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What Every Home-Based Food Entrepreneur Needs to Know About Texas Cottage Food Law

Texas makes it easy to start your own home-based food enterprise. Texas has no required cottage food license, inspections, or permits required for starting your homemade food business. There are just a few requirements for running your homemade food business in Texas that are as easy as 1-2-3.

  1. Texas does have rules about what you can sell and how you can sell it. Read all about the cottage food law Texas has for selling food from home in Texas on the Texas Department of State Health Services website. You will find a comprehensive Texas cottage food law list there.
  2. Take food handler training. This is a requirement for everyone who makes, serves. or sells food to the public in Texas, not just businesses regulated by Texas cottage food law. The course costs around $10.
  3. Learn Texas cottage food law label requirements and create the labels for your food. Remember, when you are searching for examples, Google under "Texas cottage food law," not just "Texas cottage law."

Those are all the cottage food laws that every home food entrepreneur absolutely must follow in Texas. But there are some other things you should do before you get started because they will help you run your business so much more smoothly.

Cottage Food Insurance in Texas

Liability insurance is not required for selling homemade food in Texas, but it is a good idea to get insurance to take care of your customers in case something goes horribly wrong with your food, and to provide for legal expenses and protect your assets should you be sued.

There is a national liability protection program called the Food Liability Insurance Program (FLIP). It's not limited to Texas, but it is available to cottage food business owners in Texas. Find them on the FLIP website or call them at 1-888-568-0548.

Texas Food Laws: Recipes

The State of Texas wants you to follow well-established, scientifically grounded recipes to make sure your food is safe. That doesn't mean that you can add your own extra ingredients or special touches. You absolutely should!

But for many canned goods and preserves, the State Department of Health Services encourages you to follow recipes in these three authoritative sources:

Want to use a different source for validating your recipes? Get them approved by the State Department of Health Services first. Send your suggestion for a new recipe book on the Request for Official Determination Form to:

This step shouldn't be a lot of trouble. Just know that if your recipes are substantially the same as the recipes in the Ball canning books, they are OK. You don't have to get prior approval for individual recipes, just for new recipe books.

Local health departments have no authority in Texas to approve or disapprove recipes.

Texas Cottage Food Law: Taxes

You don't have to collect state or local sales taxes if you are selling wholesale, that is, you sell your food to retailers who then sell it to the public. But Texas cottage food laws don't permit you to sell food you make at home as a wholesaler! You must sell your homemade food retail, directly to the consumer.

Here's when you have to collect and report sales taxes to the State of Texas:

The Texas Department of the Comptroller maintains a list of taxable and nontaxable home food products. Don't neglect to collect sales taxes on taxable food items and send them in to the Comptroller on a regular basis. There are substantial penalties if you get caught not collecting and sending in sales taxes.

Texas Cottage Food Law: Shipping

Texas cottage food law approves shipping food to customers only if:

In most circumstances, you won't be shipping food. Texas law also prohibits selling food on the Internet and shipping it to a customer, although a customer may buy food from your website and then pick it up from you in person, or arrange for you to deliver it to them in person.

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