New Jersey is the only state in the country that does not allow for the sale of any food cooked outside of commercial kitchens. Legislation (A-4580) allowing for the sale of home-baked goods cleared the Assembly Consumer Affairs Committee Monday.
“Home-based businesses are growing, thriving, and are even more convenient right now for residents at home. The only group currently not taking part in this industry are the home-bakers. New Jersey is the only state in the nation that continues to ban the selling of home-baked goods. Similar bans in Wisconsin and Minnesota have been overturned in recent years,” said Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker (D- Somerset, Mercer, Middlesex, Hunterdon). “Now it is time to allow our residents who want to start a business or make a little extra money with their homemade goods to become certified food handlers and register with the Department of Health. Let them bake!“
The bill establishes requirements for the sale of home-baked goods that do not require further cooking or refrigeration for food safety and are not “potentially hazardous food.” Baked goods may not be sold or offered for sale except at the home baker’s home, a consumer’s home, a farmer’s market, a farm stand, or a county, municipal, or nonprofit fair, festival, or event; the bill prohibits selling or offering for sale home-baked goods over the Internet, wholesale, or to a commercial retailer for resale.
“Many popular bakery businesses were started in the home kitchen and discovered at bake sales,” said Assemblywoman Angela McKnight (D-Hudson). “This is an antiquated rule with no place in these times of creative entrepreneurship, where many are building businesses and working from home. Much has changed in regards to proper kitchen equipment and safe food preparation in the home. A baker should be able to sell and market their homemade products just like the others with home-based businesses.”
The gross income generated by the home baker from the sale of baked goods may not exceed $50,000 per year. The home baker and any person assisting the home baker must possess a current, valid food handler’s certificate issued by the Department of Health (DOH), which is to be on display at the point of sale.
Finally, the bill requires the labeling of any potential food allergens as well as the baker’s certification number to be visible on all goods offered for sale.
The ban on home-baked goods is currently being challenged in the state courts through a 2017 lawsuit by the New Jersey Home Bakers Association who claim that the ban is unreasonably restricting their member’s ability to make additional income through their baked goods.
The measure will now go to the Speaker for further consideration.