ALABAMA — Friday marked the official start of summer and few things say summer more than lemonade stands! It’s a hallmark tradition of American childhood and it’s illegal in the state of Alabama.
The Yellowhammer state isn’t alone. According to Country Time Lemonade, only 15 states allow lemonade stands.
And if officials find yours, the Alabama Department of Public Health says they will shut it down.
“If someone makes us aware of it, we would investigate and go to the location and explain the requirements of the law to the individuals… or probably their parents,” says Public Health Environmental Supervisor Cheryl Clay.
Cheryl Clay works for the Madison County Health Department. She says the department isn’t trying to make you sour, it’s just trying to keep people safe.
“You are handling an unpackaged food, being the lemons, ice, things like that. Hand hygiene does come into play. Improper hand hygiene is a big contributor to foodborne illness outbreaks,” says Clay.
The lemonade mix company Country Time has started a national campaign to legalize lemonade stands.
Country Time Legal-Ade is helping children across the country pay for permit fees and fines on their lemonade stands. It’s even encouraging people to contact state representatives to lobby for the laws to be appealed.
“Our rules come from the Bureau of Environmental Services in Montgomery. So if they make a ruling that it is permitted, then it would be up to them to let us know how to check on that,” says Clay.
Clay says typically the health department would just issue an order to stop operations. It typically does not issue fines.
Clay says people can consider the Cottage Food Production law to replace lemonade stands.
These are the requirements:
- produces a non-time/temperature control for safety baked good, a canned jam, jelly, or dried herb or herb mix, or a candy for sale at the person’s home
- has an annual gross income of $20,000 or less from the sale of food from the cottage food operation
- sells the food produced in a cottage food operation only directly to customers, excluding internet sales
- has maintained certification by having attended and passed a food safety course approved by the health department
- label all goods produced with: name and address of the cottage food production operation; a statement that the food is not inspected by the health department
“In the last few years, we had the Cottage Law come up. If you have a certain credential where you take a simple food safety class that meets our requirements and submit some paperwork to us, it is now allowed,” says Clay.
The Madison County Health Department says if anyone has questions about the legality of having a lemonade stand to contact the Alabama Department of Public Health.