Gov. Kevin Stitt signed the newly-amended Homemade Food Freedom Act during a ceremony at the Capitol Wednesday.
The act, also referred to as House Bill 1032, was previously known as the Home Bakery Act of 2013. The amendments made to the act will reduce restrictions placed on home bakeries, which some local bakers, like Doug Eckert, are thankful for.
“There’s so many opportunities that I have now with this new bill that will open up the ability to make even more money if I choose to do so by where I can sell,” Eckert, Grandma Doug’s Bakery owner, said.
Grandma Doug’s was established about three and a half years ago, but Eckert’s love for baking originated long before then.
“I started making them because I like to eat them,” he said.
As his year-round sweet creations took-off, Eckert began to learn more about the laws that surround home bakeries. Compared to other states, Oklahoma had a fairly open policy when it came to home bakeries, he discovered.
However, some restrictions were still present, such as where home bakers could sell and how much money they could make.
There was a $20,000 cap on how much they could make.
Americans for Prosperity, a social welfare organization, arrived on the scene when the first versions of the bill were being developed in 2020. With 35 chapters in states across the nation, the group advocates for limited government, entrepreneurship, free markets and more.
“From my point of view, there’s nothing more un-American than a cap on how much you make for your business,” Adam Maxey, Americans for Prosperity deputy state director, said.
While the group aimed to remove the cap completely, they settled at $75,000.
Before the amendments, Eckert could only sell out of his home and at farmer’s markets. Now, he can sell at third party vendors and online by shipping to other states.
“If a coffee shop wants to sell Doug’s cookies, they can buy them wholesale from him,” Maxey said. “It helps these businesses grow.”
People who also grow certain herbs, like oregano, can now sell them. Labeling changes also came with the amendments.
Bakers must now list the name and phone number of the producer, the address where the product was produced, the product’s description, ingredients, an allergen statement and a disclaimer stating the product was produced in a private residence, exempting it from federal government licensing and inspection.
All home bakers must also take a food handling course, which they can complete online or at agricultural extension office.
“I appreciate the fact they put in some health and safety stipulations just because it makes it better for everyone participating in this,” Eckert said.
One compromise made with legislators was removing meat, poultry and fish from being sold by home bakers.
The act will go into effect Nov. 1.
“We just see this as a way for entrepreneurs to grow, especially coming out of the pandemic with folks who lost their job,” Maxey said.
While Eckert aims to keep his bakery as a side business as he finishes real estate school, he is pleased to know more doors of possibilities are open because of the changes.
“It gives me an opportunity to bless others,” Eckert said. “That’s what I love about it.”
People can view Eckert’s baked goods by visiting @GrandmaDoug on Facebook.