Sell your cottage food online

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Cottage Food Act

The Cottage Foods Act allows specific types of food items that are 'non-potentially dangerous or hazardous' (food items that don't require refrigeration for overall safety) to be sold to consumers directly without inspection or licensing. 

In 2012, the Colorado Legislature, for example, passed the Cottage Foods Act. Under the act, per the Cottage Foods Law, the state legislature allowed specific food items to be sold to consumers directly without the requirement of inspections or a cottage food license cost. In the past several years, the Act has undergone several modifications with different bills passing. 

Some people are curious — can you sell cottage foods online? If you have this question, then you should be aware of the specific food items you can sell under the Cottage Foods Act provisions. This will be covered in detail in the next section.

Want to know where to sell cottage foods? The Cottage Foods Act by the Colorado Legislature states you can sell these foods only in Colorado. There are several other state legislatures that regulate the sale of “cottage food” as well - referring to food items prepared in the home kitchen for sale. Furthermore, these foods cannot be sold to grocery stores or restaurants. As a business owner, you can only send cottage foods directly to customers. 

In Colorado, your cottage food business might be subject to cottage food sales tax and income tax. Other states have their own tax regulations. You can go through the Sales Tax Basics to obtain more information.   

What Are Cottage Foods?

Cottage food laws have undergone several revisions by various state legislatures. If a particular food item is not present in the list of cottage foods, then you cannot sell that food to consumers. What is considered cottage food? In general terms, the answer to ‘what are cottage foods,' includes food items that are prepared in home kitchens and sold directly to customers. 

However, it is imperative to know that the food should not be hazardous for human consumption. Here is a list of cottage foods that are allowed under the Cottage Food Law:

  • Baked goods, custard, meat fillings, breads, churros, biscuits, cookies, tortillas, and pastries.
  • Chocolate-covered non-perishable items, like nuts & dried fruits.
  • Dried pasta.
  • Dried fruit.
  • Candy, like brittle & toffee.
  • Fruit pies, fruit tamales, and fruit empanadas.
  • Dry baking mixes.
  • Herb blends & dried mole paste.
  • Granola, trail mixes, and cereals.
  • Honey & sweet syrup.
  • Preserves, jellies, jams, and fruit butters complying with the standard as per Part 150 under Title 21- Code of Federal Regulations.
  • Popcorn.
  • Vinegar & mustard.
  • Nut mixes & nut butters.
  • Waffle cones & pizzelles.
  • Roasted coffee & dried tea.
  • Candied apples.
  • Cotton candy.
  • Dried or Dehydrated vegetables.
  • Confections like fudge, salted caramel, chocolate covered marshmallow, marshmallow bars, nuts, hard candy
  • Buttercream frosting, gum paste, buttercream fondant, and buttercream icing not containing cream, eggs, or cream cheese.
  • Dried soup mixes.
  • Seasoning salt
  • Ground chocolate.
  • Popcorn balls.
  • Vegetable & potato chips.
  • Marshmallows not containing eggs.
  • Flat icing.

Cottage Food Laws by State

People love breads, cakes, and cookies fresh from the oven. Still, coming across the best homemade food for sale online can be quite challenging in the United States of America. This is because different states put specific restrictions on business owners working from their own kitchens. All over the internet, people are searching for terms like 'mobile food vendor license Colorado,' 'cottage food license MN,' 'cottage food license Oregon,' 'cottage food license Illinois,' and 'home bakery license Colorado.'

Are you someone searching for similar terms? Want to receive a permit to sell food from home in Florida, for example? Read on. We will unfold details about cottage food laws in Florida, commercial kitchen requirements in Colorado, and plenty of info in other states too. 

Most states as well as local laws regulate cottage food law. In fact, every state out there except New Jersey ensures you're able to sell cottage food. However, the specific types of food items allowed along with other restrictions might vary from one jurisdiction to another. 

For instance, there are some states like Utah and Wyoming that allow easy sale of almost every type of home-prepared food item — including perishable items and meats. There are other states that only allow the sale of shelf-stable items like sweet snacks and baked products. 

However, the trend line across the nation is moving toward improved food freedom. As more laws get passed every year, it helps expand the overall rights to sell homemade food items.

Let us give you insight into some of the common cottage food laws in a few different states. 

Florida Cottage Food Law

Selling cottage food or home-prepared food is relatively simple in Florida. This is because of the series of legislative reforms that have taken place recently. A major change took place in 2011 when the state’s lawmakers modified the Florida Food Safety Act to allow the sale of non-perishable food items and preparation of at-home kitchens without any license or permit.  

By getting relevant support from the esteemed Institute for Justice, the state went forward with amending the act in 2017 to allow online sales. Due to this, the revenue cap on the sale of homemade food items tripled to reach around $50,000 annually. 

Recently, the state unfolded the all-new Home Sweet Home Act on July 1st, 2021. It led to the creation of state-wide standardization. Additionally, new rules improved the revenue cap on the sale of homemade foods to around $250,000. It also helped legalize mail delivery and allowed homemade food business owners to ensure business partners.  

Selling Food from Home in Florida

Florida Cottage Food Law 2021 has come forth with a proper Florida cottage food label template. It offers permits to sell food from home in Florida, including rolls, biscuits, breads, cookies, pastries, cakes, confections & candies, preserves & jellies, jams, honey, dry herbs, dried fruits & fruit pies, homemade pasta, popcorn balls, mixtures & seasonings, nuts, cereals, and vinegar. You can get additional guidance from the Florida Department of Agriculture. On the site, you can gather information on specific counties as well, such as Orange County Florida Cottage Food Law, Lake County Florida Cottage Food Law, or Hillsborough County Cottage Food Law.

Florida Cottage Food Law Labels

Florida cottage food items should come with a label. The detailed label should feature the following:

  • Name and address of the respective cottage food operation
  • The product’s name
  • Ingredients arranged in the descending order of weight predominance
  • Net volume or net weight of the cottage food item
  • Allergen information

In case you are making a nutritional claim about the product, you should include detailed nutritional information in the label. You should also print a statement in 10-point type, “Made in a cottage food operation that is not subject to Florida’s food safety regulations.”

Colorado Cottage Food Law

Until 2012, selling several types of homemade food items was regarded as illegal in Colorado. This is when the state passed the Colorado Cottage Food Act. As per the Colorado Cottage Food Act fact sheet, homemade food entrepreneurs are allowed to ensure direct, in-person sales of homemade foods that are non-perishable and do not require refrigeration. 

If you are starting a food business in Colorado from your home, you should know about the amendments to the Colorado Cottage Food Act in 2013, 2015, & 2016. Unlike most other states in the nation, Colorado allows selling homemade food items to online shoppers within the state limits. 

Michigan Cottage Food Law

If you wish to go through the Michigan Cottage Food Law list, then you should know that it is fairly simple to set up your homemade food business in the state. The Michigan Cottage Food law was executed in 2010. As per the rules of the law, homemade food business owners do not require any special permit or cottage foods license to run their business. 

To top it all off, the Michigan Food Law 2020 states that home-based businesses are allowed to sell a wide range of products to consumers directly. Online marketing is allowed. And Michigan Cottage Food Law online training even exists on the internet. However, online sales are not allowed. Some common foods that are allowed for direct sale to the consumers are:

  • Cookies & breads
  • Candies
  • Extracts
  • Nut butters
  • Jams
  • Dry goods
  • Jellies
  • Pastries
  • Snacks 

Washington Cottage Food Law

If you wish to obtain a cottage food license in Washington State, then you should be aware of its laws. With the passage and execution of the Cottage Food Act in 2012, selling homemade food items directly to consumers was legalized. However, even with several laws and amendments, home-based business owners in the food industry are still expected to take up a full-fledged food safety course, obtain a business license, hand over detailed business plans & recipes, and go through a home inspection stage. 

The entire process of setting up your home-based food business in Washington can take around two months, costing you around $240. You can find out more about Washington homemade food rules

As per the Washington Cottage Food Law, there are specific food items that can be sold directly to consumers. But this only applies once home-based food entrepreneurs have passed through the detailed stage of setting up their businesses. Some food items allowed for sale are:

  • Jellies
  • Jams
  • Home-baked items
  • Dry herbs
  • Candies
  • Roasted coffee beans  

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