HARTFORD – State Representative Irene Haines (R-34) voted in favor of SB 233 ‘An Act Concerning Cottage Food Products and the Production of Honey and Maple Syrup’ on Thursday evening May 30th.
The legislation would exempt Connecticut producers of maple syrup and honey from the state’s Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act which is overseen by the Department of Consumer Protection. Instead, under this bill producers would be regulated by the Department of Agriculture.
The Department of Agriculture is the most appropriate agency to set regulations for our farm producers,” said Rep. Haines. “In our region, there is renewed interest in farming and bringing natural and native products to market. Growing cottage producers and small or family farms are part of what makes Connecticut a beautiful state to live in. This legislation makes it so much easier for our agricultural businesses to grow and thrive.
Connecticut Farm Bureau Executive Director and now Commissioner of Agriculture Bryan Hurburt testified before the Environment Committee, “Passage of this proposal would provide clarity and certainty to these operations as to how they are regulated and how they can continue their operation… The FDA considers maple syrup and maple candy low-risk products. It is unclear why the Department of Consumer Protection has taken an interest in these products given their relative safety.”
Westbrook maple syrup producers, John and Bonnie Hall who operate the Maple Breeze Farm noted in their testimony, “If we had to construct, or transport sap to a commercially approved facility, it would be cost-prohibitive for our operation. We feel that maple syrup has been produced on farms like ours in Connecticut and New England safely for almost four hundred years and should not be over-regulated.”
The legislation was passed unanimously by the Environment Committee, the State Senate, and the House of Representatives. The bill awaits approval by the Governor in order to go into effect on October 1st, 2019.