Statewide standards for cottage food producers could be dead in Idaho for this year since that state’s legislature is headed for an early April adjournment. Opposition from the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare may have derailed House Bill 187, which had won a “do pass” recommendation from the House Health and Welfare Committee. The House, however, opted to send the measure back to committee instead of taking a vote on it. Idaho’s cottage food producers support the bill sponsored by Rep. Clark Kauffman, R-Filer, because they say that the Gem State’s seven local health districts are following different standards when it comes to what can be produced in a home kitchen. They say that HB 187 would simply allow them to continue to produce limited amounts of non-risky food in unlicensed home kitchens, a practice they say Idaho has tacitly allowed for the past 20 years. HB 187 would require cottage food producers to register online with the Idaho Health and Welfare Department, take an online food safety examination, list any potential allergens, and submit their labels for online display. In exchange, home kitchens producing $30,000 or less in gross sales would be exempted from licensing and inspection. Patrick Guzzle, manager of Idaho’s food protection program, says that current law specifically states that the rules do not apply to (cottage foods). Cottage foods produced by home kitchens may sell directly to consumers without any food safety inspection, license or registration requirements, or sales limits. Guzzle insists that HB 187 would go beyond existing practices, while cottage food producers say it is needed to provide them with legal certainty. With the bill back in committee, the parties expect to work on language that might mend their differences as long as there is time to return it to the floor for a vote. However, the department has already scheduled a series of stakeholder meetings around the state that will begin on April 27, after lawmakers have gone home for the year.