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Testing Your Recipes for pH and aW

Foods sold under the Cottage Food Law must be non-potentially hazardous.

The definition of a non-potentially hazardous food is on pages 11-13 of the Texas Food Establishment Rules. There is a chart that you can read to determine whether the combination of pH and water activity (aW) makes that item potentially hazardous or not.

If you have a food that you would like to have tested, there is a company in Texas called Food Safety Net Services which will test a sample of your food for pH and aW for around $36.00, plus a setup fee of $100. (Setup fee waived if lab services total more than $1000, as of Feb. 2014). They have offices in Dallas and San Antonio, and you can either bring in your sample or overnight it on ice.

This is a great resource for Texas home bakers who are wondering if their recipe is allowed under the law.