On May 4th Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper signed Senate Bill 58 (SB 58) into law. The measure is a significant step in improving Colorado’s local food economy and providing more income opportunities for family farms and artisan producers.
Colorado previously had one of the most restrictive laws in the country governing on-farm poultry processing. Federal law (Public Law 90-492) allows the states to exempt from inspection (when slaughtering and process is taking place) poultry producers processing up to 1,000 birds each year on the farm and/or a second-tier exemption where producers are processing up to 20,000 birds each year on the farm. Colorado was one of the few states that had adopted neither exemption; only on-farm slaughter for the producer’s own consumption was allowed in the state.
SB 58 adopts the 1,000-bird exemption with minimal regulation; producers under that exemption are only subject to recordkeeping and labeling requirements. The new law also adopts the 20,000-bird exemption and requires producers wanting to operate under that exemption to obtain a license from the Colorado Department of Agriculture. For now, both producers under the 1,000- and 20,000-bird exemption can sell only direct to consumers, but the bill calls for the department to meet with stakeholders “to develop a regulatory framework for the processing of poultry” to be sold to retail food establishments (e.g., restaurants, grocery stores).
In the cottage food section of the bill, SB 58 exempts from any regulation sales from a home kitchen to the “informed end consumer” and expands what can be sold under the Colorado Cottage Food law to allow any “non-potentially hazardous foods” (foods subject to time and temperature control), including pickled fruits and vegetables. Previously, the Colorado State Board of Health could issue regulations governing the production and sale of pickled vegetables, but SB 58 takes that power away from the board. Annual sales of cottage foods by the producer are limited to $10,000 per product. The only requirements are that the producer take a food safety course and inform the customer that the product “is not licensed, regulated or inspected.”
The new law goes into effect immediately. Congratulations to supporters of Senate Bill 58.
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