Whether you’ve been creating recipes for years or recently discovered one you want to share with more than your family, the time is right to start or expand a business selling food from home. Florida, in particular, is open for business in this industry and welcomes well-thought-out entrepreneurial efforts, along with providing a set of common restrictions you’ll need to follow.
These home-based businesses are governed by what is known as the cottage food laws. Common restrictions across states apply, including the definition of what you can sell. Essentially, cottage foods are those that are non-perishable and at a low risk for developing any threatening foodborne illness. There are additional restrictions on how and where you can sell your cottage food products as well.
Also, under the cottage food laws, selling food from home in Florida will involve creating a business working from the kitchen of your primary residence only and nowhere else. A huge advantage to this, of course, is that you won’t need to rent a larger commercial kitchen space, saving you both time and money.
Florida welcomes cottage food entrepreneurs all across the state. A clear sign of this is the most recent legislative change, which seems to be an upcoming trend across the country. That trend in cottage food laws Florida 2021 involves changes to the amount residents can earn from selling food from their homes, moving it from a side job to a lucrative full-time business if you choose.
There are specific steps you need to take and state requirements to meet. Once you know how to start a cottage food business in Florida, however, you can stay small or go big, whichever fits your product or lifestyle.
One of the main questions you’ll want to answer is do I need a license to sell food from my home in Florida. The quick answer to this is no.
The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, or FDACS, does not require you to obtain a cottage food license for your home-based business. Nor do they require a regular inspection of your home kitchen.
Cottage food businesses also are food operations that do not need permits Florida clearly states in its regulations and rules. So, with no requirements for licenses or permits, entry into this home-based business is easy for residents located anywhere in the state.
The key, however, is that your food product fits well within the definition of cottage food and that you use only the kitchen in your primary residence to produce it.
Florida further defines cottage food products as those products not requiring temperature or time controls to maintain safety. Because of this, you’ll need to avoid food products requiring storage in refrigerators or freezers, as well as those that require placement in water within a short timeframe.
If your product falls outside this definition in any way and the food item involves some safety risk, a license will be necessary in order to continue business.
If you decide to change or expand your business outside of the laws and restrictions in place surrounding cottage foods, then you may be responsible for obtaining a food vendor license of some type before continuing also.
Local requirements can differ, so you’ll also need to check on these before beginning. For example, your local farmers’ market may require you to obtain a license or permit to sell at their venue.
When it comes to bakery licenses and permits, Florida leans on its definition of cottage foods, specifically on delivery methods of the particular food. For instance, say you bake exquisite cupcakes you wish to sell for customers to consume in a quaint café. In this circumstance, you’ll most likely need to obtain a home bakery license Florida version. If you find this is more the direction you wish to pursue, you’ll need to review the Florida bakery license requirements before getting started.
The food industry, in general, is highly regulated by federal, state, and local laws. Cottage food businesses are exempt from many of these, but restrictions are still in place and must be adhered to at all times.
In comparison with other states, Cottage Food Law Florida may seem slightly more lenient. Don’t let this trip you up, however, and cause complacency.
While you do not need a license and there are no scheduled inspections required, there are cottage food laws for where and how you can sell your food products.
Important cottage food law Florida will enforce includes the following:
A recent Florida cottage food law 2021 change is monumental in how you can now scale your business. Previously, the state law limited your gross sales to $50,000 per year. Now, as of 2021, those gross sales can rise up to $250,000, which is a game-changer when it comes to allowing you to expand your operation’s reach and volume.
Another area you’ll want to pay close attention to is state or federal tax laws. While Florida doesn’t collect income taxes from residents, it does collect a sales tax. An exception to this, however, is grocery items. No sales tax is collected on these items.
As long as the food item you sell can be classified as a grocery product, you will not need to concern yourself with a cottage food law Florida sales tax.
Again, it all depends on how you plan to sell your product. If it will be consumed onsite, you’ll need to collect sales tax in accordance with Florida tax codes.
Cottage food Laws Florida also warns you to pay close attention to ingredients as well. A few examples of restricted ingredients include:
You will also find that certain counties add rules or regulations for cottage food operations. For instance, Orange County Florida cottage food law requires its residents to obtain a Business Tax Receipt, or BTR, prior to opening a business within city limits. In other words, you need to pay a county tax in order to open and operate your business here, and the BTR is proof of this payment.
While you may already know what products you wish to sell, you’ll first need to be sure they fall within one of the categories of food products approved by the state of Florida. Answering the question of what is cottage food in Florida will help you plan for the type of business you start and requirements you’ll need to meet.
If you’re just starting out, begin with a cottage foods list to gain inspiration and to help you narrow down the sort of products you are most interested in. Then, determine which will make a good business for you.
When it comes to what is considered cottage food in Florida specifically, you’ll need to review the approved list provided by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, or FDACS. Avoid straying from this list in any way if you want to stay in business.
The state-approved Florida cottage food list is as follows:
With so many options for creating best selling cottage foods from your home kitchen, you’re bound to fit into one of these categories easily.
On another specific topic, you may wonder do you need a license to sell baked goods from home in Florida. Bakery goods fall along the same line as others on this list. What can make a difference, and determine if you need some type of license or permit, depends on where and how you sell them.
It’s a great time to start your business of selling food from home in Florida. More and more, residents are jumping on board and starting up their own cottage food operations across the state. So, why not get started offering yours today?
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