Cottage food law

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Since the Texas Legislature passed a law—commonly referred to as the cottage food law—in 2011 that made it legal to sell certain baked goods made in the home, the law has inspired bakers in Cypress.

Weeks after the legislation was approved, Cypress resident Christina Dudley launched her home-based business, Pretty Pops, and has since grown her business locally.

“People had been doing this for decades, but [the Legislature]just made it legal to sell things that don’t require refrigeration,” Dudley said. “There’s no consistent regulatory agency coming to a person’s home because if you’re following the law, foods we are allowed to sell are not potentially hazardous.”

Jenna Crawford, owner of Sinfully Sweet, launched her custom cake business in 2013 after following news on the cottage food law.

“When it passed I thought, ‘OK, this is possible for me to do now,’” she said. “It opens more avenues for you to run a business. If it’s recognized as legal, it’s not just someone who bakes cakes for their friends; it’s an actual business and your livelihood.”

Although they are not regulated by the health department, business owners who operate under the cottage food law are required to take a class to learn basic sanitation guidelines. However these businesses still cannot sell their products at most public events.

“I would like to see cottage food operators be able to sell at big events,” Dudley said. “We can’t even sample our foods, so I think that would open up a bigger market. It only helps local businesses and the economy when people buy locally.”

Pretty Pops

Christina Dudley’s business, Pretty Pops, offers a variety of flavors of cake balls and pops. (via Courtesy Christina Dudley)

Pretty Pops

Christina Dudley makes a variety of custom cake balls and pops through Pretty Pops.

“I love food and baking,” Dudley said. “I spend six hours in the kitchen on Saturdays and I love it.”

Customers can pick up their orders from Dudley’s house, but she said most prefer to have them delivered since it is free for orders that are more than $30.

“Under the law it has to be a face-to-face transaction,” Dudley said. “The spirit of the law is that the customer sees who the person is who created the product.”

Most of her business comes from women hosting various parties, such as baby showers, bridal showers, wedding showers, children’s birthday parties and weddings.

For more information on the business, visit
www.facebook.com/prettypops

Sinfully Sweet

Jenna Crawford spends hours on custom cakes she sells through Sinfully Sweet. (via Courtesy Jenna Crawford)

Sinfully Sweet

Jenna Crawford specializes in custom, made-to-order cakes through her home-based business, Sinfully Sweet. She launched the business in early 2013, but her love for baking and cakes began years beforehand.

“I’ve always loved looking at cakes and all the different ways you can make a piece of art that is edible,” she said. “The art I create is not something you can walk into a grocery store and get.”

“I love going out of the box and designing something for the event, rather than a catalogue,” she said.

Crawford makes cakes for any type of occasion, including birthday parties and weddings. All of her creations take hours to put together—the most time-intensive of which took almost 18 hours.

For more information on the business, visit www.facebook.com/SinfullySweetCCC.

Where can items be sold?

  • At home
  • A farmers market
  • A farm stand
  • A municipal, county or nonprofit fair, festival or event

Operating under the cottage food law

  1. Read and understand the cottage food law rules
  2. Pick a product to sell
  3. Develop a business plan
  4. Obtain a Texas Food Handler’s License
  5. Pick a business name and register it as a DBA with the county
  6. Open a business bank account
  7. Start a website or Facebook page
  8. Create the legally required food labels
  9. Begin selling products

View a PDF of this here.

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Marie Leonard
Marie came to Community Impact Newspaper in June 2011 after starting her career at a daily newspaper in East Texas. She worked as a reporter and editor for the Cy-Fair edition for nearly 5 years covering Harris County, Cy-Fair ISD, and local development and transportation news. She then moved to The Woodlands edition and covered local politics and development news in the master-planned community before being promoted to managing editor for the South Houston editions in July 2017.
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