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Bill allows home-based food businesses to advertise products online

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(The Center Square) — Gathered with a group of small business owners and legislators, Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin signed what has affectionately come to be known as “the cake pop bill,” a bill lifting some restrictions for certain small food businesses.

The impetus for House Bill 597 was Kelly Phillips. Phillips makes and sells cake pops from home and promoted them on Instagram last year, only to learn she could face serious legal consequences for doing so.

Youngkin lifted the bill as an example of the administration’s commitment to making Virginia business-friendly.

“This legislation represents our commitment to cutting through red tape and creating an environment where entrepreneurs can succeed across the Commonwealth,” Youngkin said. “We’re thrilled to support small businesses like K.P.’s Kake Pops and the countless Virginians just like her in the cottage food industry.”

The bill enables small businesses operating from the seller’s home and selling either pickles or “acidified vegetables that have an equilibrium pH value of 4.6 or lower” or certain items that don’t “require time or temperature control after preparation” – like cake pops – to advertise on the internet. It also exempts such goods from the regular permitting process if they’re sold in person, short-term from the seller’s home, not for resale or consignment and they follow labeling and notice laws.

“More and more consumers throughout the Commonwealth are looking for ways to purchase food products locally,” said Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Matthew Lohr. “HB759 will enable small scale food manufacturers the ability to sell and advertise their low-risk food products to a broader audience.”

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