Homemade Foods - What Are Cottage Food Laws?



There are certain laws in place to protect the public and the amateur salesperson when there is an interaction of sale for homemade products. It is crucial for the homemade seller to know how these laws apply, what they are and how to ensure adherence to avoid possible liability issues and violations that can cost the amateur salesperson all his or her profits.

Regulations in Cottage Food Guidelines

When an entity sells or produces processed foods, both state and federal regulations govern the guidelines that the person must adhere to in these situations. There are different laws based on the state, and each location requires a specialist attached to advise the person or company on how to properly proceed through these sales and productions. While some states have farmer’s markets to sell select foods, others prohibit any sale like this at all. These involve cottage food laws. The department of health in the area will oversee cottage food businesses and how the laws will require or not require a licensed kitchen to produce the product.

The Smaller Town Sales

There are many states that permit a person to sell at a farmer’s market or even on a roadside when the product does not require refrigeration of any kind. There is no need to use a licensed kitchen or for inspections to take place. The only requirement for these homemade sellers is to label the weight, volume, name and address on the product. The label should also include that the item is a home-produced product with all the ingredients on the bottle or jar. Without further processes, these sellers cannot use acidified, pickled, pressured like canning or refrigeration products.

Cottage Food Connection

When the homemade product falls under the Cottage Food laws, the individual selling it can also legally bake and prepare other foods in home kitchens and still sell them small scale. This can include selling to restaurants and even grocery stores. However, if there is no connection to Cottage Food, this could affect how the person accomplishes this. He or she may still have the opportunity to sell commercially, but the homemade seller may need to take a startup approach instead. It is important for those in these states to know what Cottage Food laws are and how they affect the ability to sell locally.

Cottage Food Laws Requirements

Most states require approval for use in a home kitchen when the matter involves Cottage Food laws. The requirements often vary by state and are constantly changing through the years. Some requirements affect the size and form of the kitchen. There is frequently an inspection necessary to check for clearance in zoning or a local permit from the zoning department. Others need to contact the local department of agriculture or health. Other states require a business license for Cottage Food sales. Prohibitions extend to all manner of pets in the home or kitchen when creating products for sale.

Applications of Cottage Food Laws

The laws involving Cottage Food applies to the individual. Generally, this involves the homemade products created in home kitchens or the private house of a person that does not commercially sell something. However, these laws can also apply to small businesses, farms and home-based businesses no matter how wide the sales go. Each state may have variations of these laws, but they generally apply to certain goods that a person makes at home. Sales can extend to the local area, town, city or even across the state. Cottage Food laws may stop when this person enters the national scale, but then other requirements take over that may demand that the seller use commercial-grade equipment and kitchens.

The goods affected usually come from smaller locations and kitchens. These can include baked goods in the varieties of cakes, pies, breads and cookies. Often, these baked goods are in non-commercial grade packages. Others can include jams and jellies, dry cakes and even cookie mixes. Dry mixes with nuts, cereals, granola and popcorn can apply. This may include some candies as well. Most requirements apply rules that restrict the seller to only local or individual interaction that excludes most businesses. However, there are variations that may include business sales.

Legal Support for Cottage Food Laws

When a person is a homemade seller, he or she will usually need a lawyer to help with violations or to prevent consequences for liability concerns or in violating the state laws. The individual selling in this manner will need legal support to adhere to Cottage Food laws.


Provided by HG.org




Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication at the time it was written. It is not intended to provide legal advice or suggest a guaranteed outcome as individual situations will differ and the law may have changed since publication. Readers considering legal action should consult with an experienced lawyer to understand current laws and.how they may affect a case.

Find a Lawyer