Home Cooking for Profit? Sure, Just Not in New Jersey

A nationwide boom in home-based food businesses has bypassed the Garden State, the only state that still bars such sales. But home bakers are fighting back.

Comments: 125

  1. I disagree with Mr. Vitale that home bakers will take business away from established bakeries. That will only happen if the home baked goods are better tasting than the goods sold by the established bakers. I think that the home bakers will expand the demand for baked goods. I personally don't go to bakers very often. If I had a friend or neighbor who started a home baking business, I might buy more baked goods than usual just to support them. Otherwise, I wouldn't be buying baked goods.

  2. @Lisa Perhaps they should take business away from established bakeries. That's what a free market is about: let the consumer decide what he wants. We aren't talking about pharmaceuticals here. An ordinary person can judge for himself. If you are worried about safety, think of all the food poisoning cases resulting from commercially prepared food.

  3. @Lisa Competition is a foundation of business. Mr. Vitale is trying to limit competition, and protecting established bakeries (that had to establish themselves through competition against established bakeries) is of course protectionism.

  4. This simply validates what most NJ residents already know. NJ is one of the worst states in the US to reside in, competing only with NY and CA. My job moved to FL, and many friends and neighbors have relocated to NC, SC, FL and TX. They are all ecstatic that they no longer reside in NJ. Hopefully, our family will soon be able to leave as well.

  5. @Mike F. 'Bye! Some of us like it here.

  6. If it's a bake sale, you know it hasn't passed any inspection or safety standards. So, you are informed. If I bought a food item on Amazon, or from a grocery store, I would expect it to be from a licensed food provider who is trained in food safety. I feel a little bit worried about cooked food now, if just anyone can make food at home to sell. Not everyone is trustworthy. Perhaps this type of home cooked food can have a sticker: Home cooked. Unlicensed provider. Or, the sticker could list the relevant home inspections?

  7. @KTT Personally, I wouldn't worry about an untrustworthy home baker. From my own experience, most of them want to build a bit of a customer base and are based in the local area, so will do their best to provide a good, safe product. I do, however, worry about most commercial kitchens, where staff is poorly paid and poorly trained and there is a constant percentage who fit easily into the "disgruntled" employee category. I see a lot more scope there for contamination of food, either in ways that are simply "gross" or that potentially cause serious health issues.

  8. @KTT Just last year Connecticut passed a law that allows home vendors, or Cottage Food Operators, to sell limited food items, ones that can normally be prepared safely at home and are not usually sources for food-borne illnesses. Vendors must pass a food safety program for food servers and there are other requirements and limitations which are pretty clearly spelled out. It is easy to comprehend and covers issues such as labeling, excluded foods, how products can be sold, and limits on income earned from food sales. I home can my jams and fruit butters and I strictly adhere to practices set forth by USDA. From a food safety perspective the CT cottage vendor requirements seem to have an adequate foundation that is designed with consumer safety in mind yet still allows residents some freedom to earn a bit on the side. I plan to take advantage of the new law and begin selling my home canned jam and baked goods. It's also a good way to support a local economy; I buy a ton of local fruit for my jams. I think the CT law would make a good model for other states. https://portal.ct.gov/-/media/DCP/News-Releases-from-the-Department-of-Consumer-Protection/COTTAGE_FOOD_MANUAL.pdf?la=en

  9. @FRITZ Be careful not to sell your fruit butters (from the above link): May I make and sell apple butter, pumpkin butter or other fruit butters? No. Fruit butters have significantly less sugar than a traditional jam or jelly. It is the combination of acid, sugar, pectin and heat that assures the safety of jams or jellies. In fruit butters, the combination of sugar and pectin is not sufficient to assure that the fruit butter is safe.

  10. If most other states have allowed this, I imagine most have already figured out how to navigate the challenges and concerns. Learn from their examples and take a vote.

  11. @A The Homebakers haven't puzzled out who to "tip" to get this law passed. This is NJ, after all.

  12. I don’t see a problem in home bakers producing for private catered events where the are contracted directly with the customer holding the event. But as a customer, I don’t want to hire a caterer who subs out to home based businesses that are not licensed, insured or inspected. Surely you can see how people can be exploited or sickened in this way.

  13. @Deirdre, you never know. I am sure there are caterers who do just that.

  14. @Deirdre In CT, the home baker can only sell directly to the consumer: "May I sell my cottage food to a wholesaler, broker or distributor? No. It is not legal for a cottage food operator to sell to a wholesaler, broker or distributor who would then resell the product. Cottage food may only be sold directly to consumers."

  15. People feed home-prepared food to their families. If it's safe enough for that, it's safe enough to be sold. (Or are they going to outlaw all home cooking and kitchens?) The restrictions are hysterical responses to non-existent dangers.

  16. Home bakers do an excellent job! They've been around for decades in IL. They usually provide wedding cakes, etc in rural areas where there are no bakeries. They provide cakes and cake pops, etc for parties, showers, special events. Bakeries don't worry about competition/ list income because home bakers don't do the volume of business that a bakery would. They coexist successfully here. If you are afraid to eat or buy from them - don't. Encouraging entreneupership is good for everyone!

  17. A while back a number of people died from eating a dish brought to a pot luck event. "Home cooking" is not necessarily safe. We have food safety laws for a reason, and they've saved countless lives.

  18. @David And yet, if you read the article, you would see that every other state, including yours, permits these businesses. It's quite easy to avoid any risk by simply not purchasing these foods.

  19. @David To set the record straight, a Google search found that in March one person in Alaska died from botulism after eating fermented whale flipper (a Native Alaskan dish) at a potluck. A number of others were sickened by the dish. A professor in Alaska noted that climate change might have contributed to development of the botulism, as the fermentation technique to prepare the whale flipper involves burying items underground in tundra that is 37 degrees or cooler, and the tundra nowadays might be too warm. Somehow I don't think that's going to be an issue we'll face from New Jersey homebakers selling homemade cupcakes - unless they plan to use some really, really exotic ingredients.

  20. @David: and what about the recent e.coli epidemic based on Romaine? "During this current outbreak, 43 people across 12 states have been reported ill. Sixteen were hospitalized, including one person who developed kidney failure from hemolytic uremic syndrome. No deaths had been reported. There are also reports that infections from this same E. coli outbreak have reached Canada, according to the CDC." This romaine was sold by major companies in major supermarkets and restaurants. But these people in NJ can't make and sell their baking?

  21. It's disappointing to see a state senator who is comfortable brushing aside the issue of women supporting themselves and their families as unimportant. If 49 states have managed to solve this problem, surely New Jersey can too.

  22. @Susan It also cuts off immigrant communities, who often have less accumulated wealth and access to credit, and therefore more difficulty opening a bakery, from participating and integrating in the economy.

  23. @Susan 49 states trust their residents to dispense gasoline, too. This is a unique NJ theme.

  24. @Andy Not pumping my own gas is important to me. I treasure that law. What a stupid thing to force people to pump their own gas. Just because one state remains an outlier doesn't automatically make it wrong. Maybe the others are wrong. The same is true about selling homemade food.

  25. I strongly believe Mr. Vitale cannot think of a way to tax these small business home-baked goods. As most legislators in NJ, taxes talk. NJ ranks as one of the highest real estate taxes in the country, as well as in retail. I know a lot of New Jerseyans who have left the state because of all these. Neither is it senior or retirement friendly! Stay away...

  26. It's pretty funny that they try and bring up food safety as a reason. Look at all the E-Coli and Hepatitis from chains and commercial growers. Or just in general the fact that soda and fast food have made diabetes an epidemic. Sure, someone will get sick at some point, but that's true of pretty much every food related business. Welcome to America- we have no economic safety net, so BOOTSTRAPS, but also, you aren't legally allowed to start a small business out of your home that doesn't have a high cost of entry.

  27. @MC At the bottom of the slippery slope are regulators who will say no one can be trusted to make their own food at home and require everyone to buy manufactured food for sanitary safety.

  28. States routinely enact laws on the most mundane of activities, laws designed to either protect a lawmaker's favored constituency or bring in money to the state through licensing fees. Both are anti-entrepreneurial. There is no reason that a travel agent or a home baker need to be licensed. This is one area I think needs less regulation, not more.

  29. @Shane There is good reason for a person preparing food at home to be licensed. Few home bakers carry any kind of liability insurance which professionals must have. I have bought home baked items (from bake sales) only to find bird feathers and cat hair in them. Rarely do these home bakers include ingredient lists on their packaging so that those with food allergies (a growing segment of the population) can determine whether it's safe for them to consume. What recourse would someone with a nut allergy have if they had a reaction needing hospitalization to something they bought at a bake sale? None. These instances are more common than one might think. The woman in the picture is not wearing gloves or any kind of hair restraint-required in every professional food production kitchen. I also wonder if/how these "Suzie-homebakers" collect, file and pay sales tax on their offerings. Unlikely. The problem lies in that these "Suzie homebakers" skirt around state laws that apply to professionals who have dedicated their lives and fortunes to offer safe, quality foods for consumers. Thus, it's not a level playing field.

  30. @Greg Miller Anyone with a food allergy knows better than to buy un-labeled homemade food.

  31. @Susan...you missed the point. You should know not to buy from a bake sale but prices talk. home bakers are not required to put labels on anything. They are not required to take basic safety training classes and therefore are less knowledgeable about how just having peanut butter on the counter earlier in the day can still impact the product you are now packaging to sell. And since a home baker can not possibly guarantee that their kitchen is fully sanitary, the risk to any consumer is greater. Now I agree that someone who is high risk has a choice to go to a licensed facility, but sometimes the cost savings can cloud that judgement. Home bakers are able to charge far far less for their products and for consumers the pricing is a big draw. I have actually been told by someone who was making cookies for a fund raiser that since there is so much sugar in their icing, there is no risk of any kind of illness from contamination, while watching her cat walk on her table. Sorry, but that simply is not true. When a baker takes their work seriously, then great, they should have no problem doing what is necessary to sell their passion. I am not saying the state needs to be so astringent, but there do need to be protocols and my understanding is that the association wants it all their way...without compromise. Also 50k untaxed is a lot of income. How would you feel if your coworker made more than you just because they don’t pay taxes?

  32. The most disturbing aspect of this article is that one person can hold up legislation. This is a common problem in PA as well and it keeps a lot of good legislation from getting a full hearing, which is wrong; that isn't how a democracy should work. It stalls our progress on numerous issues from home cooking to fracking to tax law. Shameful on the part of State Sen. Vitale for holding up legislation this way.

  33. It's a problem for our own country, nevermind the states!

  34. @lw Mitch.

  35. @Lindsey Calling Mitch McConnell.

  36. Lots of small towns have no bakeries at all. They also have few jobs and no daycare centers, or the daycare costs more than the few jobs provide. Home baking is a win for everybody in towns like these. Clients can buy a wedding cake or cookies without having to drive an hour to a bigger town and a mom or dad can work at home and not have to hire someone to watch the children.

  37. The plaintiffs can't possibly be wrong about one thing: if the ban is truly justified on grounds that allowing these goods to be sold is a health risk, the state is doing a poor job when the same goods can be donated. health risks do not have to be profitable to be health risks. looks more like a legislature in thrall to a business lobby that wants higher barriers to entry and competition.

  38. @Alex Donated goods are not business. The state has a duty to regulate business, to protect the public from hazards. People keeping 50 lbs bags of flour, no rules to have ingredients in special containers, so eat the mouse droppings and cockroach bits, fecal matter on hands from changing a diaper, and not washing hands.

  39. As a former owner of a professional catering business I wish every state still had these laws. It is extremely difficult for a law-abiding operation to compete with home-based cooking. My rent, insurance, health department inspections, and taxes all influenced the price I had to charge for my services. Someone working out of their home has an unfair advantage. I often lost jobs to novice caterers who had taken a community college course and started working from their home.

  40. @CS The proposed New Jersey law is much more limited- it wouldn't permit full scale home catering, just certain categories of products.

  41. @CS People operating out of their homes sell a minuscule amount of goods compared to professional bakeries or catering companies. The comparison you've made is specious and in essence, is based on furthering your needs over others. What should matter in this debate are the needs of consumers, not of legacy businesses seeking to protect their market share.

  42. @CS And does New Jersey have no commercial kitchens for rent. And I can't imagine Starbucks buying product made in a home kitchen.

  43. Check the laws in Indiana, they are onerous. "Both the Wholesale Food Establishment Sanitation Requirements and the Retail Food Establishment Sanitation Requirements prohibit the sale of foods that are manufactured or processed in the home kitchen. Therefore, food you plan to market must be prepared or manufactured in a kitchen or facility separate from your domestic living quarters. The separate facility must also be inspected by the State Health Department or local health department...A separate kitchen or facility may be built in the home with an entrance leading directly from that room to the outside. A basement, converted garage or building not used for any other purpose may be an acceptable option. Building codes and zoning laws must also be considered. It is best to contact the wholesale food protection program to determine if your particular home design is acceptable."

  44. @NB this way at least food is prepared in a safe environment to mitigate the risk of food borne illnesses. Better be safe than dead.

  45. “My question to them would be: Are you going to pay income tax on that?” So Mr. Vitale would rather keep people from making money, in a bizarre concern that they will cheat on their taxes. I can see why New Jersey has so many fiscal woes if Mr Vitale thinks that home bakers are the tax cheats he needs to worry about.

  46. @Objectively Subjective It's a ridiculous objection, since he probably is not concerned if taxes are being paid by people who knit and sell mittens.

  47. @JP mittens do not have the potential to kill people in large numbers - food can and does.

  48. @Objectively Subjective If people are cheating on their taxes, the state is still getting taxes. By preventing people from making income that would be taxed, the state gets no tax money at all.

  49. Farmers can farm and sell their produce. Nobody asks them if they pay taxes. There is a double standard to some extent.

  50. Actually, I think here in NJ farmers (even CSAs) do have to have licenses, pass inspections and pay taxes.

  51. @TitanThanks. That was not my experience when I lived in NJ and operated a produce stand. I believe home cooking is worth a try, especially since NJ is the only state that does not allow it.

  52. Those cake pops look yummy. What about delivering them to a bakery in NYC and sellling there? Or internetting them in other states? There MUST be a way . . . http://www.thecriticalmom.blogspot.com

  53. That probably requires more expensive licensing and cooking in a commercial kitchen. That’s the case in Chicago.

  54. @Melpub That might require interstate commerce licensing, taxes, etc.

  55. Here is a Democrat using the loathesome Mitch McConnel’s playbook. It is just shameful that the legislation has not been brought up for a vote in the Senate when it has passed the lower chamber three times! Our representatives of both parties are supposed to have a chance to consider and vote on legislation, that is their job.

  56. Oh come ON. Let these women make their little bit of money doing something that makes them happy. Seriously, Mr. Vitale, you DO have more important things to think about. Have the vote and then get on with your “busy and important” life.

  57. Leave it to New Jersey to have this distinction . The Soprano's state haven't figured out yet how to shake down the hardworking Mom's . Put Murphy on it he will do it. NOT. Another dud in a long line of them here. No wonder the state continues to lose citizen's that are fed up with the highest taxes and low return.

  58. This is totally ridiculous. I have to bake my own bread and pastries because the stuff they sell in so-called commercial bakeries is inedible. No surprise we have an obesity epidemic when every American donut has enough sugar for five Venetian cakes. But I also have a full-time job and I’d really appreciate buying baked goods from a home kitchen where I can at least hope bread and cakes don’t taste like the onset of adult diabetes. If this is an example of “regulations”, maybe we should really have fewer of those. Home-cooked food is often sold at fairs and online in Europe and Asia, and it is delicious.

  59. @Mor if home cooks selling food were made to go through ServSafe training, keep records of all their ingredients like commercial places do per FSMA - maybe I'd be convinced. I'm from Asia and consuming home cooked food can be risky - even fatal. Regulations are a necessity when you go to sell to larger numbers of people.

  60. @Vgg I have the servsafe training and the license from Puerto Rico. I try to take the course here at NJ to renovate this one since is near to expire and they do not allow me because I do not work in a commercial kitchen or jobs related

  61. I go to our State Fair ran by a large local church. They have 2 aisles, about 20 booths, and sell all types of food from many countries. And who do I see running these booths ? Teenagers, sometimes even younger. And those very gloves they wear touch everything in their mist, the cash register, condiment bottles, counter tops, customer bills and change and if they have an itch I bet they scratch it. I've been taking my son there since he was 3 and he's eaten all manner of foods. Never got sick from it either.

  62. Can't this woman move to a nearby state? I realize that doesn't solve the problem but would help her to get her son to college!

  63. It's obvious that few of the commenters here have any food service experience. Many here (and in the community of home cooks and bakers) are unaware of how easily food can be contaminated to such a point that it would cause illness. They say "look at all the recalls coming from professional food producers", that's right! It happens even in environments where systematic protections and protocols are well established, so it stands to reason that the risk to the public is increased when food is produced in an uninspected, unlicensed and uninsured environment-especially when the operator is not required to have "Serve-Safe" training and certification. I recall an incident a few years ago where home-made vegetarian rice balls were brought to the Buddhist monastery here in Putnam County and served to hundreds of people. Hundreds of people who traveled from NYC to the event by bus became sick shortly after leaving with vomiting and diarrhea. The busses had to pull over to let people out to be sick on the side of the road. This is especially dangerous to children and the elderly where e coli from such food can lead to liver and kidney damage. ALL people who prepare food to sell to the public should be licensed and insured, and their production facilities should adhere to health department standards that all professionals abide by.

  64. @Greg Miller Those are 1) Already regulated by NY Ag and Markets and probably not made under a HACCP plan and scheduled process as their law dictates 2) High risk And those professional standards aren't abided by nearly as much as you might think Signed, A former food safety auditor

  65. @Greg Miller Rice is as risky as meat. It contains spores that may not be cooked away, and left at room temperature, even briefly, rapidly turns toxic. Still, a cottage food law can exclude foods such as meat, fish, rice, and any other highly risky foods. Cookies usually would not be on that list.

  66. @Greg Miller I agree. I know my state was pretty much forced into going along with it, the Health Dept. had concerns, the non-profit sends out threatening letters. At the local level, the town officials just pass it, they don't put any due diligence into it. I'm a senior and would not purchase any of these cottage foods, also stay away from foods that are often in the news - raw greens, ground meat, and have no interest in fast food places esp those that have been in the news over and over.

  67. For residents of north Jersey who may be interested in selling their culinary creations, there is the kitchen incubator "Garden State Kitchens" in Orange, where you can rent professional kitchen space and equipment by the hour. It's used by many local caterers who don't own their own restaurant. Granted, it costs a few bucks to rent the space, but it works pretty well for the folks who use it. You can visit their website, www.gardenstatekitchen.com.

  68. @Frank the problem is the professional kitchen cost a lot of money that maybe some of the home bakers can not afford because can eat the profit

  69. @Frank Home bakers most likely hold jobs outside of the home and rely on the sale of their home baked goods as a way to supplement their income, not make it the sole source. If that's the case it more than likely doesn't fit into their schedule to be working in a community kitchen. Again, assuming like most businesses the hours they are open are the same as the hours the baker is working at their regular job. Inconvenient, if not impossible.

  70. @Joe I just checked the website of a local place which rents out their kitchen: ========================== Kitchen Availability: The Cafe kitchen is available for rental after operating hours: Monday - Friday - after 9:00pm Saturday - Sunday - after 4:30pm Advance reservation of the kitchen is required Rate: $25/hour, with a 4 hour minimum

  71. Maybe the state is afraid that if they let you sell your own donuts, next you'll want to pump your own gas?

  72. @Jan If New Jersey residents aren't competent enough to pump their own gas, I wouldn't want to buy doughnuts from them, either. They might get fuel on the crullers or crumbs in the tank.

  73. ....if only they could make real hard rolls.

  74. @FenReal hard rolls and baguettes will be your dream wherever you go, except Philly, Nj, and for Baguettes, France.

  75. It sounds harmless, but home cooks are much more difficult to regulate. And to all of you republicans who have a knee-jerk reaction to the word "regulate" - would you ever eat at a restaurant that you knew was never visited by the board of health?

  76. More likely I wouldn’t eat in a place that HAD been visited by the board of health.

  77. It is evident that Mr. Vitale does not serve the interest of all his constituents but his own. It all boils down to his assessment of cost and benefit. Passing legislation on home food sales requires investing time and effort for the benefit of a very small number of constituents/votes, against the risk of political costs if something were to go wrong down the line.

  78. @Jorgeand his opinion that these sales would take away from bakery sales is unfounded. That’s a “pie is only so big” theory. They would reach markets the big guys don’t and probably offer different and customized products. It’s hard when your leaders are small minded.

  79. @Daniel Grasso That's certainly my experience. The home bakers in my area sell small quantities of items that are rarely, if ever, offered by either local bakeries or large commercial manufacturers, things like zuccinni bread and vegan muffins.

  80. I am a subject matter expert in all things food safety smallholder food business. I used to be the base veterinarian at Ft. Monmouth and I tell you, this NJ law is ridiculous. And yes, that is a professional opinion. Why... Because while hazards (such as salmonella, STEC, listeria) are possible, they are really unlikely in home kitchens with low risk products. Allowing home cooks to sell their wares (and yes, pay taxes) is a great way for communities to diversify their business base and bring jobs. Many jobs? Not individually, but collectively, this is a great for an economy. When we support smallholder food business, we support wealth creation and community. So, clearly, NJ has to be against it.

  81. I'm a former New Yorker. This is about NJ. All that's needed is to make a big enough donation to Sen. Vitale. Cash in a paper bag or a no show job for a family member would probably do the trick.

  82. @tommag1 Would a lifetime supply of cake pops do it?

  83. Anyone ever read about a food borne illness from a local bake sale? I certainly haven't.

  84. @Heidi. Just because you have not heard about it does not mean it has not happened.

  85. @Daniel Grasso and yet we hear about food borne illnesses originating at restaurant and food producers quite often.

  86. As a former professional cook I will not buy from bake sales or go to potlucks. I wore latex gloves when I cooked and even though I am retired I still wear latex gloves when I cook. I won't touch meat unless I have both gloves and a clean apron on.

  87. @loosemoose not every one is like you said. I do home bake and a very clean and safety baker. I ware my gloves and specially because I'm a women I use the hairnet. I always sanitize my kitchen and keep my house clean. So is mean if you retired you don't you own food??? LOL

  88. @msilva Men have long hair too ! lol

  89. No, New Jersey is not the only state without a cottage food law. In Rhode Island, you must pay to use a licensed commissary kitchen—there are a few in the state—and go through onerous processes for labeling, packaging, etc. You cannot sell from your property unless you are designated a farm—minimum 5 acres, have a written and graphic agricultural plan submitted to the state, etc—and so if you cook or bake at a commissary kitchen you have to sell at farmers’ markets or get your product in stores. Rhode Island is notorious for arcane laws designed to protect local merchants.

  90. @jer -- sounds like RI does, indeed, have a cottage food law -- several, in fact.

  91. I'm glad New Jersey hasn't permitted home cooking . Retail food needs to be prepared in an inspected kitchen otherwise the risk of food borne illness is enormous! Does this woman wash her hands when necessary? Does she sanitize her surfaces? How can you trust that this food is safe? To the other commenter who stated you never heard of someone getting sick from home cooking the reason is because it's hard to link food borne illness to the source. Norovirus and staph bacteria are 2 of the many, many reasons I would never eat from an unknown source.

  92. @Holly No one forces you to buy food produced by an "unknown source". Just because it is the law does not mean all of the minimum wage employees of restaurants wash as you wish they did. How many of them work while sick because they have no paid sick days? I would never eat at some of these retail establishments. On the other hand, I have a lot more confidence in the cleanliness of many women selling their products out of their kitchens.

  93. and yet I'm guessing you think nothing of eating @ a fast food establish with teenage staff because of course teenagers always do what they're told i.e. wash their hands and handle meat properly. Indeed, teens are very tidy as well. Oh, and how do you know that was one of the cows that was actually inspected, or even where it came from? Or what is even in that burger or nugget ?? See how ridiculous this all starts to sound when we are talking about laws against home cooks making a few extra dollars due to food safety concerns ? Please.

  94. No longer the Garden State, it is now the Nanny State

  95. New Jersey's is simply a governmental organization that doesn't believe in private legal economic freedom. Hence the dominance of corruption and the mob as that is what an over arching government dominace creates. The more powerful and dominant government power the more corruption. It's simply the yin and yan of power.

  96. I owned a food production company for 8 years, thus I am very familiar with food safety procedures, government regulations, and the costs of operating a legal food business. The USDA and other agencies at every government level inspected my plant on a daily basis, and I am glad they did because they helped me run a safe operation. I’m very uncomfortable with buying home-made foods because of the unfair advantage these home operations have and, especially, because of the lack of oversight by inspectors. Just looking at the photograph of the lady and the girl touching with their bare hands the pastries that supposedly will be sold makes me wonder why the other 49 states allow such activity.

  97. @Ricardo You were inspected daily? This is hyperbole. Even decades ago there weren’t enough inspectors to visit every food operation daily.

  98. USDA inspectors come to the plants on a daily basis.

  99. @ Nyla Your reply shows you don’t much about this topic. USDA inspects approved facilities daily.

  100. I had a home-based business for a couple of years in Pennsylvania. We were licensed and inspected by the Department of Agriculture and by the county we live in. We took a food safety class. New Jersey would be better off regulating these people than pretending they don't exist; perhaps then they would wear hairnets and food-safe gloves while handling food. Looking at the pictures of these women casually handling the food they will share with the public (not just their families and friends) is really off-putting. Having a skill (and those are the most clever and adorable cake pops ever) doesn't excuse you from being responsible.

  101. @Naomi Siegel I live at NJ and follow all the protocols how to manage the food because I took the course and have the license from Puerto Rico but any how they treat us as criminal

  102. Stay healthy and keep away from home-made foods, even of seemingly reputable entrepreneurs.

  103. @Tuvw And the foods you eat at home, aren't they "homemade" ? Case Closed

  104. The photos in this article make the case for the need for control. Neither of these cooks are wearing gloves or hair nets. Both are working at what appears to be a dinning room table, one with a small child within easy coughing/sneezing distance. While I applaud their industrious natures, it’s clear from the photos neither of them has a clue about food safety. I’ll pass.

  105. @Jean Sims Sooooo, you cook each and every one of your meals everyday all year round wearing a hair net, etc, etc. Please, mam, have you not heard of "integrity?"

  106. And there's no coughing, sneezing or small children in a bakery ? Most small shops /restaurant employ their own children or at the very least they come by and visit for hours. There are so many stories about just that. And I personally would prefer to eat off of that dining room table than one in an establishment that's been wiped down dozens of times with the same stinky, nasty washcloth !

  107. @Jean Sims The New Jersey lady making the cake pops is not selling them. I don't know a lot of people who wear gloves while baking for family or friends.

  108. Amazing baguettes are baked twice daily at The Cook and the Carpenter Bakeshop in Highland Park, NJ.

  109. And how often is that shop inspected ?

  110. These neighborhood "movers & bakers" don't seem to be making the rounds every time I hear the long list of commercial food recalls making the 24/7 news whirlwind...

  111. More of big brother controlling everyone's lives under the guise of protecting us.... So tell me they going after the boy scouts and girl scouts for selling cakes and pies, and the churches and synagogues? Jersey cant even run their state correctly it is so corrupt... but they have time to go after the little guys

  112. I remember hearing a report about older women in Madrid cooking food for college students. There was no mention of fear of food-born illness.

  113. I was in the kitchen of a commercial restaurant once for a cooking class. The chef/owner had his mother & aunt in the kitchen. I saw the mother lick her hand while prepping food. Thank you for the salmonnella. I'll take a pass.

  114. Have none of you ever gone to a pot luck dinner?

  115. its interesting that all Senator Vitale cares about is are they going to pay taxes. He doesn't seem to care that these are people trying to take their kids to Disney or just trying to supplement their dwindling income.

  116. Everyone commenting here about how much safer they are eating in restaurants that are inspected ONCE A YEAR MAX has clearly never worked in a commercial kitchen before. What on earth makes you think a bunch of usually underpaid and exhausted people are following all the rules? Laughable. Also: everyone knows chefs don’t wear gloves.

  117. @Olivia I've seen how Jacque Pépin cooks on Julia Child's shows, and I don't want him cooking my meals. Unless he wears gloves and gets rid of the rag on his belt that he keeps using to wipe his hands.

  118. If you think chefs and cooks in every restaurant or food business is wearing hair nets and gloves, you are very deluded. And, everything you eat anytime has bacterial organisms in it already. The reason this legislature is being stalled is because the state can't rake home cooks over the coals with high license and certification fees. NJ bureaucracy is vampiric.

  119. State Senator Vitale sounds just like one of the apparatchiks I'm reading about in David Remnick's, "Lenin's Tomb." Personal enterprise is apparently an anathema. Another reason I'm glad I don't live in New Jersey.

  120. Another New Yorker is happy not to live in New Jersey. We could use a lot more people like yourself. The subject, who might be tremendously successful in forty-nine other states, prefers to endure the expense of a lawsuit and the possible sacrifice of achieving her full potential just to remain within our glorious 7836 sq. mi. Like Lenin's Tomb, NJ is 626 pages long. Do you think it prudent to draw conclusions after reading just a few pages? Perhaps you remain unaware of the opportunities available to achieve ecstasy and utter contentment in the Garden State.

  121. Mr. Vitale's photo accompanying the article does not look like he is "consumed" with issues – he is propped up texting. He's so worried about taxes. How is he ensuring anyone with a small cash business in New Jersey is paying their fair share of taxes?

  122. If you think that restaurants in NJ safe, you are wrong. I’m a startup. I was looking to rent a space at professional kitchen (since I can’t start at home) and checking a lot restaurants and bakeries. A commercial kitchen is too expensive for a startup. I was shocked what I saw, my home kitchen would never be like that. I’m lucky to find the cleanest bakery. NJ is worst state for a small businesses

  123. This is what really gets me. “If I could sell these at a Starbucks price, at $2.75 a piece? ................ Howard Shultz spent 40 years growing a company and getting people addicted to his hip alternative to Dunkin Donuts. His marketing savvy, hard work and the creation of desire to visit his spaces led to success. If it wasn't for rent, help, corporate and marketing expenses he could sell the for .99. NJ has surely saved her from certain bankruptcy. The market for her product is so narrow that she would have to give the lions share of profit to a wedding planner or hosting service.

  124. I give credit to NJ, trying to do it right. Many bakeries have a hard time staying in biz, and have many rules to follow. At least I know from a real bake shop they aren't petting their dog or changing diapers while making cookies.

  125. I'm guessing NJ wants a cut..