kitchen that is clean and affordable and honestly, it would cost me a lot more to buy that equipment for my home than it ever would to rent at Kitchen Incubator downtown. I could never afford that equipment even if I was allowed to bake in my home kitchen! What I cannot find is a legitimate place to sell my goods. I thought the markets would be supportive but they don't want diversity. Instead they say "well, we already have one bread vendor and they get ALL the markets." Take a look at Farmer's Markets around the world - there can be plenty of vendors of one type of product!

Reforming the Farmer's Markets is an easy way to encourage small food producers that doesn't require changing our laws. We need to START there!

Fatty FatBastard
Fatty FatBastard

I'm tired of folks suing everyone. Let the buyer choose what they want to eat. If I'm fine buying chili or tamales or a hot dog or tacos from a street vendor, why can't I? I do it in New York, and New Orleans, and Chicago. And those are the "hazardous" foods. Not being able to buy a homemade cake or fresh vegetables is even more ridiculous. I will say I ordered a phenominal Cajun fried turkey from Craigslist for Thanksgiving, also. Texas has always been known for its rugged individualism. Why, exactly, is the State trying to take that away?

eurofoodie
eurofoodie

Some health laws seem to be made by people that have no food background, nor an idea about biochemistry and some others seem to have in mind the legal health of the system instead of the health of the consumer. Two examples:- Till a few years back prosciutto was not available in the US because it was uncooked meat. Regardless that prosciuttos oldest recipe is over 2000 years old and that nobody has ever heard in Italy of somebody dying because they ate prosciutto (opposed to people eating tainted meat out of industrial scale slaughterhouse). - The sign in the restrooms of restaurants stating that employees need to wash their hands, does not say the same about guests. So guests can spread their germs but workers can not. To me it seems that the sign wants to prevent anyone to sue the restaurant if they do get sick, so they can say, we tell everyone to wash their hands. So at the end the guest would have to sue the specific worker. Covering their behinds is what I call that.

I am all for labeling and transparency. So if a product has HFCS it should say it. I learned recently that there are about 20 words ("euphemisms") for MSG. If something was produced in a home kitchen it should state that. Then consumers, mostly responsible adults one would presume, that can drive a car, shoot a gun, vote, etc. can take an informed decision for themselves on what they want to eat. The cheaper and possibly unhealthy GenMod soybean Butterfinger or a possibly under unsanitary conditions prepared chocolate bar from their own neighbor.

Kelley Masters
Kelley Masters

Excellent piece. Required reading for anyone who eats. #texasbakersbill

Mike Lavigne
Mike Lavigne

Please contact your legislator and let them know you support HB 1139, the "bake sale bill"We can make a difference, but we need your help! Go here to find out who represents you and to get their contact information: http://www.fyi.legis.state.tx....

Ruthie J M
Ruthie J M

Thanks for such a great and well researched read!

idjit
idjit

Aaaargh! Pirate cakes are the best. I bet the first Texas Sheet Cake was criminal. The health departmet is Santa Anna. Come and take it!

Guest
Guest

Pissed momma, you determine what food goes into your child's mouth. Other parents can decide what food goes into their children's mouths and adults can decide what food goes into their mouths. If you want there never to be any chance that you or your child ever get food poisoning or food-borne illnesses, always prepare your own food.

sdavis
sdavis

I feel for you.

You have a right to be upset.However, as a mom, a cook and a clean person, my baked goods are not hurting anyone and it puts food on the table for my kids. Sometimes I can even pay some bills.

I wish you the best no amount of compensation can take back what happened.

Sceptic
Sceptic

This 'pissed momma' comment stinks of subterfuge. You obviously don't know anything about the bill. Furthermore, you obviously understand nothing about the way food borne illness is passed. You don't get the flu because someone with the flu made your cupcake. There is nothing inherently more dangerous about a home kitchen than a restaurant kitchen and if home kitchens are limited to certain food items, then they are actually much safer. You're not going to get e.coli from a piece of bread, but you might get it from a high dollar restaurant meal.

Your son got sick from a restaurant, not from a cookie. For baked items to even appear cooked, they have to be heated well beyond a temp that would kill listeria, which is the bacteria that health codes are primarily based on.

Home Baker
Home Baker

I'm just reflecting back some of the information you have provided."A restaurant almost killed my child.""Its beyond a smack in the face to the restaurants who go above and beyond to protect their diners..."I'm also very sorry about what happened to your child. That's just horrible. As you have eluded to, there are restaurants who are clean and safe and some that are not. If you walked into a restaurant and saw a layer of crud on the floor, you would likely walk back out and not give them your business. Why not be as safe with home bakers and place your order in person at their home. There will be clean and safe homes and the opposite also-just as there are good and bad in EVERYTHING in life. I personally worked at a bakery, and I am much cleaner in my own home than the owner was! I'm shocked that you have so much hatred for home bakers because of a restaurant experience! How unfair you are! I wonder if you tripped on a rug and busted your mouth open, would you bad-mouth dentists who also have the potential to hurt your mouth?

millie
millie

"The Texas Cottage Food Bill (HB 1139), nicknamed "The Bake Sale Bill," would allow the licensing of home kitchens for production of nonhazardous food products for direct sale to consumers." The foods which the bill would okay for home production are foods that have a very low risk for spoilage. I am very sorry for what happened to your son, but the fact that it happened at a restaurant goes to show that just because a commercial kitchen is licensed does not mean that it is safe....17 other states have Cottage Food laws.These states generally report very few, if any, complaints or incidences of food-borne illness originating from non-potentially hazardous foods prepared in residential kitchens. We are talking about cookies and jam here, not chicken and hamburgers. You should read the details of this bill, it may put your mind at ease. http://www.texascottagefoodlaw...

millie
millie

Ruby, you are of course entitled to have your own opinion, but as a small business owner maybe you shouldn't put stuff on the internet along with your business name that would alienate people....because when I read your comment my first thought was, hmmm...this person seems bitter and kind of mean...I dont think I would want to go to her bakery. You can of course do what you want but I just thought I would tell you my thoughts as a consumer.

sdavis
sdavis

Good for you that you could shell out the 'dough' to be a legal baker. Some of us are doing this for other reasons that are motivated by the fact that we have children and want to be home with them. In addition to raising 'dough' for charity or having 'dough' to survive. I would like to think that if I ever did get a commercial bakery, I would love to support my local baking moms and work with them. Perhaps they have or provide something that I wouldn't as a baker and I could pass costumers to them. Get over it and know that as long as houses have kitchens and people have talent, food that is good is going to make it out of those kitchens and into the mouths that are willing to pay for it!

keystonelonestar
keystonelonestar

My mother isn't a 'legal' bakery. Neither is my grandmother. Or my sisters. But somehow I manage to eat and enjoy their baked goods. And I'm still alive. Baking isn't rocket science, and home baked goods - which are fast disappearing - are much superior to the crap you find in the grocery store. I always forget what Republican means in Texas - more laws and more of a nanny state.

Melinda
Melinda

Ruby as I am from Baytown, I have seen your bakery but I think that you are forgetting that the real issue here for me isn't pirate bakers but the fact that I should be allowed along with other church women to have a bake sale. I wonder if this is going to affect all the "Share our Strength" bake sales that exist to feed the hungry. My sister the culinary mavin who has no interest in opening a bakery at all, should be able to bake her best friend's wedding cake without getting a sitation or being jailed. Especially if they can't make it themselves or afford to pay top dollar for one.

Home Baker
Home Baker

Ruby, this bill would allow moms to work and pay taxes to be honest business owners. Right now, baking out of your own kitchen illegally, you couldn't possibly pay taxes on what you sell. As far as using children as your excuse, I personally choose to raise my children myself instead of letting them spend the majority of their time in a nursery or public school. I bake at most a paid cake a week during the summer and am no threat to a bakery. My business comes from my friends. I refuse to leave my children who God has entrusted into my care and instead do what I am able to do to stretch a dollar including contributing to the household income here and there. I would love to be legal and follow all of the rules. I just am not allowed to.

Guest
Guest

Ruby - glad your business is doing well. I don't think kids are being used as an excuse, but are a choice these folks have made. I take it from your post that there are illegal bakeries in Deer Park. How can you help them become legal, like Kitchen Incubator is doing?

Happy FM Vendor
Happy FM Vendor

Let me guess you are a little resentful because you did not meet all the requirements! So you comment and slander one of the only organizations ‘’Urban Harvest’’ that is trying to help. Over 40 vendors spent the time/patience, effort and money to sell at the farmers markets. ( which your comments can hurt )

Urban Harvest is trying to be part of the solution by helping local farms -key word- have a place to sell their bounty. In support of this they allow other vendors to sell, using 51% of ingredients sourced locally. This in turn helps create demand for local produce and proteins. This aids in the supply and growth of Texas Farms.

What do you source locally, just another baker? Your bleached flour or your tap water?

idjit
idjit

Mr. Walsh, sorry about the last sentence, I didn't take into account your brilliant headline.

pissed momma
pissed momma

Your kidding Sceptic, right?

Let me explain something to you dear....Your concerned about Listeria??? Are you aware that 1 out of 400 cases of food borne illness are from Botulism??? (from canned foods). 30% of those who contract it will die.

Are you aware that the CDC made it very clear (several years ago) that there is no such thing of the *stomach bug*? Its food poisoning dear. Its estimated that less that 5% of food borne illnesses cases each year are reported. Those that are reported are usually brought to the attention of the State Health Department by the hospitals because of the severity of the case.

We're talking about cross contamination from several possible forms of bacteria. You may keep your kitchen clean but are you willing to stake your reputation behind a nasty cook from down the street?

It takes as little as 3 bacterium to infect a healthy person. A single gram of dog feces carries 1.5 million e-coli bacteria in it (have you ever sat beside a child in the hospital dieing from HUS? I have.) You learn to respect cross contamination when you watch a child pass from such a horrible death). WHY should I expect a home baker not to pick up her child (who may be crying after playing the the yard with dog poo) to not touch the bred/ cookies/ etc that I may feed my child??? Why should I trust a home baker??? (and even more so, one who brags about breaking the law)

A restaurant at least has a fall back. If my child becomes sick I can file a complaint and follow through (not saying the health department will always follow through- we're working on that in Texas)

Typhoid Mary was an asymptomatic carrier of Typhoid fever. Do you know what that means??? She infected 16 people before she was finally removed from handling food. She never showed illness. Typhoid fever is one of over 2,400 different strains of Salmonella. S. typhi is one of 4 who must have a human host to incubate and be transmitted.My son had S. typhi. He contracted it from fried chicken (don't get me going on heating temps- I''m all over that). He was a carrier for over a year. myself and my daughter were carrier for 6 months (yet never showed a symptom).

Spend a week in my shoes.......My kids wanted to go to McDonalds to eat-I threw a fit.... I was tired... I wanted to go sit down at this new place in town.

I'll live with this choice forever.I'll fight until the day I die to make it right.

2 days later there wasn't time to even life flight my 3 year old son to a large hospital. He spent his 4th birthday being picked up by my husband and myself so he could pee in a bottle (a result of the 9 inch surgery incision).He has post infectious IBS and Reactive arthritis. He's 11 now.

Do me a favor and don't tell me I don't know how food borne illnesses are passed. I've had a part in changing more laws then you can name and am responsible for putting the restaurant grading system into place in the state he became sick in.My entire life revolves around food borne illness prevention..........

And I'm also Media myself.

pissed momma
pissed momma

Home Baker-

I do not have a hatred for home bakers because of our restaurant experience. I do however have a serious problem with the complete and utter lack and disregard for laws put in place to help prevent food borne illness outbreaks and then bragging about it.

I also have a HUGE problem with a Media Source putting this on the front cover of their paper.

You are correct that not every restaurant is spotless (nor is every house). The difference though is that when a restaurant poisons a person (or worse) the Health Department can become involved. With Betty's backyard bakery there is no way to identify/ isolate and contain the problem.

How am I supposed to know that Betty's house is cleaner then a commercial kitchen? Betty shows up at a Flea Market toting her cookies once a week.... do *I* know Betty? Do I have the right to come over and inspect Betty's kitchen?? How do I know that Betty properly sanitized her preparation surfaces? How do I know that Betty washes her hands after using the restroom? Does Betty use a nail brush? Did Betty pick up her child who has a raging fever while mixing cake batter? Does Betty have her address listed on her food so that the source can be traced should someone become sick from it? Does Betty carry insurance should a child require surgery from her negligence?

Betty brags about breaking the law and shows little concern for the safety of others in her actions.... do you really think I'm going to trust Betty with mine or my child's life???

I'm not sure exactly what your point is with the dentist comment... that really makes no sense.

Cookie
Cookie

If you were truly "Media" yourself, you would know that you job is to inform and educate, not be condescending ("Dear") and brow beat people.

It is absolutely horrible what happened to you child, and as a Mother, I can only imagine the guilt you must feel for choosing to take your child to that particular restaurant, but as "Media" you would also know that what this article is trying to accomplish is to allow home cooks to run a legal kitchen out of their homes. They would still have to pass inspections and meet certain standards. The same standards restaurants are expected to meet. AND they would have to have insurance. They would just merely be cleared to cook and sell out of their home instead of having a seperate business.

I might also add that most of these businesses would be ran by one person, so there would be far less people handling the food than would be so in a restaurant. AND, these people are more likely to keep their kitchens cleaner than any restaurant cook hired off the street because, afterall, this is the same kitchen they feed their own family out of.

Fatty FatBastard
Fatty FatBastard

Jeez. You are the "one in a million" statistic. I guess we should stop flying because a plane could possibly crash also.

pissed momma
pissed momma

I must repeat- my main concern is cross-contamination.

pissed momma
pissed momma

Janice,

Your not a bad guy.

Look at it from my point of view though (and so many others).

I'm sure your kitchen is clean.... your neighbor may very well see that your making money and try to get in on the game though (and their kitchen may be flat out nasty). One outbreak will change not only the lives involved but all of yours as well.

Son's hospital bill was almost 700,000.00. Thankfully insurance paid that bill. What would have happened to a child without insurance though? Hospitals have rules and without insurance would they be willing to take the extra step to help? What about the people who avoid Dr's?

A restaurant must carry insurance by law. A home baker may not have to carry that (and if they do, what limits will be set and how do I know the address on the label is correct? Will I eat the product while I'm at Fairgrounds, etc and throw away the label (each bacteria has an incubation period) Its a bit harder for a brick and mortar restaurant to avoid a visit from the health dept.

From my standpoint....What protection does a home baker offer that makes me trust you (not you specifically). I know commercial kitchens are an extra cost but in my own mind it eliminates MANY possible cross contamination risks. (Kids, pets, lasts nights dinner, etc... your kitchen may be spotles but is Joe Blows down the street?)

Its a matter of life and death (literally). Again- 3 bacterium is all it takes to change a life.

With a restaurant worst case I can fall back on the Health Department and make them show their cards. If the State Health Department can't help then I have leg work to go further...

Janice
Janice

It is not my intention to "knock you"....I just do not understand why home bakers are the bad guys in your eyes when it was a restaurant that caused your son's illness. Maybe all restaurants should be illegal because food-borne illness comes from restaurants too...so if the possibility of food-borne illness is the issue then why can't a home baker sell their food, which is nonhazardous food, when restaurants can sell food which can spoil and can cause sickness?

pissed momma
pissed momma

BTW Janice- we ask the restaurant nicely, several times to take a $350 dollar course on food safety (all part of public record). We agreed to drop suit and walk away.

The offer stood for almost 2 years. The course was to teach restaurants (from a victims standpoint) what a person would suffer through as well as how to prevent it (the $350.00 is donated to a food borne victims assistance group).

You can knock me all you want. At the end of the day- if I can prevent one child from getting sick then I've helped (amazing thing about prevention is you will never know when your task is complete. Each day my now 11 year old son wakes up stiff and sore and I remember why I fight this battle and keep telling his story)

I am a member of Safe Tables our Priority. My son is Trace if you care to look him up on the victims wall.

Sometimes telling our story is the key to prevention.....

pissed momma
pissed momma

Sorry- Janice

Again- email me if you wish.

pissed momma
pissed momma

Millie- if you would life you can email me privately. I'm a little more then passionate about this subject.

Jeffandshannan@yahoo.com.

I'm actually rather proud of how we set up his trust. The entire court case is part of a bankruptcy (from the restaurant) and is public record.

Janice
Janice

What's the name of the restaurant? Your posts seem very fishy...this last one seems like you are trying too hard to prove yourself as legitimate on the comment section of a news article....Why bother explaining all of the details of your son's trust to a bunch of strangers?

pissed momma
pissed momma

Of course not.

His money is being managed by a trust, myself and an attorney. He actually has strict rules set in place on how he can receive the money.... (I did have a blast setting up the rules)

He gets a car when he turns 16. His fund pays half- he has to pay the other half. (no 15 yr old needs a race car- he can have a second hand car just like most of us started with)

If he goes to college his entire tuition is paid ) no matter which college he desires) and he will receive enough to live off of monthly while in school (NEVER enough to a huge beer bash but enough to keep him fed).

If he doesn't go to college, he doesn't get a dime until he turns 36. (and even those payments are spread out ;)

Dividends are paid out every other year as long as he graduates college. No graduate.... no money until he's 36 :)

We've never touched a dime of his blood money..... in fact I pay his insurance and Dr. bills out of our own pocket (I could use the trust for that but he's my child... I would have to pay medical no matter what).

His settlement is part of a bankruptcy on behalf of the restaurant.... its all public record.

Maggie May
Maggie May

And you put all that 2.5 million into a trust fund for your child. You aren't spending any of it yourself, are you?

millie
millie

Do you know any of these things about the people cooking your food in a restaurant? I have seen some less than cleanly restaurant cooks in my day. The only really valid point you are making is the one about insurance. Does anyone know if restaurants in Texas are required to have liability insurance in case they were to get sued? I am not really sure that that is a requirement or not but in any case this law would make it possible for home bakers to obtain business liability insurance to protect themselves financially. Also, as part of the proposed bill products must be labeled as home produced. Label must include ingredients, weight, and address of the cottage food production operation. Have you done any research on this bill in which you are so against?

 
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