Sell food from home in Florida

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Cottage Food Laws Florida

The year 2020 brought about a lot of changes, initiating many people to try new things and start new business ventures — including the starting of home-based businesses. That year initiated a surge of new Florida cottage food business owners that continues on today. This is thanks undoubtedly to the great flexibility making and selling best selling cottage foods from home; the ability to make money independently of others. However, as independent as the cottage food operation is from traditional bosses, it is not independent of the law. Every new cottage food business owner must know the basics of Florida cottage food law before they get started to prevent being fined or even shut down.

The good news is that while there are some very important cottage food laws Florida all entrepreneurs must follow, this state is fairly lax overall. Florida cottage food law 2020 and Florida cottage food law 2021 has been most impacted by changes made back in 2017. That year, thanks to support from the Institute for Justice, Florida legislatures reversed a once much bemoaned statewide ban on Internet sales of Florida. They also added an amendment that tripled the revenue caps made by previous cottage food laws Florida. Now, food producers can sell homemade baked goods from their own kitchen for a gross revenue of $50,000. That's a solid annual income for those who don't want or can't invest in commercial income and has certainly enabled many entrepreneurs to enjoy a successful cottage food operation. 

In addition to this main Florida cottage food law, there are other stipulations that cottage food operators must follow. First, there are specific foods that are allowed without restrictions, ones that have restrictions (such as requiring special cottage food law labels Florida), and ones that are outright prohibited. There are also local ordinances that will supersede state laws. The following is a more in-depth look at the important things to know about cottage food laws Florida.

Food Permit Florida

Cottage food businesses are the only type of food operations that do not need permits Florida. At least, they do not need to do a Florida food permit lookup so long as they follow certain stipulations. To understand those food permit Florida stipulations, it helps to first understand the definition of what is and isn't considered by the state of Florida a "cottage food product". 

According to the state of Florida, a cottage food product is a final food product that does not require time or temperature controls in order to safely limit toxins or pathogenic microcosm growth. In other words, it cannot be a type of food that must be stored in a fridge or freezer or must be safely put into water within short period to limit health risks. This means that animal meat, raw seed sprouts, cut melons, cut leafy greens, and similar items are not considered cottage foods and thus would not fall under the no food permit or no food permit renewal list. These food items that have a safety risk are ones for which the answer to do you need a license to sell food in Florida is yes.

Additionally, whether or not you need some type of public food service license Florida will depend upon how or where you choose to sell foods. Cottage foods must be sold directly to the consumer and sold to be taken off-site. If you sell food that is designed to be consumed on-site, then you will need to apply for some type of food vendor license Florida. For example, if you sell baked desserts to be eaten in a cafe, then you will need a Florida bakery license. If you want to sell baked desserts to be sold to a restaurant, then you will need a wholesale food license Florida. 

Cottage Food Law Florida Sales Tax

Florida is one of just nine states that does not have a state income tax. But while the state isn't collecting any money from your paycheck, it is doing so elsewhere. The Florida sales tax is one such tax collection method the state uses. Here, every item purchased comes with a percentage tax that is collected by the vendor and sent onto the state. Yet, even here, Florida again offers a big boon to its residents as it does not collect sales taxes on any type of groceries. So, as long as the type of cottage food you produce can be construed as a type of grocery item, you too will fall into the no need for a cottage food law Florida sales tax category.

But while most cottage food operations won't have to pay any sales tax according to Florida cottage food law taxes, there are some outlying situations where this isn't true. If you sell prepared food designed to be consumed on-site, then you will need to collect sales tax as part of your Florida cottage food law taxes.

So for better illustration:

  • If you sell tomatoes and homemade pasta directly to consumers for them to make their own pasta at home: No, you will not have to collect any type of Florida cottage food sales tax. 
  • If you take your homemade tomato sauce and combine it with your homemade pasta and sell it to be sold at your inn or other approved and licensed venue: Yes, you will need to collect a Florida sales tax. 

Selling Food From Home In Florida

Eager to start selling food from home in Florida? Before you do, there are some other important things to know about cottage food in Florida and some other things to know about understanding if you need a permit to sell food from home in Florida:

  • No dairy-based items. In the Florida cottage food law buttercream, butter, cream cheese, and other dairy-based items are not allowed. These are all temperature-sensitive processed foods that are not on the approved Florida cottage food list and will need special licensing and registration. 
  • Nut butter is allowed. Ground nuts and products made from ground nuts are not time or temperatures sensitive and thus are approved on the list of cottage foods. That said, butter made from vegetables, such as pumpkin butter, are not allowed. Not sure if your butter-type product is allowed? Check the official cottage food list Florida at the state website. 
  • No salsas, barbecue sauces, and other "wet" products. Unfortunately, under Florida cottage food law hot sauce is disallowed because it is seen as a "wet" product. If you want to start selling hot sauce in Florida, then you will need to go through a more involved registration process as these types of processed foods must meet unique federal and state requirements. 
  • Pet foods are not cottage foods. While some pet foods and treats could be eaten by humans, that does not mean they are cottage foods. All pet foods fall under their own type of labeling and restrictions. Additionally, pet foods sold in the state of Florida must have a sales tax attached. 
  • Hemp extracts and products are not cottage food. Any food or product containing CBD, THC, or any other type of hemp plant compound is not covered by Florida's cottage food laws. 

Cottage Food Law Miami-Dade County

Florida state cottage laws are great for allowing the entrepreneur to get started thanks to their minimal restrictions. However, before you start selling food from your home, it is important to look at the unique laws of your county. Every county will have its own set of stipulations, especially those in more urban areas. The following is a look at some of the biggest counties and the key cottage food laws residents there should know:

  • The cottage food law Miami-Dade county puts special limits on what part of the home can be used. Here, only the kitchen area can be used for making and producing goods and that kitchen area must only account for 25% of the total space of the home. Sellers will also have to apply for a certificate of use and may need to undergo a permitting process.
  • According to the Orange County Florida food law, all cottage food producers and sellers will need to secure a Business Tax Receipt. Also, like Miami-Dade, there are limitations on what part of the home and how much of the home can be used for food production and storage. Orange County is the county that consists of Orlando, Apopka, and Lake Buena Vista. 
  • Under Broward County cottage food law, all businesses need to get some type of business license. Those operating under a trade name other than a full legal name will need an assumed business name certificate while others can get a standard name certificate with an EIN. Additionally, those individuals and cottage food businesses who are selling or buying wholesale or retail will need to get a reseller or seller's license. 

Another important thing to consider is that while most Florida counties won't require a kitchen inspection before operation, that doesn't mean your kitchen won't ever be inspected. According to Florida law, all cottage food businesses by act of selling food open themselves up to post-complaint inspection. This means that if anyone complains about your food products or how you are operating your cottage food business, you risk inspection. These inspections are done by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Failure to allow them to do that inspection can result in fines and even the closure of your business.

Remember to always check your own local county's add-on laws via that county's government website before you start selling your own cottage food products either online or in-person. 

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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