Learn how to label and sell your homemade food

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Cottage Food Law Labels

Whether you sell foods that are commercially made or made by you in your own kitchen, the labeling you use must meet specific standards. When you are dealing with cottage foods, the labels you use will need to include specific information. This information may vary from state to state, but for the most part, will provide customers with what they need to know to make informed choices in terms of calories, serving size, and ingredients.

What Are Cottage Foods?

Cottage foods are any food product or beverage that is made from home or in a non-commercial grade kitchen. Each state has a list of foods and beverages that can be sold under cottage food laws. In most states, baked goods, dry mixes, candies, jams and jellies, as well as other types of homemade foods can be sold as cottage foods.

What Regulations Generally Exist Around Them?

In most cases, the regulations associated with cottage foods have to do with how they are prepared, the ingredients that are used, and how they are packaged and labeled for sale to the public. In many states, you may be required to obtain a cottage food license in order to sell your homemade foods.

Why Is Labeling So Important?

Labeling is essential for many reasons. It allows the customer buying the product to know what it contains, how many calories it may contain, and warnings for potential allergens like peanuts, soy, or dairy. Labels must be accurate and easy to read. They are also required to include some form of branding and contact information.

Cottage Food Label Template

The basic template for a cottage food label typically includes the following five elements:

In order for the label to be legal, it must adhere to this basic template and be placed on the front/back of the product. Always check with your local health department's cottage food regulations to see if you need to provide any additional information, such as a disclaimer about allergens or that your product was created in a home kitchen.

Cottage Food Law Requirements

Cottage food law requirements vary from state to state. You can find the laws for your state by going online and searching for “cottage food law requirements (your state)." This will provide you with a comprehensive list of all the laws, guidelines, and regulations for your state. You will also receive information about proper labeling and what your state requires.

Knowing all of the cottage food law requirements for your state, especially when it comes to labels, is important if you want to stay in line with your health department. Cottage food producers generally do not need to worry about the regulations of the FDA. If you start wholesaling or expand your business beyond your state's limits, if your cottage food is not labeled properly, the FDA may hold your product until corrections are made.

Examples of Cottage Food Labels

There are several types of labels you can choose from. They include:

Most of the labels are stickers or are pre-glued and can be affixed to the packaging after it has been sealed.

Different Variations of Cottage Food Laws By State

There are many variations by state when it comes to a cottage food label template. A Florida cottage food label template and Texas cottage law labels may be similar, but there will be subtle differences that you must be aware of. Florida food labeling requirements, for example, demand that cottage food labels include any of the most well-known food allergens, including peanuts, wheat, milk, and eggs, among others.

Indiana cottage food laws 2021 and Illinois cottage food law 2021, just as with other states, have specific requirements on how to list ingredients and what types of preparation methods can be used in the production of cottage foods. All cottage food laws for states include a list of foods and beverages that are not allowed to be sold as cottage food products.

Starting a Cottage Food Business

Understanding how to start a cottage food business in Texas or any other state is important. You will have to know what guidelines your state has in place when it comes to cottage food laws and cottage food labeling. Many state websites offer a free cottage food label template that you can use to create customized labels for all of your products.

If you plan on selling cottage foods out of your home, you will need to obtain a cottage food license in most states. By obtaining a copy of your state's cottage food laws, you will be able to build your business and create a list of items that you can sell to your customers. Once you know what you can and cannot legally sell in your state, you can begin to set up your business and share your best-loved foods with others.

Your Label Is Your Calling Card

Remember that the cottage food label you put on your products is your calling card. It is also a legal requirement that will allow you to share information about each product with the customers who purchase it. Be thorough. Be accurate. Above all, be memorable!

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