Ohio Cottage Food Law

Getting started in Ohio as a cottage food producer is relatively easy. The use of commercial equipment is prohibited. There are some limitations on the types of food you can make and sell, and few limitations on where you can sell your homemade food. Ready to take your cottage food business online? We’ll help you build an online store in minutes.
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Where can you sell?

In Ohio, you can sell cottage foods at fairs, festivals, farmers markets, home, online, restaurants, and retail stores.

What kinds of food can you sell?

Ohio permits the sale of bread, candies, dry goods, honey, pastries, preserves, snacks, and syrups.

What should be on my product labels?

Labels must include business address, business name, ingredients, net amount, product name, and a note that your product was made in an uninspected kitchen.

Is there an income cap?

There is no limit to how much a home-based vendor can sell in Ohio.

Are there any special requirements?

The use of a commercial equipment is prohibited and all sales must be within the state of Ohio.

Where can I find more information?

Contact the Ohio Department of Agriculture at 614-728-6250 or foodsafety@agri.ohio.gov. Learn more about Ohio's cottage food laws here.

Ohio Cottage Food Law

If you’re interested in selling food from home Ohio is a state that doesn't make it hard. Ohio food laws don’t require an Ohio cottage food license to sell foods that are not potentially hazardous.

It’s important to understand the distinction between generic Ohio cottage laws and the more restrictive Ohio home bakery laws. Ohio cottage food law 2021 includes the Pure Food and Drug Law, which was updated in 2009 and again in 2016. While it doesn’t authorize home inspection for most cottage food or require a license to sell food from home Ohio does permit inspection of cottage food. Inspectors from the Ohio Department of Agriculture may sample products to ensure that they’re properly labeled.

Thus there are Ohio food license exemptions for home-based cottage food business owners. Also, there’s no cap on annual gross income. This exemption in Ohio regulations for selling food is only for people who produce food items at home that are not potentially hazardous. That means that the products don’t require refrigeration or any other special storage to be safe for consumption.

Examples of items permitted under Ohio laws for selling food at home include some bakery products, jams, jellies, candies and fruit butter. Under its cottage laws Ohio insists that all such products be properly labeled. Foods that aren’t will be considered misbranded or adulterated.

Ohio cottage food laws 2021 are specific about requiring that these foods are produced at home, and the law is precise about defining what home is. The home has to be a bona fide residence. There can be only one stove or oven used for cooking, and that appliance must be designed for residential and not for commercial use.

Ohio cottage food law specifies that foods from unlicensed producers may be sold only in the state of Ohio. Within Ohio, however, there is not much restriction on how foods are sold. They may be sold directly to consumers either in-person or online. Under Ohio cottage food law shipping is permitted only within the state. No interstate sales are allowed. As a general rule, there aren’t any sales taxes or Ohio cottage food taxes for food meant to be consumed other than where they’re purchased.

Sales may be made at farmers’ markets and community events. Foodstuffs may be sold wholesale to grocery stores and restaurants. In Ohio restaurants are allowed to use homemade ingredients. Products may be vended at festivals and similar celebrations, but only if the event is organized by a political subdivision of the state of Ohio and doesn’t last longer than seven consecutive days.

The Ohio cottage food label template specifies how products must be described. Cottage foods Ohio must be labeled with the name of the product and the name and address of the producer’s business. The ingredients need to be listed in order by weight with the most prevalent ranked first. The overall net weight must be included. In addition, the words, “This product is home produced,” must appear in a font that’s 10-point or larger. If the producer is making any nutritional claims about the food, the label must include a nutritional facts panel.

Ohioans who want to sell a wider variety of baked goods have another option.  The Ohio Home Bakery Law allows the sale of more products including perishable baked goods and certain non-baked products. This allows items such as cream pies and filled baked foodstuffs. However, there is additional regulation imposed for this expanded assortment of food a producer may sell.

For example, there’s a home bakery license Ohio requires for all bakery producers. The requirements are less stringent than for the commercial bakery license Ohio requires for true commercial operations. As part of the home bakery food license application Ohio requires a kitchen inspection. Home bakers under the Home Bakery Law are prohibited from using commercial equipment. Under Ohio cottage food law pets may not be kept indoors in a home where there’s a home bakery.

As with cottage food, Ohio allows home bakery products to be sold in a variety of venues, including directly out of the home where they’re produced. They may also be sold through convenience stores, grocery stores and other retail outlets. They can be vended at farm markets, farmers’ markets and similar community events. They can be on the menu at restaurants and cafes.

When you become a home baker, there’s another market open to you that’s closed to non-licensed Ohio cottage food vendors. The products may be sold outside of the state of Ohio.

In some Ohio communities, there may be additional licensing requirements. Vendors must obtain any licenses required by localities to sell their products at open markets. Anyone who sells or resells these products must conform to all the regulations and rules of local health departments, local zoning authorities and other local agencies.

The cottage food template Ohio enforces also applies to home bakeries. You still need the product name, the business name and address and all the accurate information about the contents of the product. In addition, any food that requires refrigeration must be labeled, “Keep Refrigerated.”

In summary, Ohio recognizes two types of home food producers and has different privileges and different requirements for the two. You don’t need to worry about how to get a cottage food license in Ohio, because the state doesn't enforce licensing for home producers of non-hazardous food. However, if it’s your ambition to be a home baker, you’ll need both a license and an inspection, but there’s greater leeway in the types of foods you can market and where you can sell them.

Cottage Foods List Ohio

What is considered cottage food? The following products are on the list of cottage foods that may be produced and sold within Ohio without a license:

However, unlicensed cottage vendors may not sell acidified foods such as beans, cucumbers, sauerkraut and pudding. They are not permitted to sell any food that requires temperature control for storage. This includes animal products, cooked vegetables, cheesecakes and custard or cream pies. They may not sell freeze-dried foods.

A vendor with a home bakery license also may sell non-hazardous bakery products including cookies, breads, cakes, fruit pies and brownies. In addition, they may sell potentially hazardous bakery products, that is, products that require refrigeration. This expands their list of permitted foods to include cheesecake, cream pies, pumpkin pies and custard pies.

Do I Need a License to Sell Produce in Ohio?

As long as the produce is limited to whole, intact fruits and vegetables, there’s no regulations regarding their sale. They may be sold at farmer’s markets and roadside stands as well as to restaurants and grocery stores. One item that’s forbidden, though, is harvested wild mushrooms. They may not be sold in the state.

Cottage Food Law Ohio 2022

2022 Cottage Food Law Ohio: This article explains the most recent laws that pertain to operating a cottage food kitchen in the state of Ohio. It describes what cottage foods are in general, which cottage foods you may and may not sell in Ohio, and current facts about licensing, labeling, and taxation. We’ll also cover some important rules that you need to know to join this grassroots food provision movement.

So, let's wash our hands, and jump right into information about cottage food laws in Ohio for 2022!

What are cottage foods?

What is considered cottage food? Cottage foods have been around since the early 1800s, before food production became so massive. The term “cottage foods” refers to foods that are personally hand-crafted, grown, slaughtered, or prepared, and then sold in a local community.

What are the best-selling cottage foods in Ohio?

Launching a home-based cottage food business is exciting! There are loads of different foods you can choose to prepare and sell. These include low-risk foods that may be either cooked, smoked, baked, canned, pickled, candied, or dehydrated.

Currently, some of the best-selling cottage foods in Ohio are:

Cotton candy, popcorn balls, and popcorn are also popular cottage foods in Ohio. Of course, it really just depends on where you're at in Ohio. It's a big state and people like different things!

Do I need a cottage food license to sell food from home Ohio?

Ohio's cottage food laws are pretty relaxed. Currently, in 2022, you do not need a cottage food operator’s license as long as you're selling approved, low-risk food products. However, be aware that all cottage foods for sale are subject to sampling and inspection by the Ohio Department of Agriculture. They have the right to determine if any food product being sold is adulterated or misbranded.

What foods can and cannot be sold as cottage foods in Ohio?

The current list of cottage foods that are allowed to be sold in Ohio is substantial. In addition to the foods listed above, cottage food chefs in Ohio may also prepare and sell non-potentially hazardous foods including:

Foods that may not be sold as cottage food in Ohio include high-risk foods that could decay and cause foodborne illnesses when not stored in temperature-controlled environments. Some of these foods include:

You can read the full list of approved cottage foods from the Ohio Department of Agriculture HERE.

What are Ohio cottage food taxes?

If your cottage food products are sold as groceries, you do not need to add a sales tax. However, if you're selling food that you prepared in a food truck or anywhere that has a sitting/dining area, then you generally need to add sales tax. Further, cottage food for pets requires sales tax. It's best to check with your county auditor where you will be selling your cottage foods to see if you should apply tax.

Ohio Cottage Food Laws 2021

There's no notable news about Ohio cottage food laws 2021 vs. Ohio cottage food law 2020. There have been no major updates recently. According to the Ohio Dept of Agriculture, “A Cottage Food Production Operation is exempt from being licensed and inspected for the production of cottage foods.”

Therefore, an Ohio cottage food license is unnecessary. However, the government does have the right to inspect your products – and you’re limited to where you may sell your goods.

If you decide to grow your home-based food business in Ohio, the Ag Dept has options for licensing, including:

If you wish to prepare and sell cheesecake and certain other potentially hazardous foods, then you’ll need to acquire a Home Bakery Registration cottage food permit. It costs $10 and can be obtained between October 1 and September 30.

Ohio Cottage Food Law 2022

Ohio cottage food law 2022 is fairly relaxed relative to most other states. You don't have to have a license, there's no sales limit, you can sell at various types of venues, and there are loads of different foods that you can prepare, market, and sell. Many other states have steeper entry fees, and much more detailed rules and regulations for cottage chefs and other food artisans to abide by.

There are no major proposed changes to Ohio cottage food laws in 2022. The last updates were in 2009 and 2016, both of which increased the number of allowable cottage foods. Most Ohioans now have few complaints about the cottage food laws in the state because it's free to begin your operation, and easy and affordable to grow your cottage food business.

Ohio Regulations For Selling Food

Do I need a license to sell food from my home? According to 2022 Ohio regulations for selling food, no, you don’t.

Ohio laws for selling food from home

According to 2022 Ohio food laws, cottage foods may be sold directly to consumers at:

They may also be sold from homes, food trucks, and kiosks. Further, you can sell approved cottage foods to restaurants and registered farm markets. Finally, you’re allowed to sell your cottage foods in Ohio at properly organized celebrations or festivals, but not for longer than seven consecutive days.

2022 Ohio cottage food law labels

A cottage food operation is required to place labels on all of their products. An individual label should be placed on each food product displaying the following elements:

Finally, your label must include the following statement in 10-point type: “This Product is Home Produced.” This statement allows your customers to know that the food was produced in your private home, not an approved and inspected food preparation facility.

If you make any claims about your product, like it’s low-fat, heart-healthy, or sodium-free, then you must comply with more stringent labeling laws. Namely, you will need to provide all relevant nutritional information on a Nutrition Facts section of the label. This information must be presented according to the stipulations outlined in 21 CFR Part 101 of the FDA Food Labeling Guide.

Although it's not a requirement, some cottage food producers include any known food allergens on their labels for their customers’ convenience. Common allergens listed on cottage food labels include milk, eggs, shellfish, fish, peanuts, soybeans, wheat, and tree nuts like almonds, walnuts, and pecans. If desired, you can simply add a note to your labels, like: Contains Wheat, Pine Nuts, and Eggs.

2022 Ohio cottage food handling training courses & best practices

The state of Ohio does not require that home food producers complete a food safety course. However, you may electively take food handling and best practices courses. Doing so will get you certified, normally in a quick and inexpensive online class. Then, you can share your completion certificates with your customers, increasing their trust in your brand.

2022 Ohio cottage food laws pets

You are not permitted to have a dog, cat, bird, or other household pet in the cooking area where your cottage food is made. No animals allowed. No exceptions.

2022 Ohio cottage food law shipping

Can I sell my cottage food outside of Ohio if I make it in the state? No. You may not sell your cottage foods produced inside of Ohio’s borders anywhere outside of those borders. All cottage foods produced in the state must also be sold in the state. Internet sales to out-of-state addresses are not permitted.

Are you ready to open an online store to sell your cottage foods? Ohio makes it easy to start preparing, marketing, and selling cottage foods in the state. You will not need a license, permit, or business insurance. There will be no need to renovate your home or invest in a professional food preparation facility. No special vehicles or equipment are required. You simply need a delicious recipe and the desire to make people happy with home-cooked food!

However, a multipurpose software platform intentionally built to help independent cottage chefs can be a game changer. Castiron caters to food artisans, helping them launch, develop, and grow their businesses into sustainable profit generators. Contact Castiron’s friendly and knowledgeable team, today, to find out how we can help you sell your cottage foods faster than you're able to produce them!

Cottage Food Laws by State

Most of Ohio’s neighboring states have cottage food laws that are similar. There’s been widespread recognition since the turn of the century that cottage food producers are small business people worth supporting and that they need clarity on what they can and can’t do.

Michigan cottage food law, adopted in 2010, allows unlicensed sale of a list of foods similar to Ohio’s list. A license is required to sell foods that require refrigeration or preserved foods other than jams and jellies. No home inspection is required for non-hazardous cottage foods.

Indiana cottage food law applies to a list similar to Ohio’s but also includes whole, unprocessed fruits and vegetables and tree nuts. Indiana is more restrictive on where cottage foods may be sold. Sales are allowed only at roadside stands and farmers’ markets. Sales from home, online sales and sales to grocery stores and restaurants are all prohibited.

Kentucky cottage food law recognizes two classes of food producers. Home-based processors are similar to Ohio cottage food vendors; they produce non-hazardous foods in their own home kitchens. Home-based microprocessors are farmers who grow food and have more leeway in how they can process and sell it. Home-based processors must register with the state and pay a $50 annual fee. They may sell at home or from markets but are not permitted to ship food or sell it to grocery stores and restaurants.

West Virginia cottage food law permits a more extensive list of food than Ohio. In addition to the non-hazardous list, West Virginians may also sell pickles, vinegars, condiments, nut butters, some sauces, juices and carbonated beverages. The state also issues a farmer’s market vendor permit which allows the sale of meats, fish and other more hazardous foods.

There is no explicit Pennsylvania cottage food law. Instead, the Department of Agriculture authorizes limited food establishments. They have to register, pay a $35 fee, submit a business plan and undergo a home inspection. In addition to the foods on Ohio’s cottage list, they may sell canned acidic foods, pickled foods and fermented foods. There’s an even broader list if the home has a separate, dedicated kitchen with its own entrance.

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