The Government of Saskatchewan has amended The Food Safety Regulations to remove barriers in order to allow home-processed foods to be sold directly to consumers and retailers in the province.
The new regulations will take effect on August 1, 2016. Inspired by cottage food laws in the United States, they will permit home-based food processors to prepare low-risk foods in their own homes for direct sale more broadly to the public or for re-sale by retail stores. Currently, this occurs only through venues such as farmers’ markets, community bake sales and fall suppers.
“After hearing from many Saskatchewan residents who felt that the old regulations were too restrictive, we made a commitment in the recent election campaign to make improvements,” Health Minister Dustin Duncan said. “Businesses that make safe, low-risk foods should not be penalized simply because they are based in their home - these regulations change that.”
The regulations allow the sale of low-risk foods which are non-perishable foods that would normally not require refrigeration such as breads, biscuits, cookies, pastries, fruit pies, jams, jellies and candies. Meat or dairy products are considered higher risk and are not included in the items allowed for sale by home food processors.
“It’s our hope that these changes will make things easier for existing home-based food businesses, as well as entrepreneurs that may want to start a new one,” Duncan said. “I want to thank the Saskatchewan residents who brought this idea forward to our government.”
The new regulations will require home food processors to take food safety training, ensure the water supply is safe, and to label their products so that consumers know their origin. The Ministry of Health will monitor the effectiveness of this approach and conduct further consultations with key stakeholders to determine if the sale of these food items should be expanded in the future.
The amendments to The Food Safety Regulations will be the first in Canada to specifically address the operation of home-based food businesses. Most states in the United States have some form of home-based, or cottage, food laws.
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