When Is Cooking at Home Illegal?

Moneybox
A blog about business and economics.
March 26 2012 1:56 PM

When Is Cooking at Home Illegal?

Dafna Kory first sold her homemade jalapeño jam at a clandestine farmers market in San Francisco. The jam was a hit and so was the Underground Farmers Market that brought it to consumers. But the market was shut down by the Department of Public Health because the sellers did not comply with city and state regulations.
Their crime? Most of the vendors produced their products in home kitchens.
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See Emily Voigtlander's piece for much more on this, but the question I always have about bans on commercial sale of home kitchen output is if these home kitchens are so unsafe then how is it that we're allowed to use them at all? I eat food cooked in my own kitchen all the time, and even serve it to friends and family on a fairly regular basis. It seems like there should be some kind of standard as to what constitutes a safe facility to cook in, but if it's safe it's safe.

Matthew Yglesias is the executive editor of Vox and author of The Rent Is Too Damn High.

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