Baking is a long standing tradition in many homes, but this is something that might surprise you. Selling what you make outside the home is against state law. Now some of Houston's smallest businesses are pushing for a menu of changes at the Capitol, causing critics to raise concerns about public health.
Lawmakers in the House voted Saturday in favor of HB970, known as the Cottage Food Bill.
Megan Rasmussen loves to whip up baked goods and preserves from inside the comfort of her home kitchen. Right now her business, My Chef Megan, is stuck in neutral, unable to expand outside the home.
Fox 26: "Right now anyone who wants to buy from you has to come to your home?"
"That's right. The customer has to come to your house to place the order, pay for the order and pick up," said Rasmussen.
A new bill being debated in Austin would let her and many other home bakers sell at locations outside the home, places like farmers markets, church fairs and similar events.
The food would need to be packaged during transport.
The bill would also expand the list of allowed foods to things like pickles and candy.
"They're not hazardous foods. We're not trying to sell cheesecake and pumpkin pie, things that need to be refrigerated," added Rasmussen.
The Texas Retailers Association is concerned about public health risks.
"Any food if prepared inappropriately could be a risk," said Ronnie Valkening, President of the Texas Retailers Association.
"We are not opposed to people making some income on the side, but as this industry seeks to grow and get more exposure so does the responsibility of being able to ensure they are delivering a safe product," he added.
Valkening says his group is staying neutral on the bill, adding he wants an online database to be able to track home bakers easily in the event of food borne illness before he throws his support behind it.
Rasmussen argues customers already know exactly who made the food and how to find the baker.