The Texas Baker's Bill is getting closer to being useful to bakers.
Late last week, news circulated about new language for the Texas Food Cottage Law, which passed last year and allows home bakers to legally sell their goods with a few certain conditions. After the law was passed, the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) had the job of establishing a set of guidelines for labels on home baked goods, and wrote a set of rules that many Texas home bakers felt were heavy-handed and in conflict with the original intent of the law. The rules -- weight of each product, a complete list of ingredients in descending order and full allergen disclaimers -- would have been difficult for home bakers with limited resources.
Bakers rallied. In the end, the DSHS had the choice to either accept the new guidelines as they were written in committee or revise them based on public input.
On Thursday Lora Ann Gerson, who is a staffer in Senator Kirk Watson's office, forwarded an email to a cottage food law supporter Kara Perry, with details on the new revised language. And for the most part, the bakers are happy with them.
Kelley Masters has been a major driving force behind this movement and runs a Facebook page, Texas Baker's Bill, that serves as a hub of information for the law.
"I'm satisfied with the new proposed rules," Masters wrote in an email. "In my opinion, they are a fair compromise that serves the public interest."
The proposed language simplifies the labeling process. Per the email from Senator Watson's office, which was forwarded from Olivia Walker with the DSHS, labels will need to include the address of the food production operation, the common or usual name of the product, lists of any major food allergens, and a statement that the item was made in a home kitchen.
"The only two additions to the language in the statute are the common name of the food item, which is easy to comply with, and the list of major allergens," Masters wrote. "Because my son has a food allergy, I can clearly see the value in this kind of declaration on the label. It does serve the public's health to have this declaration."
Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.