A new law allows people to sell baked goods from home, but the city of Plano warns of potential health risks. (Published Tuesday, Dec 6, 2011)
Since Sept. 1, a “home bakery” can be deemed a legal home business in Plano.
"It needs to be able to set out and not spoil," said Medley, about the food she’s allowed to sell.
Her home business produces gluten and dairy-free products in small volume. She takes orders to bake twice per week.
However, as cottage food businesses sprout up around North Texas, cities look to educate the public.
"This food is not inspected by the health department," said Sandra Long, with the Plano Environmental Health Department.
While city health departments aren’t required to keep up with the home-based businesses as they would a restaurant or commercial bakery, for example, the state does maintain that they keep track of any complaints.
While no incidents have been recorded, Long says producing the video was a kind of "buyer beware."
However, to members of the cottage food industry, it felt like it came out of nowhere.
"[It] kind of does us a disservice," said Audrey Ross of McKinney.
Ross operates a baked goods business out of her home. She says she wouldn’t risk her business by using poor hygiene.
"Your name goes on it, your reputation goes on it," she said. "I wouldn’t give cookies to my neighbor for Christmas for free that I would be concerned would cause them any kind of harm."
At the Ross house, baking supplies are kept in a separate refrigerator and pantry, away from household groceries. The Medleys also operate with a meticulous labeling system.
They also disclose, as they are legally required, that the food they are selling is not inspected.
"I can only be responsible for me, myself, my husband and my family," said Medley. "We work very hard to operate within the law."