Home Cooking for Profit? Sure, Just Not in New Jersey

Home Cooking for Profit? Sure, Just Not in New Jersey

“The plan is to try to take the kids to Disney World next year,” she said in a phone interview, whispering so her children, ages 3 and 9, couldn’t hear. “All of the cupcake money goes toward that.”

In New Jersey, the Department of Health asked a Superior Court judge to dismiss the bakers’ lawsuit, arguing that the ban on sales was meant to ensure that consumers have “food that is safe and unadulterated.” The motion was denied. The state attorney general’s office said it would not comment on pending litigation.

“When it comes to cottage foods, you want products that have a very low risk of illness,” said Steven Mandernach, the executive director of the Association of Food and Drug Officials, a nonprofit organization based in York, Pa., that works to streamline regulations. “Baked goods are a good example.”

The home cooks insist their products are safe. If there were a health risk, they ask, why would they be allowed to donate food to bake sales? They say lawmakers and regulators are simply trying to protect commercial bakeries.

Mr. Vitale, the Senate committee chairman, denied that. “Not in any way am I trying to protect mom-and-pop bakeries, or brick-and-mortar bakeries,” he said.

Still, Mr. Vitale said established bakeries have a greater investment at stake, and could lose business. “If there are going to be, let’s say, 20 home bakers that are created through this legislation and they’re selling their product to the public, it’s likely that if they didn’t exist, those public persons would have gone to a bakery,” he said.

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