OK Legislature: Honey Sales Act & Cottage Food Laws Advance

This week, both chambers of the Oklahoma Legislature approved Cottage Food laws from their initial committees, while the Senate Agriculture Committee has approved the Oklahoma Honey Sales Act (SB 716) by Senator Eddie Fields (R-Pawhuska) and Representative Donnie Condit (D-McAlester) which now awaits full authorization on the Senate floor.

The Oklahoma Honey Sales Act (SB 716) exempts beekeepers with annual production of less than five hundred gallons of annual production from regulation and inspection by the State Department of Health for the manufacture, sale and distribution of honey and honeycomb products if they meet certain requirements.  The bill also prohibits any local government or agency from adopting ordinances or regulations restricting honey sales or distribution in compliance with the act. SB 716 is likely to reach the Senate floor for a vote next week, so contact your Senator immediately by email and telephone and request their support for the measure.

Meanwhile, two versions of Cottage Food Laws have advanced beyond their first legislative hurdle.  The Home Bakery Act (HB 1094) by Representative Dustin Roberts (R-Durant) exempts home-based businesses selling baked items (no meat or fruit ingredients) from regulation by the State Department of Health, so long as their gross annual sales do not exceed $20,000.00 and they provide verification of such sales to the Health Department and label each item conspicuously as not prepared in a certified commercial kitchen.  HB 1094 passed the House Public Health Committee and moves to the House Floor for a vote.  The Oklahoma Cottage Food Law (SB 920) by Senator Ron Justice (R-Chickasha) and Representative Dennis Casey (R-Morrisson) takes a different approach by authorizing the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry to develop rules and regulations for home-based kitchens, specifying which products may be prepared in such a facility, and requires an initial $175.00 permit with $125.00 annual renewal fee.  Furthermore, SB 920 specifically limits sales of such items to direct-to-consumer sales, expressly prohibiting retail sales.  SB 920 passed the Senate Agriculture Committee and moves to the Senate floor for consideration.

Please contact Bud Scott (bud@okfarmandfood.org) to discuss these proposals further and express your opinion on each version.

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