Sell homemade food online from Idaho

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Idaho Cottage Food Law 2022 | Starting A Specialty Food Business In The Gem State

Going into 2022, Idaho cottage food law continues to encourage entrepreneurial home chefs and food artisans who wish to sell their homemade food products to the public. The Gem State makes starting a cottage bakery simple. There are no licenses required, no training classes mandated, and no cap on the income a home-based food processor can earn.

This article offers the most current information on cottage food law in Idaho - including which foods qualify as cottage foods, where you can sell them, labeling requirements, licensing and taxation regulations, and how Idaho cottage food laws differ from those in other states.

What is cottage food law?

More and more people in the USA are interested in preparing foods at home and selling them to the public for profit. Cottage foods are homemade foods that typically do not require refrigeration. 

Cottage foods law in Idaho is the rules and regulations set forth by the government to ensure food safety, protect public health, and, of course, collect taxes!

The cottage food movement aligns with the more prevalent trend toward eating healthy, enhancing natural immunity, and staying fit as we age. Idaho enjoys a long history of its people selling homemade foods. 

In 2016, cottage bakery laws were revised within the Idaho Food Code, standardizing the procedures for cottage food producers across the state.

What is an Idaho cottage bakery?

A cottage home bakery is the home kitchen used to produce cottage foods. According to the Dept of Health Food Safety, you do not need an Idaho cottage food license, Idaho food handlers permit, or a food establishment license to operate a cottage bakery. 

Even though an Idaho cottage bakery license is not mandatory, earning a Department of Health food handlers certificate is still a good idea. 

The exam takes less than an hour to complete, costs less than $20, and can be used to show your customers that you care about providing safe and delicious food products. You can sign up and take food safety exams here.

The basic Food Safety Exam offers forty true/false and multiple-choice questions. You must answer at least 75% correctly to pass the exam. Each attempt to pass the exam must take 45 minutes or less. You can take the exam as many times as necessary to pass.

You can study for the exam in the 75-page Idaho Food Safety & Sanitation Manual.  After you pass the exam, you can save and print out your certificate, which will remain valid for 5 years.

Cottage Food Operation Idaho

Launching a cottage bakery operation in Idaho is much simpler than it is in various other states. The Gem State does not require cottage kitchen inspections, so all one needs is an entrepreneurial spirit, a great recipe; and the desire to provide safe, healthy homemade foods for public consumption.

Maintaining a sanitary home kitchen environment

Although the state does not require home kitchen inspections for cottage food chefs in Idaho, kitchen hygiene is still very important for anyone who is preparing food products for public consumption.

Here are some common sense ways to keep your home food preparation space clean, safe, and welcoming:

Although it’s not required, the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare recommends that every home-based food producer complete an Idaho cottage food risk assessment form. 

Doing so will ensure that your products are approved for cottage food operations, and will make it easier to get accepted into certain types of sales venues.

You can learn about, sign up for, download, and complete a cottage foods risk assessment form here. You may also download the Cottage Foods Fact Sheet and Cottage Foods FAQ on this same webpage from the Idaho Dept of Health and Welfare.

Taxation on cottage food sales in Idaho

There is no cap on the gross sales allowable for cottage food producers in Idaho. You can sell as much as you care to. However, an Idaho sales tax permit is required, and you will need to keep accurate records and claim all sales in your annual income taxes.

It’s advisable to check with the local government where you live in Idaho about the need for a business license. Some counties or cities may require it. It’s also good to ask about any requirements for any other types of permits or licenses required.

Cottage food product liability insurance

A cottage home bakery is a small business, and every business needs insurance. Obtaining a product liability insurance policy will keep you protected in the unlikely event that your cottage food products cause harm or loss to a customer.

Where can I sell cottage food in Idaho?

Idaho has very relaxed laws relative to other states concerning where cottage foods may be sold. In general, you can sell cottage foods at any type of sales venue as long as you are selling directly to final consumers within the state

Some popular cottage foods sales venues in Idaho include:

Cottage food entrepreneurs are also allowed to market their products on social media, Craigslist, and other online venues - as long as they are selling only to the people who will be consuming the products. The final consumers of the products must also reside in Idaho. 

Idaho Cottage Food Labeling Requirements

Cottage food producers in Idaho are not required to follow FDA guidelines for food labeling. However, each product must be clearly labeled, in English, with the contact information of the cottage bakery that produced it. 

The label must also state that the product was made in a home kitchen and is not subject to inspection by any regulatory authority. Finally, the label must advise about any common allergens like peanuts and shellfish, for example.

Of course, you can include other information on the labels as you wish, including production date, ingredients, weight or volume, and your company logo.

Cottage Food List Idaho

Typically, cottage foods are those that do not require refrigeration. However, lists of approved cottage foods vary between states. 

So, what is considered cottage food in Idaho?

According to the Idaho Food Code, cottage foods are “non-Time/Temperature Control for Safety (nonTCS) foods”. nonTCS foods resist the development of harmful bacteria that can make people sick.

Some examples of approved cottage foods in the Gem State include:

Other Idaho-approved cottage foods include dried herbs, granola, cereals, bread, fruit leather, trail mix, tree nuts, vinegar, mustard, ketchup, and tinctures without medicinal claims.

Which foods are not approved as cottage foods in Idaho?

In Idaho, cottage foods may not include:

If you are unsure if your product will qualify as cottage food, please visit IDHW’s Food Safety Program’s webpage. You may also call their office at 1-208-334-5938 or email foodprotection@dhw.idaho.gov.

Cottage Food Law by State

Cottage food law varies significantly between states. Further, the laws governing cottage food production and sales are constantly in flux. As the cottage food movement continues to gain national momentum, the need for up-to-date information becomes increasingly necessary.

For instance, Texas cottage food laws for 2021 impose a limit of $50,000 in gross annual income from sales of cottage food products. 

In Texas, as of September 1, 2019, as per SB 572, “There is no license, registration, or permits required by state law. (With the exception of basic food handler’s certification)” 

What is the cottage food law in Michigan? Michigan cottage food laws for 2021 prohibit online sales, sales to restaurants and retail stores, mail order sales, catering, and wholesaling.  If you want to learn more, Michigan State University offers an overview of 2021 cottage food law in the state.

Alaska cottage food law, Kentucky cottage food law, Oregon cottage food law, and Florida cottage food law 2021 differ from Idaho cottage food law. Every state has its own unique set of laws governing the preparation and sales of homemade food products.

If you want to learn more about the nuances of Idaho cottage food law, the Gem State provides various resources to help. Check out the Idaho Cottage Food Fact Sheet and the Cottage Food FAQs PDF

If you still need more information after reviewing the PDFs, please contact the Department of Health and Welfare Food Safety Program.

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