Deborah Aylward’s View from Concord — September

By Deborah Aylward

Imagine being able to cook up a big batch of your award-winning, homemade chili, and selling it right from your residence, or having the ability to sell your signature cheesecakes or pumpkin pies! Further, imagine not being forced by law to submit acidified products (for example, pickles, relish) known to be shelf-stable to a food processing authority, and avoid having to pay in the neighborhood of $140 to have the product tested to determine if shelf-stable, especially when having a dozen or more recipes that could cost thousands of dollars.  

The massive amendments to RSA 143-A Food Service Licensure were recently filed, and if passed, will give those in (or wanting to enter into) the homemade food business the freedom to produce potentially hazardous foods that, by law, currently include low-acid foods, such as banana, zucchini, and pumpkin breads, as long as the consumer is informed that the food is perishable and is safely handled. No longer would producers be limited to selling products only from a “residence, farmers’ market, farm stand, or retail food store.” 

Basically, as long as they follow the specified, bare minimum of industry standards for safe food handling and labeling, these foods can be sold everywhere. This is because foods such as beef stews, mayo-dressed salads, poultry, custard pies, etc., are already being produced in home kitchens and are sold, such as at fundraising events, but without regulation and apparently without incident of food-borne illnesses. 

Therefore, it is patently unfair to prohibit home producers from selling the same foods to their own customers. The creation of the definition of “roadside stand” will allow foods to be sold from other than a “farmstand” (and as zoning allows), which is a structure located only on farm property, that for some reason gives farmers an unfair advantage.  

With regulated foods currently defined as “homestead food products,” the word “homestead,” which means “a house, especially a farmhouse,” does not accurately describe producers who are not homesteading (that is, living off the grid, raising food for self-sufficiency), nor the carefully crafted products made by talented culinary artists that are not considered an agricultural commodity. Therefore, the word “homestead” was replaced with the word “artisan,” as in, “artisan food products.”  

There appears to be a serious demand for reform, as a similar food freedom bill is being filed by another representative. As for any perceived threat to public health, new research from the Institute of Justice proves otherwise: 


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