By HANNAH DREIER
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -- Clandestine cooks who have been selling homemade food at local stores and farmer's markets will no longer have to fear legal consequences under a bill Gov. Jerry Brown signed Friday.
AB1616, known as the Homemade Food Act, will lift restrictions on the sale of home-cooked treats and impose sanitation and labeling requirements on the burgeoning cottage food industry. The bill excludes products that contain meat and cream and could quickly spoil.
In a statement Friday, the Democratic governor described it as one of several bills that will "make it easier for people to do business in California."
Assemblyman Mike Gatto, D-Los Angeles, said he wrote the bill in response to the increasing number of people establishing businesses based on baking, cooking and pickling in home kitchens.
Gatto cited the case of a Los Angeles man ordered by health officials to stop selling bread he baked each week in a backyard oven.
The act establishes criteria for permitting, cleanliness and food handler training. County health officials will have the right to inspect home kitchens and take photographs, food samples and other evidence as needed.
Advocates say the bill will allow the burgeoning cottage food industry go mainstream and could help people across the state supplement their income.
California joins 30 other states that have similar homemade food laws.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.