California’s new Homemade Food Act has opened a door for anyone who wants to make a living off of selling their home-cooked goods—and it’s all thanks to a renegade baker named Mark Stambler.
Prior to the act, it was illegal for anyone to sell homemade food in California. The prohibition was meant to protect people from consuming unsafe foods, but it was bad for local entrepreneurs who wanted to sell food made from home. Stambler had been baking in his Los Angeles home for decades, but in 2011, he was forced to stop for 18 months after the Health Department caught wind of a Los Angeles Times profile of Stambler’s homemade French bread that he sold in stores.
For the next year and a half, the baker crusaded against the homemade food restriction. With the help of Assemblyman Mike Gatto and local support, Stambler was able to draft the California Homemade Food Act that would allow anyone to sell food if they first passed a food safety course and used proper labeling.
California Gov. Jerry Brown gave his stamp of approval last month and said the act would “make it easier for people to do business in California.” Indeed, Forbes reports that Stambler’s efforts have allowed more than 12,000 California businesses to sell their homemade food legally. So far, county health departments have yet to hear a single complaint. Now that’s a win for California’s local food movement.