Area SC lawmakers push 'cottage food' trend

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COLUMBIA -- South Carolina is on the verge of joining more than two-dozen other states that have legalized home bakeries.

Aiken and Edgefield lawmakers have led the Palmetto State effort by introducing and cosponsoring legislation to allow South Carolinians to sell their homemade desserts to other individuals. Advocates say it’s a practice that is already being done in violation of the law. The bill covers homemade candy and baked goods that aren’t susceptible to microorganism growth.

“It’s a South Carolina tradition, an American tradition,” said Rep. Bill Clyburn, D-Aiken, who cosponsored the House version, H. 4689, along with his Edgefield County colleague Rep. Bill Hixon, R-North Augusta, and others.

“It’s not like you’re selling 50 cakes a day,” added Clyburn. “So that’s why I was very much in favor of that. I’d like to see that continue.”

In January a handful of women from across the state, including Sheryl Brousseau of Edgefield, attended a Senate subcommittee meeting to advocate for Sen. Shane Massey’s bill, S. 1035, which was the original effort to pass a “cottage foods” law. The Edgefield Republican introduced his bill in December.

The legislation would require, in effect, homemade desserts to bear an eat-at-you-own-risk sticker, lettered in all capitals and contrasting with the label’s background, that says the product is not for resale and that it was not subject to state food safety regulations.

In January when testimony was being taken at in a subcommittee, Debra Graybeal of Liberty told senators that she and her husband, an educator, could use a new income stream to help their family.

“People are doing it out of their homes now, but there’s always the risk of being shut down,” Graybeal said.

Massey’s bill received a 34-0 vote in the Senate last week, but the House version is closer to becoming law, having passed the House and received a key 35-0 vote in the Senate on last Thursday.

On Wednesday of this week, a change.org petition in favor of a South Carolina “cottage food” law had collected 1,323 names.


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