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Georgia cottage food laws are a bit more complex than those in some other states. However, after you satisfy the rules and regulations, being a cottage cook in Georgia can be quite profitable. It takes some effort to get set up properly in the Peach State and launch a homemade food business, but once you do, you won't have a cap on gross annual sales, and the list of foods you're allowed to produce and sell is quite extensive.
How to get a permit to sell food from home: Home-based food artisans and cottage chefs in Georgia have to complete an American National Standards Institute (ANSI)-accredited Food Safety Program before they're allowed to operate.
The kitchen where the cottage food will be produced must be inspected. Also, all prospective food operators must secure a state-issued Cottage Food License, which can be applied for online.
Georgia laws on selling food from home vary by county. Some counties don’t regulate which foods cottage cooks can offer, or how and where they can sell them. Be sure to check with your local county government to be sure which Georgia cottage food laws apply where you live.
Can I sell food from my home in Georgia?
You can begin the process by contacting your County Planning and Zoning offices. You'll want to be sure there are no local ordinances that restrict you from legally operating a cottage food business.
If the property where the cottage foods will be prepared is on well water, then you will need to schedule water testing from the Department of Agriculture.
Once they determine that your water is of acceptable quality, you can move to the next step of getting your Georgia cottage food license: completing an accredited food safety training program.
Once you have obtained your Georgia food safety training certificate, you can get online and submit your cottage food license application.
You can apply for your Georgia food service permit on the Georgia Department of Agriculture website, in any of the district offices, or by email, mail, or fax. Before you're issued a license, you'll need to provide proof of US citizenship and a signed and notarized affidavit.
There's also an annual $100 fee. If you are a new cottage food operator and apply after June 30th, the fee will be $50.
Here’s a link to the official Georgia Cottage Food License Application PDF. You can fill it out and submit it, or just read over it to familiarize yourself with the information requested.
You'll have to list all of the food items that you wish to produce and sell on your cottage food license application. Only these products will be listed on your cottage food license.
If you wish to add additional items in the future, you will have to fill out a new application and pay for an additional licensing fee. Your kitchen must also be re-inspected at that point.
Georgia allows home-based food artisans to produce a diverse range of cottage foods and sell them directly to the public. You can get a complete list of the accepted foods from the Georgia Ag Dept, but some of the most common Georgia cottage foods are:
Cottage food operators are not allowed to wholesale or distribute these products, nor can they move them across state lines. If you wish to do that, you would need to get a food sales establishment license, which is an altogether different process. Then, you could distribute your culinary products to institutions, restaurants, retail stores, and other desired venues.
As it is in other states, cottage food in Georgia must be appropriately labeled according to certain standards. Each product you sell must have a label that clearly states, in English, your cottage food business name, the name of the food, its net weight, the ingredients of the food in descending order of weight, and any applicable allergen labeling according to FDA standards.
Every label must also include the following statement in at least 10 point font: “MADE IN A COTTAGE FOOD OPERATION THAT IS NOT SUBJECT TO STATE FOOD SAFETY INSPECTIONS”.
The state's cottage food program makes running a home-based food business Georgia a little more difficult to get into than in some other states. However, once you satisfy all of the requirements, you'll be able to operate your cottage food business with flexibility and little interference from the Department of Agriculture.
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