In October 2021, a new Cottage Food Regulation (N.J.A.C. 8:24-11) was adopted by the New Jersey Department of Health which legalized the sale of baked goods and other prepared foods by individuals to individuals. It was previously illegal to sell home baked goods unless they were prepared in a commercial kitchen. Now the person dreaming of starting a cupcake side hustle can do so.
However, honey was included in this regulation, making it so a person needs a permit to “relinquish” or sell honey. A beekeeper in NJ cannot sell the surplus honey that he or she harvests unless they operate with a cottage food permit and have fewer than fifty thousand dollars in sales, or work out of a commercial kitchen. The sale of honey through a third party is also illegal unless the beekeeper uses a commercial kitchen.
In December, a replacement bill that was unanimously passed by both houses of the legislature would have amended the Department of health regulation but it was pocket vetoed by Governor Murphy in the last day of the 2020-2021 legislative session, which killed the bill, leaving most beekeepers operating outside of the Department of Health regulations.
– Patrick Harrison