“Church Lady Bill” alters food safety requirements
Minnesota statute now exempts faith-based organizations from the need to obtain a food license—but there are a few conditions. This change in law, deemed the “Church Lady Bill,” took effect on August 1, 2011.
When is your organization exempt?
In many situations under this new bill, your worship center will not need to obtain a food license.
Exempt from licensure is:
- Food served at weddings, fellowship meals or funerals that are conducted by a faith-based organization using any building that is constructed and primarily used for religious worship or education.
- It is acceptable to give away leftover food from these gatherings as long as safety measures are taken. When packaging leftovers, be sure to use food grade containers that have been properly washed, rinsed and sanitized. Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold, and make sure they are promptly and properly stored.
- Food served at fundraisers or community events that are conducted in the building or on the grounds of a faith-based organization, provided that a certified food manager or a volunteer trained in a food safety course trains the food preparation workers in safe food handling practices.
The Church Lady Bill allows faith-based organizations to serve home-prepared food at their events, including bake sales and potlucks, without the need for a food license.
Some situations still require food licenses — no matter what
Food served in any of the environments below is still not exempt under the changes in the law and a license is required. This list is not all-inclusive.
- Schools and day cares
- Camps and lodging facilities
- Organization booths at the Minnesota State Fair or county fairs
Training volunteers in food safety
Although the bill does not state what specifically constitutes food safety training, the Minnesota Department of Health provides a list of food safety training resources on their website at http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/eh/food/fmc/courses.html.
For more information on this new bill and how it applies to your organization’s food events, visit:
For a complete collection of the Risk Alert series, click here.