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In New York, you can sell cottage foods at fairs, festivals, farmers markets, home, online, restaurants, retail stores, and roadside stands.
New York allows bread, candies, dry goods, honey, pastries, preserves, snacks, and syrup to be sold.
Labels must include allergens, business address, business name, ingredients, net amount, and a note that your product was made in an uninspected kitchen.
There is no limit to how much a home-based vendor can sell in New York.
The use of a commercial kitchen is prohibited and you can only sell within the state of New York. You must register with the Department of Agriculture and Markets.
Contact the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets at agr.sm.HPRegistrations@agriculture.ny.gov. Learn more about New York's cottage food laws here.
*Cottage food laws change regularly — always double check the requirements for running a home-based food business with a legal expert or your local health department.
Cottage food laws exist in most states to allow entrepreneurs the ability to start their food business without making the large initial investment in a commercial kitchen. The idea of the cottage food law NY is to stimulate the economy and allow home based cooks to test their ideas before moving to a large scale operation.
New York allows numerous types of cottage food business opportunities. While New York is not the most lenient nor the most strict state when it comes to obtaining a permit to sell food from home, interested individuals have a fairly easy time getting started. New York does have some requirements that must be met, but they are not too overly complicated.
If you are wondering how to sell food from home legally in New York, certain non-hazardous foods are your solution. Any foods that do not require you to refrigerate or maintain a certain temperature are legal. Continue reading to learn how to get a license to sell food in NY.
For those wondering how to start a home-based catering business in New York, unfortunately that is not an option with the cottage food laws. Since most catering products require a specific temperature in order to remain stable, it is not legal to sell these from anywhere other than a commercial kitchen.
According to the New York cottage food law, there are no food operations that do not need permits. Every type of operation will require registration with the Department of Agriculture and Markets. However, registration is free! This is not common in most states. Better still, your registration never expires unless you move. Furthermore, an inspection is not required. The only time your kitchen will be subject to inspection is if a complaint is made about someone becoming ill.
Now that we’ve overed how to get a permit to sell goods from home, let’s cover additional regulations that are important to keep in mind. Cottage food operators are permitted to have a website and advertise online. They can even sell their cottage food products online. Those wondering, “Do I need a license to sell homemade food in New York,” the answer is no. The registration will suffice. Better still, cottage food products can be sold to customers within New York state borders. Most other states do not permit sales online, much less shipping within the state. However, cottage food products cannot be sold outside of New York state borders.
Most foods products can be sold that are considered non hazardous and that do not need to be maintained at a certain temperature. If you are wondering do you need a license to sell baked goods from home, the answer is no. Baked goods fall under cottage food laws. According to the New York Department of Agriculture and Markets, the following foods are permitted:
Unfortunately, custom baked goods or cottage foods are not permitted. These must be produced in a commercial kitchen. For example, wedding cakes or decorated cookies that are custom ordered cannot be sold from your home. However, you can sell general wedding cakes and decorated cookies. This is because when registering, you will need to completely list out all of the products you will sell. You are limited to these items. Since you cannot describe a custom order on your registration form until you receive it, you cannot sell custom goods.
Update: As of 2021, New Jersey has a cottage food law!
Unfortunately, there is no cottage food law NJ. In fact, New Jersey is the only state that does not have NJ food laws in place. All other 49 states have some form of cottage food laws. If you are wondering, “Can I sell food from home in NJ?,” you can’t. It is illegal to sell any food prepared in your home because there is no New Jersey cottage food law. Funnily enough, the same goods that fall under other states’ cottage food laws can be donated or sold for charitable purposes in New Jersey. However, they cannot be sold for profit.
If you are wondering how to sell homemade food in NJ, you will be forced to start a commercial kitchen or wait until the cottage food law passes. Several organizations have been fighting for the law for over a decade. Sadly, the New Jersey commercial kitchen requirements are expensive and difficult to meet. Those who want to take advantage of a cottage food law for the benefit of it allowing an entrepreneur to test an idea will be waiting some time for NJ to pass its law.
Those who want to sell items that do not fit under the cottage food law will have no choice but to obtain a food processor license NY, also called a New York state food license. There is no such thing as a home bakery license NY. Baked goods and prepared meals both fall under NYS Department of Agriculture food license.
Fortunately, the process to obtain this license is fast and easy. It only takes six days for the paperwork to be processed. In order to obtain the license, the following must be provided:
The above information must be attached to form FSI-303. Once approved, the license is good for two years. At the end of two years, the form, above information, and fee must be submitted to the date. For those wondering ,“Do you need a permit to sell food on the side of the road?” and “How to get a permit to sell food on the street?”, you must also get a food vendor license.
When it comes to cottage food operations, the NYS health department food safety guidelines exempt these operators from having a Department of Health food permit. The NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets Division Of Food Safety (also commonly referred to as NYS Department of Agriculture and markets license and NYS food safety certification) may be required for any cottage food operator who plans on selling at farmer’s markets.
The local jurisdictions will have various farm stand regulations NY. Aside from the New York state farmers' market guidelines, individual farmers markets can require food operators to have a NYS Department of Agriculture and markets license. Those who only want to sell at a single farmer’s market even may find that the New York state temporary food permit better serves their purpose.
A New York state home-based business that falls under cottage food laws does not need to apply for a food service establishment permit New York state. However, they will need to meet strict labeling requirements. This is to inform customers’ that the food they are consuming is coming from an uninspected home kitchen. In addition to being produced in a home kitchen, the following must also be on the label:
While the cottage food laws do not have any required inspections or safety guidelines, it is important to use common sense. Safety should be of the utmost importance. If you wouldn’t feed it to your family, you shouldn’t feed it to your customers. Should any customer complain, a cottage food business will be inspected by the state. Any unsanitary conditions can result in being shut down temporarily.
Some of the best practices that home-based cottage food operations in New York include:
Fortunately, New York makes it easier than most states to start a cottage food operation. Since there are no sales caps, individuals can (in theory) run their cottage food operation for years. However, those who want to start selling to other states will want to look into opening their own commercial kitchen when it becomes a viable idea.
The Cottage Food industry is your opportunity to go into business for yourself, be your own boss, do what you love, and make tummies happy. What more could you ask for, right? Well, there are a number of barriers to entry that you should know about including marketing best practices, setting up a viable home kitchen, and managing customer and partner relations, and putting your rubber to the road after doing the creative work of conceiving and building your own home-based food business.
Cutting-edge psychology and neuroscience tell us that inventing a business and running a business actually take two different types of brain. The letter requires a creative brain and the former takes a conscientious brain. That means bridging the gap from conception to operation is no small leap of faith. But that is another subject. In the meantime, we are going to be concerned with learning the ins and outs of cottage food law, particularly, cottage food law, NY.
Cottage food laws by state will vary greatly. Some states are very restrictive and others are not. Because we are concerned with the cottage food laws New York has on the books, unfortunately, we are going to be dealing with some of the most restrictive sets of laws that you are likely to find. The good news is that if you can cope with selling food from home in NYC, you can probably do it anywhere in the country. So get ready to tap into the bottomless well of New York pride!
In this article, we will attempt to answer some of the most common questions we get on this subject such as:
1. Do I need a license to sell homemade food?
2. How to get a cottage food license?
3. How to get around cottage food laws?
The answer to question 1. is yes, you do need a license to sell homemade food in New York, even if it is just your business license. But there is more to it than that, which we will get to.
The answer to question 2. is to find your local food laws on your state government website and follow them to the letter. Beware, failure to follow the rules, directions, and demands precisely can result in a harsh response.
The answer to the third question is, please don't try to get around cottage food laws. The consequences of getting caught are definitely not worth it. You could face massive fines, prison time, and may even lose the ability to go into business for yourself in New York at all.
To obtain and keep your home bakery license, NY residents are strongly advised to follow the laws. They aren't just there to drain your disposable income, but also to protect unwary buyers from those who would sell cheap and potentially dangerous products. So, there's a silver lining for your cloud.
There have been many changes to cottage laws New York has on the books in recent years. Some may make it easier to do business and some may make it tougher. Either way, you will need to know what foods can and cannot be sold from a home bakery legally and which cannot. Let's get that out of the way right now.
Cottage Foods Permitted for Sale in NYC
Cottage Foods NOT Permitted for Sale in NYC
As you can imagine, NYC cottage food laws have undergone a lot of changes over the years. There is a constant push and pull between regulators and people looking to share, sell, and enjoy homemade food locally made. There are many rules and regulations keeping people from obtaining a permit to sell food from home or maintaining their New York state food license.
One of these contentious and contradictory laws is the one that prohibits the sale of chocolate but not other types of candy. The contradictory nature of such a law is sure to cause frustration. That being the case, New Yorkers are often petitioning their local lawmakers and politicians often draft their campaign promises around popular cottage food license issues. People spend a lot of time down at City Hall just trying to get a clear answer to the question, "Can I sell food from my home in NY?" Often, the answers they get are unsatisfactory.
Even so, cottage food laws in the state of New York have become more permissive since 2018. They became more permissive again in 2020, but there are still things to be aware of, and as always, change is the only true normal. The sternness of our introductory paragraphs was based on the fact that things can always go back, get stricter, and you will have to deal with those changes if and when they come. If there was one top tip on our list, it would be to stay agile and expect regulatory reform in this industry.
Most states will pass bills to make changes to their cottage food laws. New York took it in another direction by changing existing laws rather than making new ones. New York seems to excel at bucking the norms whichever way they go.
It is now legal to make and sell homemade food anywhere in New York State. That includes selling it to stores and restaurants. Food items can be sold online and shipped within the state. That does not mean you cannot ship food items out of state. A lot of fed-up New Yorkers assume that is what it means and we can understand why. However, when you sell to buyers in another state, be sure to check the laws regarding the type of food item in that state. Otherwise, you risk losing the sale to the authorities.
NYC cottage chefs need to register with the state Dept. of Agriculture. However, registration is now free and has been made much simpler. Some dry ingredients have to be commercially processed, such as spices, nut and soup mixes, and more. This came with the COVID-19 measure of 2020 which requires the use of a NYC home processor. There are over 8,000 registered processors, and you can find a link to the full list here.
If you hope to make and sell certain types of baked goods, snack mixes, or jellies, you will need to obtain a home processor exemption, NY. This means you are not an officially registered processor, but you have an exception that allows you to process restricted cottage foods at home anyway. To qualify for the exception, you must conform to two rules, as described below;
"All items must be for use as marketing products at wholesale or retail, including agricultural venues like farms, stands, farmers markets, green markets, craft fairs, flea markets, for home delivery, or sale over the internet.
"All items must be sold in New York State, pre-packaged in the home, and labeled as required. Packaging of food items at an agricultural event (craft fair, farmers market, etc.) is prohibited." -Agriculture.ny.gov
The site goes on to warn readers to "[...] consult with your local zoning officials for approval before commencing any home-based business."
People are generally sensible. They figure, "If I can qualify for a home processor exemption, then it can't really be that important." These people may be right. But the law will usually be used against you if there are fines, fees, and prosecutorial victories to be had. In short, if you intend to take cottage food sales seriously, it is best to get your NY home processor exemption. People always ask us, whether the process and cost of getting a cottage food license New York is worthwhile. The answer depends on how serious you are about selling food from home.
The rules control where you sell certain food items, and little else. Other regulations involved in the process of getting your cottage food license NY will take care of telling you how to make the food you sell. But the answer to the question of whether or not it is worth it to get a home processor license NY, depends on how seriously you take cottage food cooking as a business.
Are you doing it to promote a serious or established restaurant, farm, bakery, or other business? Are you particularly inspired to be a cottage chef and sell food from home under your own banner? If you answered yes to either of those questions, then you should follow New York cottage food law and do whatever it takes to legally sell food from home. Get your license and a permit to sell baked goods from home in NY.
In short, if you intend to build a legitimate business, and stay in business - if you care about longevity and the security of yourself and your family, then yes, you should get your license, permits, and processor exemption. It will be a lot of work. However, the cottage food market in NYC is busting with demand for fresh and interesting cottage foods. If you put in the work, jump through the hoops, and deliver what buyers want, it will be well worth it.
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