While researching for last week’s post about Cottage Food laws, I stumbled upon a few noteworthy discrepancies between what I was reading in the news about cottage food laws and what I found in the text of state laws. If you plan on legally making money from a home-based food business, it is unwise to place blind trust in the news when you have black letter law to refer to.

During my research I came across an article in FoodProcessing.com which claimed that as a result of the new cottage food law in Colorado, “residences where retail homemade food is produced must be covered by home bakery liability insurance.

The Colorado Cottage Foods Act, however, makes no such requirement. As signed into law, the Act states that producers are merely “encouraged to maintain home bakery liability insurance or other adequate liability insurance.” C. R. S. A. § 25-4-1614 (West 2012). The discrepancy between the law and the reporting is obviously a very big (and expensive) difference.

I gather that the FoodProcessing.com article refers to the Colorado senate version of the bill:

“A person who sells foods pursuant to this act must maintain home bakery liability insurance or other adequate liability insurance.” (Senate Bill 12-048)

This wasn’t the only discrepancy I encountered. Consider the following, and notice the peculiar dates:

Nov. 15, 2012:  “[In addition to California, there are] 25 other states where cottage-food operations are legal.” Raheem F. Hosseini, Homemade foods now legal in Sacramento County, NewsReview.com.

September, 2012:  “29 states have Cottage Food Laws.” Facts, Texas Cottage Food Law,  (last visited Nov. 30, 2012).

August 3, 2012: “Since the recession, 32 states have a cottage food law.” Bill Aims to Give Cottage Food Makers a Break, The California Report.

Obviously, something is screwy here – the numbers actually descend over time… and no, none of these laws have been repealed. Don’t build a business plan around internet advice. The truth is always in the statutes.

–by Gabriella Agostinelli