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Cottage Food Laws

Cottage Food Laws are your key to starting a business from your own kitchen – legally and without the typical licensing headaches that a full-fledged commercial kitchen requires.

In many states, the Cottage Food rules can be applied the same day that you hear about it – and you can begin selling your creations immediately.

What are cottage food laws and regulations?

Cottage food regulations or even cottage food acts are the rules, regulations but more importantly… the legal – LOOPHOLES so that about anyone with a kitchen in their home can legally cook, bake and or prepare foods and sell it to the general public.

This without the expense of a commercial kitchen or restaurant and often the overwhelming licensing that come along with those ventures.

What Is Considered Cottage Food?

Cottage food are the foods, deserts, breads, jams, jellies among others – that you can legally cook, bake and prepare from your kitchen and then sell to the general public.

What Is Typically Allowed

Cottage foods (in most states) include:

  • Cakes
  • Cookies
  • Cupcakes
  • Pies
  • Breads
  • Jams
  • Jellies
  • Preserves
  • Pie Fillings
  • Dry Nuts
  • Dry Cereals
  • Granola
  • Popcorn
  • Kettle Corn
  • Dry Cake Mixes
  • Bread Mixes (Dry)
  • Dry Cookie Mixes
  • Candy / Candies
  • Coffee

Every state restricts you from making at home and selling potentially hazardous and temperature controlled foods (TCS) foods.

What Are Potentially Hazardous Foods?

Potentially hazardous foods are foods that must be kept at a particular temperature to minimize the growth of food poisoning bacteria that may be in the food, or to stop the formation of toxins.

Examples of potentially hazardous foods include:

  • raw and cooked meat, or foods containing meat such as casseroles, curries and lasagna

  • dairy products such as milk, custard and dairy‐based desserts

  • seafood (excluding live seafood)

  • processed or cut fruits and vegetables, such as salads

  • cooked rice and pasta

  • foods containing egg, beans, nuts or other protein‐rich food such as quiche and soy products

  • foods that contain any of the above foods including sandwiches and rolls.

There are exceptions for example: many non-potentially hazardous foods contain eggs but have been mixed in and cooked.

Using the list below, you can find what your state allows and any exceptions to the above list of potentially hazardous foods.

Is Coffee A Cottage Food?

In some states, coffee is allowed to be roasted and sold from your home providing you meet and or follow the states laws for labeling, storage, packaging, processing.

For more information please select your state from our list to quickly find out the rules in your state.

Cottage Food Laws - Teacher Makes It Baking

Is Popcorn A Cottage Food?

Some foods in many states are even easier for sales from your home and even elsewhere.

For example, in North Carolina, popcorn and kettle corn are managed by the Agriculture Department and require no interaction with the state’s health department.

You could legally begin selling popcorn / kettle corn today as long as you follow the safety and sales rules which are very simple. So, yes… popcorn is a cottage food and more!

How Do I Get A Cottage Food License/Permit?

Most states have cottage food regulations that allow anyone to start baking and cooking from their own home.

Some states have simplified the cottage law rules to allow more people entry into the cottage food industry.

Some states have no license or permit requirements to get started which means that you could start cooking / baking and making money right now.

If your state requires a cottage food permit or cottage food license, it’s typically – at worst a simple process that can include: (vary by state – see your state cottage food regulations here)

  • a basic application
  • a statement of no pets in home or blocked from kitchen area
  • food safety course online (usually an hour or two at most)
  • a walkthrough inspection of your kitchen to ensure there are no food safety hazards

What Permits/License Do I Need To Sell Food From Home?

A Business License For Starting A Cottage Food Business

Most cities, counties, states require some sort of business license regardless of what type of business you are starting.

However, there are some states that require no business license at all when starting a cottage food business. (see below by clicking your state)

Cottage Food Legislation

Most state lawmakers have seen the immense benefits of backing cottage food legislation to create a cottage food industry to help anyone get started in the food service industry.

The cottage food rules have allowed farmers to sell from their homes, future restaurant owners to start from home, future food cart operators and food truck owners to all start from their own home kitchens.

I interviewed a single mother in Washington State who was making cupcakes from her tiny kitchen and making a great living. It wasn’t long after the interview she opened a cupcake bakery in town.

That is the goal of these states and why some have put income limits on the process.

Cottage Food Laws - Home Baking Profits

WHAT ARE THE LIMITS ON TOTAL SALES?

Some states set limits on the amount of money you are allowed to make annually before you must stop or convert to a commercial business.

Folks using the these laws to start have ways to work around some of the limiting restrictions.

  • Business owner changes from husband to wife or from mom to child

  • Much of this business is cash… (so you can imagine, not all that gets reported)

Ultimately, states have created a cottage food industry to help folks get started without the extreme expenses of starting a full fledged retail food business.

Cottage Food Laws by State

ALABAMA

Click here for: Alabama cottage food regulations, rules, codes and how to start a cottage food business in Alabama

ALASKA

Click here for: Alaska cottage food regulations, rules, codes and how to start a cottage food business in Alaska

ARIZONA

Click here for: Arizona cottage food regulations, rules, codes and how to start a cottage food business in Arizona

ARKANSAS

Click here for: Arkansas cottage food regulations, rules, codes and how to start a cottage food business in Arkansas

CALIFORNIA

Click here for: California cottage food regulations, rules, codes and how to start a cottage food business in California

COLORADO

Click here for: Connecticut cottage food regulations, rules, codes and how to start a cottage food business in Connecticut

CONNECTICUT

Click here for: Colorado cottage food regulations, rules, codes and how to start a cottage food business in Colorado

DELAWARE

Click here for: Delaware cottage food regulations, rules, codes and how to start a cottage food business in Delaware

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

Click here for: DC cottage food regulations, rules, codes, laws and how to start a cottage food business in District of Columbia

FLORIDA

Click here for: Florida cottage food regulations, rules, codes, laws and how to start a cottage food business in Florida

GEORGIA

Click here for: Georgia cottage food regulations, rules, codes, laws and how to start a cottage food business in Georgia

HAWAII

Click here for: Hawaii cottage food regulations, rules, codes, laws and how to start a cottage food business in Hawaii

IDAHO

Click here for: Idaho cottage food regulations, rules, codes, laws and how to start a cottage food business in Idaho

ILLINOIS

Click here for: Illinois cottage food regulations, rules, codes, laws and how to start a cottage food business in Illinois

INDIANA

Click here for: Indiana cottage food regulations, rules, codes, laws and how to start a cottage food business in Indiana

IOWA

Click here for: Iowa cottage food regulations, rules, codes, laws and how to start a cottage food business in Iowa

KANSAS

Click here for: Kansas cottage food regulations, rules, codes, laws and how to start a cottage food business in Kansas

KENTUCKY

Click here for: Kentucky cottage food regulations, rules, codes, laws and how to start a cottage food business in Kentucky

LOUISIANA

Click here for: Louisiana cottage food regulations, rules, codes, laws and how to start a cottage food business in Louisiana

MAINE

Click here for: Maine cottage food regulations, rules, codes and how to start a cottage food business in Maine

MARYLAND

Click here for: Maryland cottage food regulations, rules, codes and how to start a cottage food business in Maryland

MASSACHUSETTS

Click here for: Massachusetts cottage food regulations, rules, codes and how to start a cottage food business in Massachusetts

MICHIGAN

Click here for: Michigan cottage food regulations, rules, codes and how to start a cottage food business in Michigan

MINNESOTA

Click here for: Minnesota cottage food regulations, rules, codes and how to start a cottage food business in Minnesota

MISSISSIPPI

Click here for: Mississippi cottage food regulations, rules, codes and how to start a cottage food business in Mississippi

MISSOURI

Click here for: Missouri cottage food regulations, rules, codes, laws and how to start a cottage food business in Missouri

MONTANA

Click here for: Montana cottage food regulations, rules, codes, laws and how to start a cottage food business in Montana

NEBRASKA

Click here for: Nebraska cottage food regulations, rules, codes, laws and how to start a cottage food business in Nebraska

NEVADA

Click here for: Nevada cottage food regulations, rules, codes, laws and how to start a cottage food business in Nevada

NEW HAMPSHIRE

Click here for: New Hampshire cottage food regulations, rules, codes, laws and how to start a cottage food business in New Hampshire

NEW JERSEY

Click here for: New Jersey cottage food regulations, rules, codes, laws and how to start a cottage food business in New Jersey

NEW MEXICO

Click here for: New Mexico cottage food regulations, rules, codes, laws and how to start a cottage food business in New Mexico

NEW YORK

Click here for: New York cottage food regulations, rules, codes, laws and how to start a cottage food business in New York

NORTH CAROLINA

Click here for: North Carolina cottage food regulations, rules, codes, laws and how to start a cottage food business in North Carolina

NORTH DAKOTA

Click here for: North Dakota cottage food regulations, rules, codes, laws and how to start a cottage food business in North Dakota

OHIO

Click here for: Ohio cottage food regulations, rules, codes, laws and how to start a cottage food business in Ohio

OKLAHOMA

Click here for: Oklahoma cottage food regulations, rules, codes, laws and how to start a cottage food business in Oklahoma

OREGON

Click here for: Oregon cottage food regulations, rules, codes, laws and how to start a cottage food business in Oregon

PENNSYLVANIA

Click here for: Pennsylvania cottage food regulations, rules, codes, laws and how to start a cottage food business in Pennsylvania

RHODE ISLAND

Click here for: Rhode Island cottage food regulations, rules, codes, laws and how to start a cottage food business in Rhode Island

SOUTH CAROLINA

Click here for: South Carolina cottage food regulations, rules, codes, laws and how to start a cottage food business in South Carolina

SOUTH DAKOTA

Click here for: South Dakota cottage food regulations, rules, codes, laws and how to start a cottage food business in South Dakota

TENNESSEE

Click here for: Tennessee cottage food regulations, rules, codes, laws and how to start a cottage food business in Tennessee

TEXAS

Click here for: Texas cottage food regulations, rules, codes, laws and how to start a cottage food business in Texas

UTAH

Click here for: Utah cottage food regulations, rules, codes, laws and how to start a cottage food business in Utah

VERMONT

Click here for: Vermont cottage food regulations, rules, codes, laws and how to start a cottage food business in Vermont

VIRGINIA

Click here for: Virginia cottage food regulations, rules, codes, laws and how to start a cottage food business in Virginia

WASHINGTON

Click here for: Washington cottage food regulations, rules, codes, laws and how to start a cottage food business in Washington

WEST VIRGINIA

Click here for: West Virginia cottage food regulations, rules, codes, laws and how to start a cottage food business in West Virginia

WISCONSIN

Click here for: Wisconsin cottage food regulations, rules, codes, laws and how to start a cottage food business in Wisconsin

WYOMING

Click here for: Wyoming cottage food regulations, rules, codes, laws and how to start a cottage food business in Wyoming

WHERE CAN I SELL MY COTTAGE FOODS?

Depending on your state laws, you may be able to sell your cottage foods to retail stores as well as individuals.

However, some states only allow you to sell the products you made in your home kitchen to individuals or businesses – but never for retail. (resale)

If you live in a state that is more restrictive of sales, this means that the person you sell to can NOT re-sale your product. To find out what your state allows, please find your state listed below and click.

Sales outside your state can be restricted as well.

IJ – INSTITUTE FOR JUSTICE – protecting Us!

Thankfully there are organizations like IJ. IJ protects businesses from illegal and unconstitutional codes that serve only to protect other businesses. *known as crony capitalism

I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing IJ (one of their staff attorneys) on our VendorsUnited mastermind live shows.

They’ve helped many of our vendors over the years. The following information is from their website as they keep and update changes to the codes as they fight to protect our rights.

“By government loosening its grip, people are given the opportunity to try their hand at entrepreneurship.”

Nationwide, 49 states and the District of Columbia now have cottage food programs, which allow residents to sell baked goods and other shelf-stable, non-potentially hazardous foods directly to consumers. (New Jersey is the sole exception.) – Data below sourced from IJ.

Since 2015, 19 states and Washington, D.C. have created new cottage food programs or significantly expanded their existing rules:

  1. Montana (2015)
  2. Minnesota (2015 law prompted by lawsuit)
  3. Nevada (2015)
  4. Colorado (both in 2015 and 2016)
  5. Idaho (codified by the Idaho Department of Public Health and Welfare in 2015)
  6. Oregon (2015)
  7. Illinois (both in 2015 and 2017 )
  8. Delaware (created by the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services in 2016)
  9. Oklahoma (2017)
  10. Florida (2017)
  11. Hawaii (created by the Hawaii Department of Health in 2017)
  12. Wisconsin (court ruling in 2017)
  13. Kentucky (2018)
  14. Maryland (both in 2018 and 2019)
  15. Connecticut (2018)
  16. West Virginia (2019)
  17. Nebraska (2019)
  18. Texas (2019)
  19. Washington, D.C. (2020)
  20. Wyoming (2020)

We’ve Made Updates To The IJ List – Recent changes / additions:

Anchorage, Alaska has rules separate from the rest of the state. Here are the recent law / rule / code changes to the Anchorage Cottage Food Laws: Click Here

Today, 28 states allow cottage food businesses to sell online to buyers within state limits:

  1. Arizona
  2. California
  3. Colorado
  4. Connecticut
  5. Florida
  6. Georgia
  7. Idaho
  8. Indiana
  9. Iowa (only Home Food Establishments)
  10. Louisiana
  11. Maine
  12. Massachusetts
  13. Minnesota
  14. Missouri
  15. Nebraska
  16. New Hampshire (only Homestead License)
  17. New York
  18. North Carolina
  19. Ohio
  20. Oregon (only Domestic Kitchen Bakeries/Processors)
  21. Pennsylvania
  22. South Dakota
  23. Tennessee (only Domestic Kitchens)
  24. Texas
  25. Utah
  26. Vermont
  27. Virginia (only Home Food Processing Operations)
  28. West Virginia

Eighteen states allow cottage food producers to sell through retail outlets like grocery stores:

  1. Arizona
  2. California (only Type B)
  3. Iowa (only Home Food Establishments)
  4. Louisiana
  5. Maine
  6. Maryland
  7. Massachusetts
  8. New Hampshire (only Homestead License)
  9. North Carolina
  10. Ohio
  11. Oregon (only Domestic Kitchen Bakeries/Processors)
  12. Pennsylvania
  13. Rhode Island
  14. Tennessee (only Domestic Kitchens)
  15. Utah
  16. Virginia (only Home Food Processing Operations)
  17. West Virginia
  18. Wyoming (only “non‑potentially hazardous food”)

Separate from cottage food programs, several states have enacted rules designed to spur other types of home-based food businesses.

Food Freedom

Unlike cottage food programs, food freedom laws let residents sell almost any homemade food, including canned, pickled, and refrigerated goods, aside from those that contain meat, without any cap on sales or any licensing, permitting, or inspection requirements.

Three states have enacted food freedom laws:

  1. Wyoming (2015 and 2017)
  2. North Dakota (2017)
  3. Utah (2018)

According to the state health departments in those three states, there has not been a single outbreak of foodborne illness linked to a food freedom business.

Three states have banned cities and counties from banning or requiring a permit for lemonade stands run by kids:

  1. Utah (2017)
  2. Colorado (2019)
  3. Texas (2019)

(Since lemonade needs to be refrigerated, it’s typically excluded from many state cottage laws.)

Home Cooking

Through its “microenterprise home kitchen operations” law, California is the only state that lets home cooks create and sell homemade meals that contain red meat.

But the law only applies to cities and counties that expressly opted in and passed ordinances authorizing MHKOs.

As of January 2020, the following California municipalities have enacted a MHKO ordinance:

  1. Riverside County

To avoid the off chance that one in a million people – visiting this site, actually scroll to the bottom – I’m including this final paragraph so that the page feels and looks more complete.

Before this, it ended with the start of what would be an ongoing list. I hope that you are enjoying the fact that this last paragraph is here…

That it wraps up the page in a nice square looking end and has conformity. I will try and end this sentence wrap in-line with the end of this paragraph about…here.

I WANT MORE!

Feel like you’re all alone? I completely understand. It’s why a few years ago I created Vendors United.

Vendors United - Cottage Food Laws

It’s a place where we can all link up, share ideas, share our successes and our challenges. Many of the hot dog vendors and street food vendors inside started offering cottage food over the years and have had huge successes.

Come join us!

MORE? Kitchen Income!

I created a new website to help us all keep up on tips, tricks, tactics, upcoming laws and everything running a business from your kitchen.

It’s brand new, but soon will have lots of the best ways to run a successful business from your home kitchen. And believe it or NOT…

Other ways, besides Cottage Food – that we Vendors United members have been doing for years.

  • Ever heard of drop-off catering?
  • What about no hands – no touch anything drop off catering?
  • What about fridge meals?

Come on over… check it out… see what you can add, do, do more of and bolster your home kitchen income!

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