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Living in Georgia offers exciting opportunities to make extra money by starting a home-based food business in Georgia. Home cooks can take advantage of the long growing season in a state that is known for harvesting sweet and delicious fruits and a long list of locally-grown produce.
Before you decide on which recipes you would like to master and sell, you should know the answer to these two important questions:
A cottage food business is a food preparation and distribution business that is operated from a residential location. Individuals can make a profit by transforming their home kitchen into a commercial kitchen - but without the hassles of opening a restaurant or driving a food truck.
Popular low-risk food products that are sold from home include pastries and cookies, cakes and pies, jams and jellies, breads and rolls, and artisan herb mixtures, sauces, and flavored-infused oils.
In Georgia, most low-risk foods can be produced and sold right from your home without the need for a kitchen inspection. But, they must be non-potentially hazardous foods that do not require controlled temperature (refrigeration or freezing) or have the ability to spoil before being delivered to the customer.
According to the cottage food law Georgia, all individuals selling food within the state must have a permit to sell food from home (or cottage food license). The application can be obtained from the Georgia Department of Agriculture (GDA) and a fee must be paid.
Visit the Department of Agriculture's website to find the GA Cottage Food Application Form.
High-risk foods are those that can pose a risk of food-borne illness or spoilage. Some examples of high-risk foods include meat, dairy, and eggs.
Before starting a food business in Georgia, there are a number of steps you must take to build a legal and profitable business. For example, before starting a food truck business in Georgia, you will need to get a vending license Georgia. A vending license is a special permit for anyone selling food from a food cart, a food truck, or a kiosk (such as those found at farmer's markets).
If you are selling food from a permanent structure other than your own home, then you will need a food sales establishment license Georgia. This license is part of the steps needed when you are learning how to start a small restaurant in Georgia.
Technically, a food establishment is typically considered a restaurant, but it could also include food trucks and temporary food selling locations such as a mall or fair booth set or a catering company.
A food service permit Georgia is also required to sell food from either temporary locations or permanent structures.
If you're wondering, do you need a license to sell produce in Georgia? - the answer is yes. Produce sales in your front yard or from a food cart are considered legal if you have a mobile food service permit Georgia
In order to run a legal home catering business Georgia, you will start with obtaining a Georgia cottage food permit. This will make you licensed to sell an unlimited amount of food, including produce, cooked dishes, and/or individual food products directly from your home.
The Georgia cottage food law application makes it clear that your operation is specific to your primary residential unit. Also, you cannot convert your home kitchen into a commercial kitchen. That means you will be using one over and/or stove located within the home's kitchen to do all the prep, cooking, and packaging.
A cottage food license Georgia costs $50 if you are applying after June or $100 if you are applying between January and June. When filling out the Georgia food service permit application, you must list all the foods you will be selling. If you change your mind and decide to add a food product or choose different recipes, then you will have to complete the application process over again.
Remember that this license is only for selling food locally and not in bulk. You will need to establish a separate food sales establishment and become licensed if you want to distribute your food wholesale or across state lines.