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Oregon Legislature Passes Home Baking Bill

Starting in 2016, home-baked goods will be easier for individuals to produce for sale from their home kitchens, with legislation newly passed in Oregon. Credit: Chris Thomas.
Starting in 2016, home-baked goods will be easier for individuals to produce for sale from their home kitchens, with legislation newly passed in Oregon. Credit: Chris Thomas.
June 10, 2015

LAKEVIEW, Ore. - People with a knack for baking and neighbors who want to pay them to do it are getting a boost from the Oregon Legislature with the passage of the Home Baking Bill.

In such rural spots as Lake County, allowing people to sell baked goods from their home kitchens comes just in time to solve a big dilemma. There's only one supermarket in the whole county, and the commercial bread company that delivers there decided to drop service to all other outlying mom-and-pop stores.

LuAnn Anderson, a teacher and caterer, said she and other home bakers are ready to step up and fill the local demand - with products that are fresher.

"This really opens it up and allows us to produce a service in our own community that is really helpful," she said, "and it also allows us to go to the farmers' market here in Lakeview to sell fresh-made baked goods. "

The new state law, Senate Bill 320, applies only to people working in home kitchens who make baked goods and candies, don't sell them online and earn less than $20,000 a year in sales. It requires home bakers and their helpers to pass a food-handler's training course, meet basic health and safety standards and properly label the products.

After Gov. Kate Brown signs it, the law goes into effect next year.

Oregonians already are allowed to use domestic kitchens to produce some types of food for sale - but they must pay to be licensed and undergo health inspections. Home bakers told lawmakers their small, local output doesn't justify that cost or complexity.

Anneliese Koehler, a public-policy advocate for Oregon Food Bank, said her organization supports the legislation to help to improve access to fresh foods and, particularly in rural areas, to encourage small business.

"What this allows you to do is produce goods in your home kitchen," she said. "And it's direct sales only - I mean, we really see this as neighbors feeding neighbors, creating really self-sufficient communities."

During the rest of the year, Koehler said, Oregon Food Bank and the state Agriculture Department will focus on getting more entrepreneurs familiar with the changes. Oregon joins more than 40 other states that have some version of a home-baking law.

Details of the bill are online at olis.leg.state.or.us.

Chris Thomas, Public News Service - OR