Illegal Tamales? What the ‘Cottage Law’ in Texas Means for You
We all want to make sure the food we're eating is safe.
That's why we pay attention to things like the 'Clean Plate Award', and if the restaurant we plan to visit got a good report from the health inspector.
Illegal Tamales in Texas
However, thousands of people on social media got upset when the health department of Ector County in West Texas confiscated 25 dozen tamales last week from a couple selling them out of their vehicle. Apparently, no one likes the loss of a good tamale source!
The 'hot tamales' were seized because the pair did not have a license to sell them, and according to KXAN, this isn't their first offense.
Cottage Law in Texas
According to farmandranchfreedom.org, cottage food producers are people making food in home kitchens without a license. Each state has different regulations about the kinds of food that vendors can sell.
The general idea behind those laws? To keep you safe from foodborne illnesses caused by high-risk and home canned goods. Before 2011, it was illegal to sell any food that had been made in a home kitchen, and cottage food regulations determine exactly what homemade goods can be sold to the public in Texas.
What is Illegal to Sell Without a Food License?
Here are the foods that cannot legally be sold under the Texas Cottage Law:
- Meat, poultry, seafood products, and beef jerky (Jerky is shelf-stable, but because it is a meat-based product means that it is subject to USDA regulations and cannot be within the state’s cottage food law)
- Dairy products
- Raw seed sprouts
- Baked goods that require refrigeration (cheesecake, tres leches cake, pumpkin pie, and meringue pies)
- Beverages: juices, coffee, tea, etc. (coffee beans and tea bags are allowed, but not ready-to-serve beverages)
- Ice products
- Any food that needs time or temperature control to prevent the growth of bacteria
Animal and pet food is not included in the cottage food law, and is regulated by the Office of the Texas State Chemist Feed and Fertilizer Control Service.