Sauerkraut FreedomWednesday, August 15, 2012
Boyce’s ‘kraut was a hit, selling out each week — until her county health department promptly asked her to stop. Without testing her product, obtaining a food processing license, and making it all at within a certified commercial kitchen, Boyce couldn’t distribute her sauerkraut to the public according to state regulations.
Small-time home producers like Boyce have faced similar hurdles across the nation in recent years over restrictions placed on so-called ‘cottage foods’ — foods made at home and sold to the public. It’s a disagreement that pits state and local governments intending to protect public health against those who say it’s not the government’s job to dictate what they eat.
In order to get around the health department regulations, Sandy Boyce began to label her sauerkraut as “pet food,” a gimmick employed by many who, in certain states, are prevented from having the freedom to sell their popular products in the market. Here’s what happened next:
But the pet food maneuver didn’t last long, either. After the season ended, she received another stopping order — this time a cease-and-desist letter from the Arizona Department of Agriculture for selling animal feed without a license.
Most states allow only certain items to be sold at the market – mostly non-refrigerated items. A quote from the article states the following:
In Michigan, for example, home producers can sell breads and other baked goods, jams and jellies, popcorn, dried herbs, cotton candy, dried pasta, vinegars, and assorted chocolate-covered foods such as pretzels or fruit — as long as their gross annual sales don’t exceed $15,000. The law also explicitly outlines whole categories of food restricted from sale, including meats, dairy products, canned fruits and vegetables, and — you guessed it — sauerkraut.
Hmmm. I buy homemade, fermented sauerkraut … at a certain farmers market in Michigan. This is a very small snapshot of my root cellar, with labels disguised to protect the innocent.