All You NEED Is A Kitchen...

All You NEED Is A Kitchen...


South Dakota Cottage Food Laws

South Dakota cottage food laws make it easy to open but encourages your business to expand into a full fledged licensed retail business by putting a cap on your income you’re allowed to make annually.

However, getting started is as simple as saying… I’m going to open and run my own cottage food operation from my home – starting right this minute. You can start producing home-processed foods and selling directly to consumers.

NOTE: Although against the intent and purposes of the limitations, many cottage food vendors find it near impossible to grow beyond cottage food being limited to $5,000 annually, so some don’t report accurately while saving until their income reaches something more reasonable – in able to open a licensed commercial kitchen with no limitations. 😉


Cottage Food Laws - Home Baking Profits

To start your cottage food business, simply follow the steps below:


Always contact your local city / county office and verify if a business license is required prior to starting. This is simply done by calling the main number to your city and letting them know you are starting a cottage food business and ask if you need a business license. For more information on full food service licensing, here is the South Dakota food service licensing page.

  1. Pick foods to offer from the “allowed” food types listed below.
  2. Check with your local city/county for any zoning restrictions
  3. Get a local business license in your City/County and learn about your tax requirements
  4. Get labels made (see label example below)
  5. Start baking/cooking, marketing and selling


If you find an error, omission, mistake, broken link, any outdated information or an addition that we missed – simply email me at [email protected] a link to the page and any information and I’ll send you something awesome.


The following are examples of products allowed to be made from your home and sold at South Dakota farmers markets without licensing. Even if foods are allowed, there are requirements for review and approval according to South Dakota Codified Law, and/or other South Dakota food safety requirements. Products must be labeled. Keep in mind that some items are not allowed. There are some helpful documents provided on South Dakota home baking and selling at farmer’s markets here.

Always check first: VERIFY ANY FOOD YOU PLAN TO MAKE… Contact Curtis Braun, SDSU Extension Food Safety Field Specialist

  • Acidified canned foods, such as salsa, dill pickles
  • Baked goods and foods that are non-temperature-controlled
    • Cookies
    • Breads
    • Cakes
    • Cinnamon rolls
    • Muffins
    • Scones
  • Candy
    • Lollipops
    • Candy canes
    • Fudge
    • Caramels
    • Cotton candy
    • Truffles
    • Rock candy
  • Dried pastas
  • Dry mixes
    • Spices/seasonings
    • Baking mixes
    • Powder drink mixes
    • Home-ground flour
    • Coffee mix
    • Granola mix
  • Grains
    • Wheat
    • Corn
    • Rice
    • Barley
    • Oats
    • Popcorn
    • Cornmeal
  • Nuts
    • Almonds
    • Walnuts
    • Cashews
  • Seeds
    • Sunflower seeds
    • Sesame seeds
    • Chia seeds
    • Coffee seeds
  • Spices
    • Nutmeg
    • Cinnamon
    • Cloves
    • Turmeric
    • Cumin
  • Baked goods and foods that ARE temperature-controlled (must complete online food safety training and refrigerate products)
    • Cheesecake
    • Cream-filled pastries
    • Cream cheese frostings or fillings
    • Cream or meringue pies
    • Custards
    • Pumpkin pie
  • Canned, high-acid foods (products must be reviewed and approved or you must take approved online food safety training)
    • Canned, shelf-stable naturally high-acid foods
    • Canned applesauce
    • Canned fruits
  • Doughs (must take approved online food safety training, store appropriately, and label according to law)
    • Cookie dough
    • Pizza dough
    • Pie dough
  • Jams and jellies
    • Home-canned fruit jams and jellies (must be labeled and reviewed/approved or you must complete approved online food safety training)
  • Pies
    • Pecan pie, strawberry pie, etc. (filling must be stored at appropriate temperature based on water activity, and you must complete approved online food safety training)
  • Produce, intact salad greens (not cut beyond harvesting)
  • Produce, whole and uncut
  • Sauces and salad dressings (must be labeled and evaluated for safety)
    • Barbecue sauce
    • Salad dressing
    • Hot sauce

Real Life Cottage Food Entrepreneurs and Opportunities


These are prohibited for sales at farmers markets without licensing, but may be allowed with additional licensing and/or testing and approval.

  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Naturally fermented canned foods
  • Dairy products, milk
  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Honey
  • Juice
  • Meat
  • Nut butters
  • Poultry
  • Cut produce
  • Sprouts

NOTE: Although eggs, milk and dairy products are not allowed, they may be used as ingredients for the allowed foods.

Many prohibited foods that are baked or cooked into the allowed foods are rendered harmless (non-TCS) and therefore allowed.


Most states set a cap on what you’re allowed to make annually. This is usually put in place to push you towards opening a full-fledged retail business while at the same time letting you start from home.

South Dakota has an annual sales limit for cottage food entrepreneurs at $5,000. It reads in a way that the $5,000 limit only applies to in home sales and not food sold at farmers markets and festivals. NOTE: I searched the entire laws under section 35 and found no place where it states a limit

Orders from your home: the total gross receipts from the sale of baked goods from the person’s own primary residence does not exceed five thousand dollars in a calendar year.

South Dakota Joint Venture (Health Dept. and Ag Extension)

Below is what the state of Colorado puts out to help folks wanting to go beyond cottage foods.

Colorado created a brochure on going beyond cottage food once you’ve outgrown or hit your maximum allowed income.

I have provided it here for a resource as you grow your business and wish to expand.

South Dakota Cottage Food Laws - Example on how to grow your business


Most states determine if a food is non-potentially hazardous by the acidity level found in the food. The higher the acidity, the more stable at a range of temps, that food product is.

For example: milk is low acidity and requires temperature controls.

The acidity of foods is measured by pH.

• The range of pH is commonly considered to extend from zero to 14. A pH value of 7 is neutral because pure water has a pH value of exactly 7.

Values less than 7 are considered acidic, while those greater than 7 are considered basic or alkaline.

• All fruits are acidic foods and are usually tart and sour. Ex: tomato, lemon, peach, apple, etc.

• The FDA rule for acidic foods states that a food must have a pH below 4.6 to be sold as a minimally processed food

• The reason for this is bacteria does not grow at this level of acidity.

• The exclusion shall not be construed as allowing the sale of low acid foods (pH > 4.6) in hermetically sealed containers (i.e. home-canned green beans, peas, etc.) when such food is not prepared in a permitted establishment.


Some states require testing if the pH level is unknown.

For many food products, the pH level is already known. You can test for pH yourself using a pH spear tester. (make sure it is made for food and has a long spear tip).

Oklahoma State University shares an awesome guide for selecting the correct tester for foods and liquids which includes tips and tricks for operation and maintenance. Get The Guide Here.


For canned and baked goods, South Dakota Codified Law 34-18-37 requires the following label information:

  1. Name of the product.
  2. Name of the producer.
  3. Physical address of production.
  4. Mailing address of the producer.
  5. Telephone number of the producer.
  6. Date the product was made or processed.
  7. Ingredients.
  8. In the case of food sold in accordance with section three of this act, a directive to keep products refrigerated or frozen; and
  9. A disclaimer that states: “This product was not produced in a commercial kitchen. It has been home-processed in a kitchen that may also process common food allergens, such as tree nuts, peanuts, eggs, soy, wheat, milk, fish, and crustacean shellfish.”
  • Selling from a display case at the farmer’s market – the information must be on the display case or made available in written format to the customer when purchased.


Below is an example of what South Dakota requires on their labels.

Using or similar – you can quickly create professional labels that not only serve to meet the state cottage food guidelines but also serve for marketing your awesome business and products.

You’ll find some fantastic examples of this from members inside


The FDA lists eight (8) major food allergens. Listing any of these on your label is a smart business practice and will certainly help your customers choose a product.

  • Milk.
  • Eggs.
  • Fish (e.g., bass, flounder, cod)
  • Crustacean shellfish (e.g., crab, lobster, shrimp)
  • Tree nuts (e.g., almonds, walnuts, pecans)
  • Peanuts.
  • Wheat.
  • Soybeans

Simply add to your label: “CONTAINS: SOYBEANS” Some go as far to announce that a certain allergen is used in the same kitchen.

Some states require you list any potential allergens and potential for any cross contamination even if the allergen is not used in the recipe.

FDA Allergen Labeling Example: Contains Wheat, Milk, Egg, and Soy


South Dakota Cottage Food Laws – Sales Rules

All sales, including online sales, are restricted to:

Farmers markets
Concession Stand
Online (no mail order)

Some sell and market online but food is delivered in person.

Inside you can find out how many cottage food entrepreneurs are getting sales faster than they can make the food.


Knowing the safe handling practices will protect you and your customers, it is always a good idea to take a quick online class and get certified.

There are many short courses you can take online and actually get certified and be able to share that with your customers.

Many of our members our proud to display their food safety certificates as a way to insure their customers that they care. This helps your business.


Much of this may seem like common sense, but even if you already know, it’s a good idea to remind yourself with a list of things that can prevent you from missing something small.

And if for no other reason… CYA! CYA = Cover Your A#%


Providing safe to eat foods from your kitchen – starts in your kitchen.

Keep your area clean and sanitized to avoid cross contamination and to insure you provide your customers and clients with the safest and best foods they can get.

The following are some “common” sense things you can do to insure the best environment for preparing foods to sell:

  • ​Keep all equipment and surface areas clean and sanitized

  • Make sure window and door screens are bug proof with no gaps

  • Keep ingredients separate to prevent cross contamination / e.g. raw eggs near flour

  • No pets in work area and preferably none in the home

  • Allow no-one with a cold, sniffles or sick in kitchen while preparing foods

  • Wipe down walls and clean floors daily

  • Use good lighting to avoid missing unclean areas

  • Keep window and door screens in good repair to keep insects out

  • Wash hands frequently while working and use food grade gloves for extra safety

  • Keep areas of food storage and equipment storage clean and sanitized


Why keep these types of records?
Let’s say the inspector calls you and says they got a report that your banana bread, someone purchased, made them sick.

You’ll be able to show that you didn’t even make banana bread that week and that the person who reported you, bought that 4 weeks ago and you weren’t even the one that sold it to him.

This does not need to be complicated. I love my yellow legal pads and they make an inexpensive tool for keeping up with the following:

  • The recipes you use including ingredients

  • The process you use to prepare that specific recipe: (can be just like recipe instructions)

  • Date made (can be coded for your own use only if your state doesn’t require the production date) e.g. Made 12.22.29 = 292212

  • Date sold (you can have a batch code to help track a certain batch) Simply write down date you sold an item

  • Location sold is another great piece of information to keep track of

  • Sales receipts are something great to keep for a couple of reasons and over at I dive into the best practices, best systems and best methods for tracking, managing, selling and shipping.


We live in a society that likes to sue. I can sue you for wearing that color shirt. No kidding!

Of course I probably won’t win, but at the very least, it’s gonna cause you stress and some costs.

Liability insurance is a MUST.

It can be expensive – but several years ago, I found FLIP and by far, they gave me the most protection (coverage) and allow you to run your cottage food business without fear of being sued.

WHY? Because they provide the lawyers. And their lawyers… they are good!

Of course you should price shop around with your local agent or a national brand company, but rest assured, I’ve done all the legwork for you.

Alternatively, some folks opt to get bonded. You’ve heard the saying before: “licensed and bonded”.

A bond is usually provided from an insurance bonding company or your own insurance company. My first time, I got a bond at State Farm.

A bond is expensive comparatively but is less out of pocket in the beginning. Of course, it’s way, way less insurance / coverage too.

A $10,000 bond may cost $50 annually while a $2,000,000.00 liability policy may cost a few hundred a year.

No matter what you decide… knowing you’re insured against frivolous lawsuits is worth every penny.



SD Agriculture Extension
SDSU Extension Sioux Falls Regional Center
4101 W 38th St Ste 103
Sioux Falls, SD 57106
605-782-3290 – Curtis Braun
[email protected]

SD Department of Health – Food Safety Site
NOTE: Links on DEPT OF HEALTH page all go to Ag. Ext site’s main page and no longer link to relevant pages as described.


From time to time, links, info, rules and numbers change, are updated or made obsolete.

Although I spend time daily with hundreds of vendors (many of which are cottage food businesses) – I can miss an update.

If you find a broken link, outdated information or any other issue… please let me know and I’ll send you a special gift for helping me maintain the best site on the internet for the cottage food industry.

My goal has always been to have a central place that is absolutely free those starting out or existing entrepreneurs who use their homes and kitchens to make real incomes.

Please send to [email protected] / or post inside the private group.

Need more resources? Check it out HERE (Helpful Resources)

Take a peek at the best vendors on the planet, the community that rocks the food vending world: Vendors United

Vendors United - Cottage Food Laws


This information is provided to help those interested in starting a cottage food business. It is not a document made by the state government. This information is not provided as law nor should be construed as law. Always use the contact information for each state to confirm compliance and any changes.

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