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Cottage Food Law NY

Cottage food laws exist in most states to allow entrepreneurs the ability to start their food business without making the large initial investment in a commercial kitchen. The idea of the cottage food law NY is to stimulate the economy and allow home based cooks to test their ideas before moving to a large scale operation. 

New York allows numerous types of cottage food business opportunities. While New York is not the most lenient nor the most strict state when it comes to obtaining a permit to sell food from home, interested individuals have a fairly easy time getting started. New York does have some requirements that must be met, but they are not too overly complicated. 

If you are wondering how to sell food from home legally in New York, certain non-hazardous foods are your solution. Any foods that do not require you to refrigerate or maintain a certain temperature are legal. Continue reading to learn how to get a license to sell food in NY. 

For those wondering how to start a home-based catering business in New York, unfortunately that is not an option with the cottage food laws. Since most catering products require a specific temperature in order to remain stable, it is not legal to sell these from anywhere other than a commercial kitchen. 

New York Cottage Food Law

According to the New York cottage food law, there are no food operations that do not need permits. Every type of operation will require registration with the Department of Agriculture and Markets. However, registration is free! This is not common in most states. Better still, your registration never expires unless you move. Furthermore, an inspection is not required. The only time your kitchen will be subject to inspection is if a complaint is made about someone becoming ill. 

Now that we’ve overed how to get a permit to sell goods from home, let’s cover additional regulations that are important to keep in mind. Cottage food operators are permitted to have a website and advertise online. They can even sell their cottage food products online. Those wondering, “Do I need a license to sell homemade food in New York,” the answer is no. The registration will suffice. Better still, cottage food products can be sold to customers within New York state borders. Most other states do not permit sales online, much less shipping within the state. However, cottage food products cannot be sold outside of New York state borders. 

Most foods products can be sold that are considered non hazardous and that do not need to be maintained at a certain temperature. If you are wondering do you need a license to sell baked goods from home, the answer is no. Baked goods fall under cottage food laws. According to the New York Department of Agriculture and Markets, the following foods are permitted:

  • Breads (Breads containing fruits and/or vegetables are not allowed)
  • Rolls and/or cinnamon rolls
  • Biscuits
  • Bagels
  • Muffins
  • Doughnuts
  • Cookies
  • Baklava
  • Biscotti (No chocolate or candy melts allowed for topping)
  • Cakes
  • Cake pops (No chocolate or candy melts allowed for topping)
  • Cupcakes
  • Brownies
  • Double-crust fruit pies
  • Scones
  • Fruit jams, jellies, and marmalades made with high acid/low pH fruits (i.e. Apple, apricot, blackberry, blueberry, cherry, clementine, cranberry, currants, elderberry, grape, grapefruit, lemon, lime, nectarine, orange, peach, pear, pineapple, plum, raspberry and strawberry)
  • Repacking/blending of commercially dried spices or herbs
  • Repackaging dried or dehydrated vegetables.
  • Repackaging dried soup mixes
  • Repackaging dried fruit
  • Repackaging of dried pasta (The manufacturing and drying of pasta is prohibited)
  • Repackaging dry baking mixes
  • Seasoning salt
  • Fudge
  • Popcorn/caramel corn
  • Peanut brittle
  • Rice Krispies treats
  • Granola and trail mix (using commercially roasted nuts)
  • Granola Bars (using commercially roasted nuts)
  • Repacking candy (excluding chocolate; melting and/or repacking of exposed chocolates or chocolate-like candies is not allowed)
  • Waffle cones and Pizzelle
  • Toffee/caramel apples (Candy melts are not allowed)
  • Confections (Includes toffees, caramels, hard candies)
  • Vegetable chips (Includes potato chips)
  • Crackers
  • Pretzels

Unfortunately, custom baked goods or cottage foods are not permitted. These must be produced in a commercial kitchen. For example, wedding cakes or decorated cookies that are custom ordered cannot be sold from your home. However, you can sell general wedding cakes and decorated cookies. This is because when registering, you will need to completely list out all of the products you will sell. You are limited to these items. Since you cannot describe a custom order on your registration form until you receive it, you cannot sell custom goods. 

Cottage Food Law NJ

Unfortunately, there is no cottage food law NJ. In fact, New Jersey is the only state that does not have NJ food laws in place. All other 49 states have some form of cottage food laws. If you are wondering, “Can I sell food from home in NJ?,” you can’t. It is illegal to sell any food prepared in your home because there is no New Jersey cottage food law.  Funnily enough, the same goods that fall under other states’ cottage food laws can be donated or sold for charitable purposes in New Jersey. However, they cannot be sold for profit. 

If you are wondering how to sell homemade food in NJ, you will be forced to start a commercial kitchen or wait until the cottage food law passes. Several organizations have been fighting for the law for over a decade. Sadly, the New Jersey commercial kitchen requirements are expensive and difficult to meet. Those who want to take advantage of a cottage food law for the benefit of it allowing an entrepreneur to test an idea will be waiting some time for NJ to pass its law. 

New York State Food License

Those who want to sell items that do not fit under the cottage food law will have no choice but to obtain a food processor license NY, also called a New York state food license. There is no such thing as a home bakery license NY. Baked goods and prepared meals both fall under NYs Department of Agriculture food license. 

Fortunately, the process to obtain this license is fast and easy. It only takes six days for the paperwork to be processed. In order to obtain the license, the following must be provided:

  • Proprietors, officers, etc. information
  • Food preparation information
  • List of food
  • Food Safety Course certificate, if applicable
  • Workers' Compensation
  • EIN or SSN
  • Fees ($400)

The above information must be attached to form FSI-303. Once approved, the license is good for two years. At the end of two years, the form, above information, and fee must be submitted to the date. For those wondering ,“Do you need a permit to sell food on the side of the road?” and “How to get a permit to sell food on the street?”, you must also get a food vendor license. 

NY’s Health Department Food Safety

When it comes to cottage food operations, theNYs health department food safety guidelines exempt these operators from having a Department of Health food permit. The NYs Department of Agriculture and Markets Division Of Food Safety (also commonly referred to as NYs Department of Agriculture and markets license and NYs food safety certification) may be required for any cottage food operator who plans on selling at farmer’s markets. 

The local jurisdictions will have various farm stand regulations NY. Aside from the New York state farmers' market guidelines, individual farmers markets can require food operators to have a NYs Department of Agriculture and markets license. Those who only want to sell at a single farmer’s market even may find that the New York state temporary food permit better serves their purpose. 

A New York state home-based business that falls under cottage food laws does not need to apply for a food service establishment permit New York state. However, they will need to meet strict labeling requirements. This is to inform customers’ that the food they are consuming is coming from an uninspected home kitchen. In addition to being produced in a home kitchen, the following must also be on the label:

  • common/usual name of the product,
  • ingredient list in predominance by weight,
  • allergens, if any,
  • net quantity of contents, and
  • processor name and full address.

While the cottage food laws do not have any required inspections or safety guidelines, it is important to use common sense. Safety should be of the utmost importance. If you wouldn’t feed it to your family, you shouldn’t feed it to your customers. Should any customer complain, a cottage food business will be inspected by the state. Any unsanitary conditions can result in being shut down temporarily. 

Some of the best practices that home-based cottage food operations in New York include:

  • Cleaning and sanitizing equipment between batches
  • Clean all surfaces in between recipes
  • Keep ingredients in properly labeled containers
  • Do not use ingredients past their best by date
  • Keep kids and pets out of the kitchen
  • Wash hands frequently

Fortunately, New York makes it easier than most states to start a cottage food operation. Since there are no sales caps, individuals can (in theory) run their cottage food operation for years. However, those who want to start selling to other states will want to look into opening their own commercial kitchen when it becomes a viable idea.

Additional Resources

Cottage Food Law Michigan | Cottage Food Law Wisconsin | Cottage Food Laws Florida | Cottage Food License | Cottage Food Sales Tax | Cottage Industry Laws | Home Food Laws | Laws About Selling Homemade Food | Laws on Selling Food From Home | License to Cook and Sell Food From Home | Microenterprise Home Kitchen Operations | Permit to Sell Food From Home | Permit to Sell Food From Home California | Rules for Selling Food From Home


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