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Cottage food laws are helping many people convert their side dishes into side hustles all over the US. These laws are key for entrepreneurs who want to start a business from their kitchen. There are some common laws among the states, but they also vary state by state. Generally, cottage food laws recognize foods like cakes, dry nuts, jams, baked goods, and dry mixes and candies, which are not potentially hazardous and pose less risk of food contamination. Despite common goals regarding accessibility and food safety requirements, there are also many variations in laws among the states for those who produce non-hazardous foods.
In this blog, we are going to tell you some of the cottage food laws by state and will discuss the regulations for each state.
As you know, most of the states have food laws that allow people to start baking and cooking from their homes. But some states simplified these cottage regulations to allow more individuals to enter the cottage food industry. Some states require no permit or license to get started, which means you can start your business from home right now.
But if your state requires a cottage food license, then there is a common process that includes the following:
The process will vary from state to state, so make sure that you do your research and meet all the requirements to operate legally in your area.
The cottage food laws in Georgia (Chapter 40-7-19) only allow cottage food sales that meet its regulations. If you want to start, then you have to get licensed, as only those cottage food operators can produce home-based food products for sale. You can use your domestic kitchen to make products to sell directly to customers at non-profit events, for-profit events, and via online internet sales.
In order to start, you have to contact your county planning and zoning office to make sure you follow the laws to legally operate your home business. Then you can get yourself registered. Like most of the other states, Georgia doesn’t allow foods that are potentially hazardous and are temperature-controlled. Prohibited foods include raw seed sprouts, salsa, canned fruits, homemade icings, and frostings. Moreover, Georgia has no limit on gross sales of your cottage business.
Michigan is probably the best state for having simplified cottage food laws. It does, however, put a cap on your annual income. You can contact your county/city office and start working by simply calling and letting them know you want to start your Michigan food cottage business. Also, you can ask if you require a business license or not.
You have to contact the Michigan Department of Agriculture MDARD to start today. The annual income cap on your business in the state is $25,000. You can sell food products to your customers by hand, online, or in farmer's markets. Temperature control products or hazardous food are on the prohibited foods list, and you will require food labeling in Michigan to run your business. General products like bread, candy, condiments, snacks and pastries, and preserves are allowed in the state.
Virginia cottage food laws are also super easy and there is no limit on your annual income. This state offers a home food processing license, which involves a few steps to get started. First, contact your local city office and verify whether you require a business license before you begin. Second, choose your products from among cottage foods that are allowed in Virginia. Third, label your products before selling them.
Temperature-controlled products are also not allowed under the Virginia food program. Common products like biscuits, bread, dry goods, candy, and condiments are allowed. Many states put a cap on your income, and this pushes you toward opening a complete retail business, but there is no limit on food sales in Virginia.
The cottage food laws in Florida incorporate some of the best features to encourage entrepreneurship. It will not be wrong to say that it is one of the American states that makes it easy to begin your own business. So, if you are looking to be a cottage food entrepreneur and want to make money, you can start today.
In terms of licensing, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services FDACS doesn’t require a license for cottage food operations. So, you don’t have to register before selling food. However, there are some rules and limitations.
Foods that are common, such as loaves of bread, biscuits, rolls, cakes, jams, preserves, and many more are allowed. Prohibited foods include fish or shellfish products, raw seed sprouts, eggs, and milk and dairy products. The cottage food law of Florida limits your annual business earning to $250,000. This limit is higher than many other states, which allow you to open a retail food establishment. So, by following the cottage food laws, you can start selling food products to retail stores or individuals.
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