Cottage Food Laws

 

What are Cottage Food Laws?

Are there any special qualifications to operate a Cottage Food Business?

Which states have Cottage Food Laws?

Which states have restricted Home Food Processing Regulations?

Which states have Pending Legislation for Cottage Food Laws?

Which states have Petitions for Cottage Food Laws?

Which states currently have no Cottage Food Laws or Exemptions?

Interested in starting a Cottage Food Law petition in your state?

 

What are Cottage Food Laws?

Cottage Food Laws (sometimes referred to as Home-Food Processing Rules, Cottage Food Rules and Baker’s Bills) govern food preparation businesses that are operated from the home.  Cottage Food laws allow a person to legally bake and prepare non-potentially hazardous foods from their personal kitchens and sell them on a small scale, generally directly to consumers, farmers markets and in a very few states sales are allowed to restaurants and grocery stores.  Note:  Cottage Food Laws have not been approved in all states (See states’ info below).  In the states where laws have been approved, the laws, rules and regulations vary.    They can be restrictive and limiting.

 

Are there any special qualifications to operate a Cottage Food Business?

YES, in most states.  As with any other food preparation business (retail, wholesale, big business or small business), laws and regulations are put in place to govern and protect the consumer.  The same goes for the home food processing industry.  In most states, to get approval of a Cottage Food Kitchen some type of kitchen inspection is required, possibly a zoning clearance/permit and maybe the purchase of a business license.  Keeping in mind that not all states have the same laws, rules, regulations and requirements, here are some of the things you might expect concerning restrictions and the qualifying process:

 

1)  Generally, a permit, license or some type of approval from at least one of the following is required:  local zoning department, department of agriculture, department of health or business license office.

 

2)  Generally, only non-potentially hazardous foods are approved for preparation in a cottage kitchen business.  Cottage Food Laws generally allow preparation of baked goods such a cakes, cookies, pies (certain types restricted), and breads.  Jams, jellies, nut mixes, dry mixes, granola, popcorn, and certain types of candy are usually allowed.  Finished products that are not shelf-stable, (meaning they require refrigeration or freezing) are usually not approved.  The specific products that are allowed or not allowed in each state will vary.  For a list, contact your local or state department of health or department of agriculture.

 

3)  Generally, product sales are limited to consumers/individuals.  Generally, no sales allowed to restaurants, cafés, coffee shops, caterers, hotels, etc.  In other words, no sales allowed to businesses that will resell your products.  With that said, not all states carry the wholesale stipulation.

 

4)  Generally, you are not allowed to sell products online.  You can however, operate a website for advertising and marketing purposes.  No shopping carts are allowed on your site.  Additionally, out-of-state sales are not permitted.

 

5)  Some states limit the sales of home processed foods to farmers markets, bake sales and charity events.

 

6)  Some states limit/cap the dollar amount of sales you are allowed per year.  Annual sales allowed can range from $5,000 to $50,000.

 

7)  Some states will not allow pets in the home or carpet on the kitchen floor.

 

8)  Most states require product labels that must be prepared according to the state’s specifications.  Label information usually includes:  all ingredients used in the product, the name of the person who prepared the product, the address where it was prepared and possibly more.  Additionally, a disclaimer which states that the product has not been prepared in an inspected kitchen/facility might be required.

 

These are just a few details of the Cottage Foods Laws and how they operate.  As mentioned earlier, laws will vary state-to-state.  Your first task as a potential cottage-food business operator is to find out exactly what’s required in your state, district or county. Typically, the department of health or the department of agriculture governs, approves and oversees cottage food businesses.  If your state allows any type of home-food processing business, information can be found on this page in one of the categories.

 

States with Cottage Food Laws

Click on highlighted information for specific information on each state’s laws and regulations.  For more information, contact your state or local Department of Health or Department of Agriculture.

 

Arizona

Bill passed July 2011

Click for information on Home Baking Goods Program.

 

Arkansas

Bill passed February 2011

Click for information on Cottage Food Bill.

Click for What the Cottage Food Law Allows .

 

California

Bill passed September 21, 2012.  Became effective January 1, 2013.

Click for information on Cottage Food Bill .

Click for Cottage Food Start-up Procedures .

Click for Q&A with Explanations of Food Bill.

 

Colorado

Bill passed on March 15, 2012

Click for “Cottage Food Act” Fact Sheet .

 

Florida

Bill passed June 2011

Click for information on Cottage Food Legislation .

 

Georgia

Bill passed September 2012

Click for information on Cottage Food Regulations .

Click for Cottage Food:  Frequently Asked Questions .

Click for Cottage Food Establishment License Application .

Click for Brochure on Starting A Cottage Food Business .

 

Iowa

Click for information on Cottage Food Rules.

 

Maine

Bill passed December 1980

Click for information on Home-Food Processing Rules.

 

Massachusetts

Bill passed December 2008

Click for information on Cottage Food Rules.

 

Michigan

Bill passed July 2010

Click for Cottage Foods Information.

 

Missouri

Rules and regulations differ from county to county.

Click for a listing of all counties.

Then click on your county for contact information.

 

New Hampshire

Bill passed 2011 – currently in the process of updates

Click for information on Homestead Kitchen Rules.

 

New Mexico

Law amended January 2010

Click for information on Home-based Food Processing.

 

North Carolina

Click for information on Cottage Food Rules.

 

Ohio

Click for information on Cottage Food Rules.

Click for Fact Sheet

 

Oregon

Click for information on Domestic Kitchen Rules.  

 

Pennsylvania

Click for information on Home Food Processing Rules.

 

South Carolina

Bill Signed by Governor on June 7, 2012

Click for information on Cottage Food Rules.

 

South Dakota

Bill passed March 2011

Click for information on Cottage Food Law.

 

Tennessee

Click for Tennessee’s Regulations for Domestic Kitchens.

 

Texas

Bill passed June 2011

Click for information on Baker’s Law.

Click for Cottage Food Q&A

 

Utah

Click for information on Cottage Food Rules.

 

Vermont

Click for information on Home Bakery Rules.

 

Virginia

Rules revised 1999

Click for information on Cottage Food Rules.

 

Washington State

Law amended April 2011

Click for information on Cottage Food Law.

 

Wyoming

Law effective July 2009

Click for information on Cottage Law Requirements.

 

 

States with Restricted Home-Food Processing

The following states have no official “Cottage Food Laws”; but do have laws or exemptions that will allow very restricted Home Food Processing (also referred to as Domestic Kitchens, Home-Based Vendor Program and Homestead Kitchens).  The majority of these states have very narrow allowances like…selling only at farmers markets, road-side stands, charity events or bake sales.

 

Alabama

Rules revised April 2009

Alabama allows home processed foods to be sold only at farmers markets

Click here for guide on Home Processed Food and Farmers Markets.

Click here for How to Start a Food Processing business.

 

Idaho

Idaho’s seven health districts operate as independent agencies.  Each district responds to local needs.  Click for the Department of Health and Welfare, and then click on your district for specific information.

 

Illinois

Bill passed August 2011, effective January 2012

Click for information on Cottage Food Rules .

If you have any questions, comments, or concerns please feel free to contact Wes King at wes@ilstewards.org or 217-528-1563.

 

Indiana

Bill passed June 2009

Click for information on Home-Based Vendor Program.

 

Kentucky

Home Processing of Products Bill enacted March 2003

Click for House Bill rules and regulations.

 

Nebraska

Nebraska allows sales only at farmers market.

Click for Guidelines for Farmers Markets

 

New York

Rules revised January 2012

Click for information on Home Food Processors Rules.

 

Maryland

Maryland allows sales only from a farm kitchen, farmer’s markets and bakes sales.

Click for Maryland’s Department of Health.

 

Mississippi

Mississippi allows sales at farmers markets only.

Click for Mississippi’s Department of Agriculture.

 

West Virginia

Click for Farmer’s Market Vendor Guide.

Contact:  Teresa Halloran 304-558-2210 for specifics on rules and start up procedure.

 

 

States with Pending Cottage Food Laws

For updates, contact your state Department of Health, Department of Agriculture or the sponsor of the bill.

 

Alaska

Alaska is in the process of getting Cottage Food Regulations.  For more information and progress reports, contact:

Lorinda Lhotka

Environmental Program Manager I

Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation

610 University Ave

Fairbanks, AK 99709

Phone:  (907) 451-2119

 

Hawaii

Hawaii has submitted a cottage food bill to the state legislature.  It is going through the legislative process.

Click for information on House Bill 100

 

Wisconsin

Wisconsin’s “Cookie Bill”, much like a Cottage Food Law, has just been submitted for co-sponsorship by Wisconsin Representatives Ed Brooks and Janis Ringhand, LRB 1126/1, which will be similar to their “Pickle Bill”.

Click for information on Wisconsin’s Cookie Bill.

For anyone that’s interested, Wisconsin currently has a “Pickle Bill” that covers processing of home canned foods.

Click for information on Wisconsin’s Pickle Bill.

 

 

States with Cottage Food Law Petitions

The following states have petitions for cottage food laws.  If you haven’t signed, follow the link(s) for the desired state(s), take a moment to read the petition and consider joining.

 

Connecticut

Connecticut’s Petition

 

Delaware

Delaware’s Petition .

 

Louisiana

Louisiana’s Petition

 

Minnesota

Minnesota’s Petition

 

Nevada

Nevada’s Petition

 

New Jersey

New Jersey’s Petition

 

New York

New York’s Petition

 

Oklahoma

Oklahoma’s Petition

 

 

States with No Cottage Food Law or Initiative

 

Kansas

North Dakota

Montana

Rhode Island

 

 

Start a Cottage Food Law Petition in Your State

Complete how-to-instructions on starting and promoting a cottage food law petition can be found at www.change.org

Much success with your petition!