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'Bakers bill' may expand outside home, passes Texas House

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POSTED: Monday, May 13, 2013 - 7:04pm

UPDATED: Wednesday, September 25, 2013 - 4:51pm

House bill 970, also known as the "Bakers Bill," if enacted, will be an extension to the Cottage Food Law, allowing home cooks to sell baked goods, canned items, and other snacks, from home or locations, like a farmers market, or fair grounds.

The health department has a bit of a issue with this bill.

Brenda Elrod, Director of Environmental Health for North East Texas Public Health District says, "There's no oversight in a home bakery as compared to a commercial bakery. I rub my nose, and handle your cake, that can give you staph, and that's a problem."

Despite the health risks, this bill has passed the House, and has gained a lot of support, more than 7,000 "Likes" on their Facebook page.

They even have special t-shirts piggybacking off the popular grassroots slogan, "Come and Bake It."

David Robbins, Manager at Village bakery in Tyler says, he doesn't see how this bill is fair.

“They are going to be selling the same type of products that we are selling but they don't have to follow the same rules that we follow."

He is also concerned about the sanitation practices, and the fact that this bill states no fees, taxes or regulations to be enforced.

Robbins says, “If they want to start a business they should do the same thing that everyone else does, whenever they want to start a business, they should get funding from a loan and open their own shop."

Elrod from NET Health says, there are a lot of issues with this bill as it is written now, and she warns that if it passes, the consumer should eat at their own risk.

Elrod says, “It's consumer beware, they're going to have to pay attention to what they are getting, and where they are getting it.”

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I haven't stepped into Village Bakery in Tyler since I went in and saw an elderly man behind the counter sneeze all over the food he was handing a customer. Unsanitary, irresponsible, and just downright disgusting! I walked out and haven't gone back! Perhaps David Robbins should worry more about what is going on right under his nose in the establishment he is supposed to be managing and less about what might or might not be going on in a home bakery that has nothing to do with him!

Hey Deb 84, you musta met Tinks, post #10 below !!

Wow, so this is what qualifies as journalism? Please, let me assist you with the follow-up story. Fact: This report does not qualify as journalism. Fact: Home bakers are required to report their earnings and pay taxes on them. Fact: There have been zero (0) reports of food-borne illnesses caused by home bakers since the law went into effect in 2011. Fact: Consumers can inspect the kitchen where they buy their baked goods. Try to do that with any commercial food establishment.

When you report a story, such as this, it damages your credibility. I find this one sided article to be full of here say, misnomers, and lacking input and valid data from the actual home bakers. Please complete your due diligence prior to airing next time. I am sure there are many competent home bakers in your viewing airing who would welcome you into their kitchen to see them work. I will be waiting to see your report on this side of the story.

I have never read something so ignorant and ill-conceived in my life - and I spent 28 years teaching freshman composition, so that is saying something. The other comments cover the inaccuracies and laws. Let me just say that if this is "responsible journalism," we are in trouble. This is irresponsible and inflammatory. You should be fired.

Bottom line this bill will put out more money in the small and big towns over all. Maybe if we are lucky enough it will bring back the " Mom & Pop Stores" of year ago.

What Robbins @ Village bakery doesn't like is his perception of competition. Robbins likes the government to legislate others from doing business. In an open market buyer beware world we assume risk in lieu of costs. I may chose to do business with Robbins because he is inspected and by doing so I expect to pay more. If I buy a pie fro the lady down the street because they taste better and are cheaper than that is my right of choice. My god given right is the freedom to assume risk.

This article states many fears. Each home baker has their own reason for this bill. For the most part I think for many its a hobby they love to do. To get rich i think not. However to have time for family is one. We forget people have been baking for hundreds of years. There maybe risks, however I hope that people are smarter now days, if its bad Don't eat it. The health department fears the loss of control , loss of money in their pocket. Business baker fear the loss of money in their pocket.

This article is shameful. Get your facts and terminology straight. Irresponsible journalism at it's best.

Shame on Mrs. Elrod for spreading untrue (and verifiably untrue at that) rumors and same on the rookie and unethical reporter Nicole Vovell. Does journalism school only teach to report one sides stories with completely inaccurate facts, including medical facts that are easily accessible through many reputable sites? (I've been in the nursing field for the last 15 years and do not need to refer to these sites to know how staph is transmitted). Both of you should hang your heads in shame!

Obviously, being a nurse does not qualifiy you to make an educated response. As a microbiologist, I can assure you Staph aureus can cause foodborn illness. Perhaps you should have checked those reputable sites. How's the CDC for reputable?

Could this be any more whiney? This seems presented from the viewpoint of a jilted 12 year old girl.

Just because a bakery is inspected doesn't mean no one wipes their nose and handles a cake giving someone "staff".
This extension would require a food handlers course, allow an extended list of foods, and allow sales at venues such as farmers markets. It's fair because cfp's have a dollar limit on yearly sales and are limited to nph food. No cheesecake,cream,or pumpkin pies. I'm sure there are still enough elite folks in Tyler for Village bakery to eek out a living. Let me call a wambulance.

I haven't bought anything at the VB since the elderly man working the counter sneezed all over the food he was handing me. I'm rooting for ya, home bakers.

Not only is this article inaccurate and one sided, it is also badly written - Staff are employees, staph is a disease and can't be transmitted as suggested. It is sad that this is what passes for journalism now.

That we should seek permission from the government for this most basic freedom should be proof to all Americans how fascist this nation has become.

If customers are concerned they can go to for a list of food borne pathogens. Why? Because the only illness that could be transmitted by the products we are allowed are Salmonella and/or E. Coli and they are both killed at temperatures of 160 degrees and above. The majority of baked goods are baked at 350 degrees. We are only a threat to their bottom line. Our customers can see our kitchens and how clean they are. How about their customers? Can their customers see the kitchen?

Please, please, please... if you are going to spread rumors, do a little research and get the facts straight. This bill has been in effect since Sept. 1, 2011. Home bakers pay taxes. Staff are employees, Staph is a skin infection that requires person to person contact. Here is a link to the bill amendment that is being proposed along with ACTUAL facts.

Mr. Robbins has been misinformed. The Cottage Foods Producers are not allowed to sell the same items as his establishment. Cottage Foods Operators are strictly limited to only items that are non-potentially hazardous. Additionally, in the two years that this has been legal in Texas, there have been 0 (zero) illnesses attributed to a Cottage Foods Producer. Finally, listed in the current bill that will require Cottage Foods Producers to take a food handler's course.

During the two years since the Home Bakers Bill was passed, not one incidence of food-borne illness has been reported to a Texas health department. Home bakers have their careers on the line with every cake, cookie, or loaf of bread that passes out of their homes, and are probably more motivated to make sure that product is clean and sanitary than the average Joe working in a commercial kitchen. Perhaps you should get both sides of the story next time you "practice" journalism.

"that can give you staff"

So I can rub my nose and will all of a sudden have employees to help me? Is that kind of like a "Bewitched" nose wiggle? Dearest Ms. Elrod meant "STAPH," as in staphylococcus. I once watched an episode of "Ace of Cakes" where a decorator wiped her nose and went back to working with fondant. Maybe she should go talk to Duff Goldman too.

And "fee's"? What's with the apostrophe?

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