Story provided by Meridian Technology Center
Homemade food producers in Oklahoma can turn their passion into a bigger paycheck with the state’s new Homemade Food Freedom Act.
The Homemade Food Freedom Act gives Oklahomans the ability to sell food products made in their home to retail stores, online and through third-party vendors as long as they do not have time and temperature requirements for product safety. Items that have such regulations can only be sold directly to consumers.
Under the act, homemade food includes “cottage food” items such as baked goods, canned and pickled items, dried foods and candy made using home appliances but not made in an industrial facility or kitchen. Alcoholic beverages, unpasteurized milk, cannabis and marijuana products are not included.
At-home food producers must complete and pass food safety training before making any sales. The act also requires that ingredients be labeled to include the name and phone number of the producer, the physical address where the item was produced, a statement indicating that the product was made in a home kitchen and that it is exempt from government licensing and inspection.
The new act replaces the Home Bakery Act of 2013, giving home bakers the ability to sell baked goods as long as they don’t contain meat products or fresh fruit. While the act was friendly to bakers in that it did not require them to get a food permit, it did limit their sales to less than $20,000 a year. Income on the new Homemade Food Freedom Act is now capped at $75,000 a year. Food permits are still not required.
The Right Recipe for Small Business Success
The Homemade Food Freedom Act helped the state move from one of the most restrictive for home bakers to one of the best in the nation. Anticipated outcomes from the new act include expanded employment opportunities for Oklahoma food entrepreneurs as well as the ability to reach new markets with additional options for sale.
“Changes in this law can mean the difference between someone earning extra income from a hobby and someone building a business,” explained Erica Pereira, a Business Support Specialist in Meridian’s Center for Business Development. “Between Meridian’s monthly Culinary short course offerings, the full-time training program and entrepreneurial assistance services, district residents have support to help them build a home-based business.”
Meridian’s Business and Entrepreneurship Services division is dedicated to empowering entrepreneurs through networking, education, consulting and business incubation services.
Team members offer programs and classes for entrepreneurs, ranging from classroom training to monthly programs to one-on-one consulting. As a crucial part of the district’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, the Business and Entrepreneurship Services team operates Meridian’s Center for Business Development, a business incubator with built-in support services that allow entrepreneurs to focus their efforts on growing their business by providing a full suite of amenities and consultation. The Center provides office and manufacturing space for early-stage startups to help them accelerate through the most challenging phase of building a company. It is one of 29 certified business incubators in the state.
For more information, contact the Business and Entrepreneurial Services team at (405) 377-2220 or toll-free at (888) 607-2509 or visit meridiantech.edu/entrepreneurs. Search upcoming short courses in Culinary Arts and other topics at meridaintech.edu/catalog.