All my fellow Texans,
I want to say thank you, especially, to KelleyM for compiling the list of states that are legal. (http://www.cakecentral.com/cak.....32550.html)
Sadly, Texas is one of the states that isn't legal. Can or will that ever change? As large an undertaking as it is, I think it's up to us to find out.
I have compiled a list of local Texas representatives. These are from the Dallas/Fort Worth area. You can find your local representative by visiting:
Obviously, this is on a state level, and not a national level, so our senators are not on the list.
What if we all write to our representatives and voice our opinions about this law? What if we propose that (like Oregon) the law is modified to include baked goods and candies, but not more dangerous items like meat processing? The worst they can say is "no."
"Of the people, by the people, for the people," right? We are the people!
I'm going to write to my representative today, and I'll let you guys know if I hear anything back!
Please participate if you're passionate about this! And good luck!
Texas U.S. Representatives
Congressional District 26--Congressman Michael C. Burgess
District Address: 1721 LONGWORTH HOUSE OFFICE BUILDING
WASHINGTON DC 20515
Phone: (202) 225-7772
1660 S. Stemmons Fwy., Ste 230
Lewisville, TX 75067
Phone: (972) 434-9700
Congressional District 12--Congressman Kay Granger
District Address: 440 CANNON HOUSE OFFICE BUILDING
WASHINGTON DC 20515
Phone: (202) 225-5071
1701 River Run Road, Suite 407
Fort Worth, TX 76107
Phone: (817) 338-0909
Congressional District 24--Congressman Kenny Marchant
District Address: 501 CANNON HOUSE OFFICE BUILDING
WASHINGTON DC 20515
Phone: (202) 225-6605
9901 East Valley Ranch Pkwy
Irving, TX 75063
Phone: (972) 556-0162
Texas State Senator
Senate District 12--Senator Jane Nelson
Capitol Office: CAP 1E.3
Capitol Phone: (512) 463-0112
Capitol Address: P.O. Box 12068, Capitol Station
Austin, TX 78711
District Address: 1235 S. Main St., Suite 280
Grapevine TX 76051
Phone: (817) 424-3446
State District Offices
Texas State Representatives
House District 98--Representative Vicki Truitt
Capitol Office: EXT E2.502
Capitol Phone: (512) 463-0690
Capitol Address: P.O. Box 2910
Austin, TX 78768
District Address: 1256 Main Street, #248
Southlake TX 76092
Phone: (817) 488-4098
House District 99--Representative Charlie Geren
Capitol Office: EXT E2.310
Capitol Phone: (512) 463-0610
Capitol Address: P.O. Box 2910
Austin, TX 78768
District Address: 1011 Roberts Cutoff
River Oaks TX 76114
Phone: (817) 738-8333
House District 91--Representative Bob E. Griggs
Capitol Office: EXT E2.606
Capitol Phone: (512) 463-0599
Capitol Address: P.O. Box 2910
Austin, TX 78768
District Address: 6617 Precint Line Road, Suite 200
North Richland Hills TX 76180
Phone: (817) 581-1000
Texas State Board of Education Member
SBOE District 11--Ms. Patricia "Pat" Hardy
District Address: 2323 RIDGMAR BLVD. # 78
FORT WORTH TX 76116
Phone: (817) 732-1786
That's actually why I started compiling the list. I wanted to have 'ammunition' for our state legislators to prove that other states allow this, and people in those states are not getting sick en masse from home-baked cakes (insert massive eyeroll). But then my husband told me I can't do anything about it, no state legislator would care enough, the law is too hard to change, etc. I wanted to start a petition, but my husband said no one would sign it, because signing it is basically admitting that you're doing it illegally now.
I guess I let him get to me, because I kind of lost my heart for it. If there was a way I thought I could make a difference, I would do it, though.
I'd like to do this but I have no idea what I should put in a letter. Could you give me some idea what I should put in a letter to them?
I am impressed with all of the hard work you did in getting all the information together. I hope that it works for you and all of the other Texas bakers.
I will work up a more comprehensive letter later and share it with everyone. But the points I will highlight are:
1. At least 11 other states have exceptions for home or "cottage" bakers who bake low-risk foods.
2. The new Texas Food Establishment rules focus more on food safety than cleanliness of the restaurants. "Demerits are not given for items such as dirty floors and walls". If food handling is the main concern, let us take a food safety course and cook in our homes. Inspect our homes as you would inspect restaurants, and charge a fee for this inspection and license.
3. The current law is creating lawbreakers out of citizens who would just like to use the skills and gifts they've been given to earn some extra money and share their creativity. Also, legalized home bakers would be required to charge sales tax on their cakes, increasing state revenue (ok, not a lot, but still!)
It's late...I'll try to come up with something a little more coherent tomorrow.
What we really need to do is bring this to the attention of the candidates running for governor. The representatives are a bunch of pawns.
It's not about safety- it's about money. TX and CA are the two more difficult states for cake bakers. Ironically enough, they are also the two most populated states. Do the math on this one.
I feel your pain...Missouri is also a state that won't let us be licensed in our homes....
glad to see you back SweetThistleCakes!
Come on guys, we have a multiple page thread here with people asking about the laws of TX and whether you can bake from home, not to mention a slew of posts on how people would like to be legal, and where can I find a kitchen and such! let's really get in on this one!!
Surely there are some more Texans on here who will help!
I just found this post and am definitely interested in doing what I can to try to get this changed. Let me know what I can do.
I'm also interested in helping out!!!
Another Texan here willling to help...keep me posted.
I am in to help as well. Let me know what I can do to help. I am unsure what to put in a letter so if I could get a guideline I will make sure everyone I know WRITES .. or NO CAKES !
Hi! Just found this post and I'm totally in!! I just need help writing a letter!!
I'm in!!! I am currently a hobby cake maker, but would love to be able to sell the cakes that I make right here at home!!! It would go a long way to my goal of eventually doing this full-time!
I will be writing a multitude of letters!
We just need to remember that the squeaky wheel gets the oil!
I know this is a old thread but since the Legislature is in session now...
I wondered if anyone has done anything? and what they wanted the laws changed too? I'm going to try to write a letter this week and wanted to ask the same thing as others if possible.
This Houston girl is in too! I'll write a letter for sure.
Florida, one cannot use their home. They too must have a commerical kitchen.
Did you ever come up with a more comprehensive letter that we could use to write to our state legislature. I for one will write but am not sure what to put in a letter.
Here is my letter. Anyone is free to take it and modify it as they need to, as my experiences do not apply to everyone.
Go to this page http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/ and type your address in the box at the right that says 'Who Represents Me'. That is who you should send your letter to.
I feel really strongly about this. A cake cooked in my kitchen in Texas is not less safe than a cake cooked in a kitchen in Ohio or North Carolina. We may not change the law, but we can at least make a lot of people start thinking about it. Speak from your heart -- they will pay more attention to a heartfelt letter than a letter that looks copied, or a form letter.
The legislature is only in session every other year. This is our last chance until 2009.
I am writing about an issue that is very important to me. I am a cake decorator and I take pride in the cakes I make (attach some pictures of your home-prepared cakes). I have invested time and money in learning my craft. What you may not know, is that in Texas it is illegal to sell a cake made in a residential kitchen.
Most people are not aware of this law. It is the Texas Administrative Code, Food Establishment Rules, Rule §229.167 (E)(10) which 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, cake 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 8 other states that have mechanisms in place for allowing bakers and cake decorators to sell foods made in residential kitchen, including:
North Carolina http://www.agr.state.nc.us/fooddrug/homebiz.htm
Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (717) 787-4737
Virginia Department of Agriculture (804) 786-3520
I currently have a food purveyors permit and rent a licensed kitchen at a rate of $10/hour. If it takes me 3 hours to bake and decorate a birthday cake that I will sell for $50, and my ingredients cost $10, my hourly wage to myself ends up being about $3/hr. I have never had a single customer ask me if I have a license or I bake from home. In fact, most assume that I do bake from my home. They consider this a benefit. The word homemade conveys quality. The words prepared in a licensed commercial kitchen do not have the same effect! 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.
I would like to request a change in the law. Turn the regulation of home or cottage bakeries over to the Department of Agriculture, as other states have done. 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?
I briefly tried using the kitchen of a legal, licensed restaurant. It was the dirtiest place I have ever worked. But it is legal to sell food prepared there. Somewhere along the way, in our effort to protect the public, we have gone too far. Homemade cakes are not a public health threat. Regulating these home businesses would serve the public good.
Thank you very much for your time.
Way to go with the letter! I couldn't have put it better myself. I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to get this law changed.
I have two in envelopes, all stamped and addressed to my state senator and representative. I will mail them tomorrow assuming the ice melts. Don't let me be the only one, guys....let's do it!
I want you to know that I have letters to Senator Kyle Janek and Representative Dennis Bonnen in envelopes ready to be stamped and sent to Austin when I get off of work in the morning!! I expanded upon your letter, adding my experience and explainations of views, and printed them out as fast as I could.
Thank you for getting me off my duff and wanting to make a difference. I can only hope that our fellow Texans do the same and we get something done. As I am entering the beginnig of my own 5 year plan (hope to open my own cake biz by Feb 6, 2012-my 35th b-day), it would be a relief to not have to quit my current job and be able to make and sell the cakes that I love from my home. Being that I am soley making cakes from my home now, I was a little apprehensive about putting a letter out there with my information on it, but it's done and I feel good about it!
Again, thank you for all your research and ideas for the letter!! YOU ROCK!!
Ok, my deed is done: I have mailed a letter to Senator Steve Ogden and Representative Dan Gattis. If these senators and reps got multiple letters from those of us within the districts, I think that would really help!
Those of you who haven't written your letters yet might want to mention something about how the new Texas Food Establishment Rules, FOOD SAFETY is the most important issue. Williamson County doesn't even mark off for dirty floors and walls in a restaurant! We can all take food safety courses and learn how to handle food safely. If the environment the food is cooked in doesn't have to be clean, why on earth do they care if it is a restaurant or a home? Dirt is dirt. And clean is clean.
The Williamson County & Cities Health District food inspectors are trained through education and on-the-job experience before they perform these inspections. The latest version of the Texas Food Establishment Rules (TFER) went into effect March 15, 2006. The new format focuses on causes for food born illnesses. Demerits are given for any deficiencies in the acquisition, storage, handling, and preparation of food found during the inspection. Demerits are not given for items such as dirty floors and walls. These issues are addressed under a different time schedule for correction. The goal is to leave our restaurants with all deficiencies corrected
There are 22 other people besides me who voted in the poll at the top of this thread that they would write . Let's git 'er done, ladies.
Senator John Whitmire and Representative Dwayne Bohac have both received a letter from me via USPS, email AND fax. You know...squeaky wheel and all. =)
Well, I just had an interesting hour...
DH called me and said that State Rep. Dennis Bonnen called the house and left a message for me on our machine to call him back. I'm in shock...am I in trouble? Are we getting something done? I called his office and his receptionist said she'd have him call me back, so I gave her my work number.
About 15 minutes later, Bonnen calls me. Says he wishes he had better news, but "the chances of getting this (a bill like this) passed would be next to none". He then tells me that he is an honest person and that he didn't want to call me and tell me that he was working on it because he knows that there would be no chance for it. IOW-he didn't want to blow smoke. I thank him and tell him I appreciate his honesty. He then said that he appreciates how well thought out the letter was (THANK YOU kelleym for the base letter that I added my own experiences to!!!!). He actually told me that a bill like this would get "slaughtered"!! Wow... If there was another way we could come up with for residential bakers/food makers to be lawful, he would love to hear it. I have no clue about laws or bills and how they become, so I'm stuck!!
So, that was my experience with my State Representative. Has anyone else heard back from theirs???
Wow...I'm speechless. No, I haven't heard back from my senator or rep. I mean, that is great public service, him calling you back and being honest with you.
What does he mean....another way? I'm really intrigued. He makes the law....how else would we change the law? My letter specifically proposed turning over regulation of cottage bakeries to the Dept. of Agriculture. The only other thing I can think of is maybe an "exeption" for home bakers where if we earn less than $1000/yr or something like that? Any other ideas?
And, did anyone else write? Hmmmmmm? I really refuse to believe that this is impossible.
I have started my letter, but a family emergency came up and I haven't finished or mailed it. But I was hoping for the under 1,000 rule. Or something like that.
I also wonder what he meant by other means.
That was the only thing I didn't understand about the conversation...I mean, yeah, he makes the laws, but it didn't sound like he wanted to spend a lot of time on this himself. I like the under $1,000 idea. He did say that if at any time, day or night or whenever, I had an idea to call him. I don't even know where to begin!!! Hey, tax us some more, just let us legally do this from home!!