OK - here it is - PLEASE read and review this - I have read it so many times there may well be some gramatical errors etc. Please edit this letter to suit your "story".
April 27, 2009
----------, Florida -------------
Dear Representative -------:
The enactment of a Cottage Foods Act to legalize the sale of home baked cakes and cookies is extremely important to me and my family. I am writing to ask you to sponsor a bill that would allow Floridians to sell non-hazardous baked goods prepared in residential kitchens.
In Florida it is illegal to sell a cake made in a home residential kitchen. Most people are not aware of this law. Florida Statute 500, 6-202.111 states Private Homes and Living or Sleeping Quarters, Use Prohibition. A private home, a room used as living or sleeping quarters, or an area directly opening into a room used as living or sleeping quarters may not be used for conducting FOOD ESTABLISHMENT operations.
This law is in place to protect the public from unsafe foods. However, cakes and other baked goods such as cookies, pies and brownies are considered low-risk for spoilage and contamination due to their high sugar content. There are at least 9 other states that have mechanisms in place for allowing bakers and cake decorators to sell non-hazardous foods made in residential kitchen, including:
Department of Agriculture (717) 787-4737
Utah (as of 200
Department of Agriculture (804) 786-3520
In Maryland, Delegate Mary Ann Love and in Texas, Representative Dan Gattis are both currently bringing bills to committee to create a cottage foods act. Indiana is bringing their bill to a vote today as well. Would you consider doing the same? I would be glad to meet with you to discuss this further. I also have colleagues and contacts throughout the state of Florida who fervently hope the law will be changed, and they would also be glad to join our meeting.
I have invested time and money in learning my craft. However, for me that is all that it is right now, a craft. Because I do not want to be a lawbreaker I only bake for family and friends and I donate cakes and cookies to my church. I constantly have people want to buy baked goods from me and I have to turn them away. Most of those potential customers go to a "big box, chain store" to purchase their cakes or baked goods, thus not keeping the money in Florida. Most potential customers look at me weird when I say "I cannot bake a cake for you because it is illegal to bake from home". The word homemade conveys quality, not criminal. Everyone eats foods made in residential kitchens every day. There are bake sales at schools and churches, parents sending cupcakes to schools for their childs birthdays, people bake cookies and bring them into the office. There is nothing to fear from these items or non-profit bake sales would be illegal as well. This is not a health hazard.
A quick search for cake on Craigslist already shows many people advertising cake businesses run from their home's residential kitchen. With the economy faltering and people looking for ways to earn extra income, more will naturally turn to selling home-baked goods, unaware of the legal ramifications. Because this activity is illegal in Florida, these people cannot obtain business liability insurance to protect themselves financially. Should they be sued, they could potentially lose everything, including their homes. It would serve the public interest to regulate this already-existing industry, and de-criminalize the act of selling low risk food prepared in a residential kitchen.
I would like to request a change in the law. Inspect our homes and charge an annual inspection fee. There are many safety regulations that can be put in place to serve the public good while allowing hundreds or even thousands of home bakers to legally provide a service to the community while earning extra money for their families. There are many people out there who sell cakes and other food items from their homes already wouldnt it be safer to have a way to regulate this already-existing industry?
There is an additional benefit to the State of Florida in additional revenues from a home baking registration fee as well as an increase in the sale of business licenses. This could create an amazing amount of real jobs for those currently unemployed and provide a significant boost to Floridas economy.
America and indeed Florida were founded on the ideals of freedom and entrepreneurialism. Our founding fathers surely never envisioned a country where it would be illegal for a woman to sell a cake made in her own kitchen. I humbly ask for your help in this matter.
Thank you sincerely,
name and ALL contact information
Let's get them all out before the end of the week - I am sending one to my rep, my senator and my congressman - I will probably forward one on to the governor and lt. governor as well - I think you should too!!
Lets go peeps - get the word out!! storm the capital - and all that stuff!! hehe
Please take a moment to say a lil prayer for Indiana!!!