Allegheny County Cottage Food Rules
Baking enthusiasts in Allegheny County could not sell a single homemade cookie, cupcake or loaf of bread until May 2021, when the Institute for Justice intervened on behalf of an aspiring cottage food producer in Pittsburgh. Prior to that time, Allegheny County banned all cottage food sales in all venues. Code enforcers even sent cease-and-desist letters during the COVID-19 pandemic, cutting off a source of home-based income while simultaneously advising people to work from home as much as possible. Volunteers could organize bake sales for charity, but they could not sell the same foods made in the same kitchens for profit. If people wanted to keep revenue for themselves, they had to spend tens of thousands of dollars to rent or build a commercial-grade kitchen. Allegheny County lifted its cottage food ban after meeting with the Institute for Justice. Producers still must comply with state law.
Straight From Your Kitchen
Chances are if you are already running your home baking business, you are already making sales directly out of your home to friends and family. This is great because you dont need to go anywhere to set up shop and the customers all come to you.
You can take this one step further by setting up a space in your home in a more professional manner. If you have a spare room or area, you could dedicate it to showcase your products and create a place for people to enjoy your home baked creations in a café style. The options are endless and how you want to showcase your space and products is completely up to you!
Business Licences And Permits For Home Bakeries
A home bakery enables you to produce food in your house, eliminating the need for costly commercial kitchen rentals. As you get started, its important to follow Canadas complex food production laws. By securing all necessary licences and permits in advance, you can build a legal, profitable home-bakery business.
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Pennsylvania Cottage Food Resources
As part of its Food Freedom Initiative, the Institute for Justice provides a variety of resources for home bakers and other food entrepreneurs. These include:
- Model Food Freedom Act from the Institute for Justice guides activism efforts at state capitols nationwide.
- Flour Power: How Cottage Food Entrepreneurs Are Using Their Home Kitchens to Become Their Own Bosses surveys 775 cottage food producers in 22 states about what their businesses mean to them.
- Ready to Roll highlights nine lessons from the Institute for Justices cottage food victory in Wisconsin.
- The Attack on Food Freedom examines the impact of regulations on farmers, chefs, artisans, restaurateurs, food truck operators and others.
What Are Cottage Foods
Cottage foods are non-potentially hazardous foods, such as baked goods, jams and jellies. These can be baked outside of a commercial kitchen inside your home and sold to consumers under the cottage food law.
Some ingredients have the potential to cause problems if the food were to go bad, like meat, seafood and dairy products. These items cannot be used to bake cottage foods, to help ensure that products sold under the cottage foods law are safe to eat.
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Registration Permits And License Requirements
A number of states have some sort of requirement to register or obtain a Permit, or License. See table 2.
Individuals, under most states rules may sell directly to other individuals, not businesses, such as restaurants or grocery stores. A number of states limit the sales of home processed foods to farmers markets, bake sales and charity events. And usually, while you may have a website to promote your products, you may not sell online or across state lines. Indirect Sales are allowed in California, Maine and Ohio. New Hampshire and Pennsylvania allow it indirectly only at farmers markets, and producers’ premises.
Pennsylvania Cottage Food Facts
Myths about cottage food abound. Here are the facts:
- Cottage food is safe. Critics who talk about the risk of food-borne illness give hypothetical examples of what could go wrong because real-world cases are rare or nonexistent.
- Cottage food is local. When neighbors trade with neighbors, money stays in the local economy.
- Cottage food is transparent. People who buy from a cottage food producer know what they get. If they have questions about ingredients, sourcing or safety, they can ask.
- Cottage food creates jobs.Many homemade food producers use their income to provide for their families. Others seek a secondary or supplemental income.
- Cottage food empowers women.IJ cottage food research shows that most cottage food producers are women, and many live in rural areas with limited economic opportunity.
- Cottage food expands consumer choice.Some stores simply dont sell what you want. This is especially true if you have a gluten-free, peanut-free, halal, kosher or vegan diet. Cottage food fills market gaps, giving consumers more options.
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Youll Need All The Help You Can Get
One of the secrets to growing baking business ideas is by leveraging the expertise of others. This includes experienced bakers and also marketing skills of others.
In a nutshell, you want to move your products as far as possible.
When the right hands are recruited, it results in more productivity. So, you might want to hire such experienced hands only when the need arises and when youre able to foot their wages.
With the steps outlined above, making money from selling baked goods from home becomes much easier. You wont have to sweat it out to make extra income from your baking skills.
Which Baked Goods To Sell Online
Wondering which kind of baked goods to sell online? This is an important question to ask. The exciting part is that you can sell virtually any kind of baked good online, provided your product adheres to state and food sales laws.
Here are some high demand products to get you started:
- Crisped rice treats
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How And Where Can You Sell
Individuals, under most states rules may usually sell directly to other individuals, not businesses, such as restaurants or grocery stores. A number of states limit the sales of home processed foods to farmers markets, bake sales and charity events. And usually, while you may have a website to promote your products, you may not sell online or across state lines. Indirect Sales are allowed in California, Maine and Ohio. New Hampshire and Pennsylvania allow it indirectly only at farmers markets, and producers’ premises. If you are considering cookies, cakes, or candy sales, see these overviews
Choose Your Baking Niche
While you may be tempted to offer as many items as possible, its better to limit your offerings in the beginning. Focus on one or two items that are your specialty, and make them better than any of your competitors similar offerings.
Finding a niche like gluten-free bagels or vegan cookies, for example allows you to stand out as a specialist and makes it easier to make a name for yourself among a small, dedicated customer group.
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Getting Started In Pennsylvania
|Are Local Ordinances Preempted or Overridden?||No|
|License, Permit or Registration Required||Yes|
|Recipe Approval or Lab Testing Required||Only for acidified and fermented food.|
|Food Handler Training Required||No|
Launching a homemade food business in Pennsylvania is not easy. Applicants must start by checking with local authorities about zoning and code enforcement issues. Rules may vary in different jurisdictions. Once applicants have local approval, they must submit a detailed business plan to the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture. They also must pass a home inspection and pay for water testing when water comes from a private source. To sell acidified or fermented foods, producers must provide the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture with written recipes, pay for testing in a commercial food laboratory, and receive approval from a food inspector. The application fee is $35 and takes three to five weeks to process. Detailed rules are available in a 20-page application packet
Yes It’s Legal To Have A Home Food Business
Its as easy as 1, 2, 3.
1. Read the rules so you know what you can sell and how you can sell it.
2. Take your required food handlers training.
3. Create your required food labels.
S.B. 572 is the most comprehensive reform to the cottage food law since 2013. See how the law has changed over the years.
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Wisconsincan You Legally Sell Food From Home In Wisconsin
Cottage Food Law
Wisconsin has two avenues for selling homemade food: this ruling, which allows baked goods, and the pickle bill, which allows some types of canned goods. Under this ruling, home cooks can sell their nonperishable baked goods directly to anyone in the state, and there is no limit on how much they can sell.
Wisconsin tried to change their pickle bill for many years, but they were always thwarted by strong political efforts from the Wisconsin Bakers Association and the Wisconsin Grocers Association, which were concerned about competition. It made no sense that Wisconsin would allow canned goods, which are relatively risky, and not allow baked goods, some of the least risky foods.
With multiple unsuccessful attempts at changing the law , the restriction for home bakers was finally overturned by a lawsuit against the state, which took over two years to come to a full resolution. This successful group effort involved plaintiffs Lisa Kivirist , Kriss Marion, and Dela Ends, along with legal support from the Institute for Justice. The opposition from the associations were so strong that the judge had to clarify his ruling twice, and clearly became annoyed at their efforts to restrict home bakers.
Wisconsin is also now one of a handful of states that has no law allowing cottage food operations . However, a bill may be passed in the future , which would clarify the current allowances.
Arkansascan You Legally Sell Food From Home In Arkansas
Cottage Food Law
Arkansas created a cottage food law in 2011 , and it was amended three times .
However, in 2021, Arkansas replaced their cottage food law with the Food Freedom Act , and it is now one of the best laws in the country!
Under the food freedom law, producers can sell their homemade food almost anywhere, including sales through grocery and retail stores. Even interstate sales are allowed.
Producers can sell almost any type of nonperishable food, though producers who sell acidified foods must follow additional requirements.
There is no sales limit, and a producer does not need to get a permit from the health department. The food freedom law specifically prevents state and local governments from restricting home food producers.
You cannot sell your products in food service establishments .
Your products must be sold to an informed end consumer. For instance, a grocery or retail store could sell your products to their customers, who are end consumers and can see your product labels. But you could not sell your products to a business that intends to use them to create a gift for their clients. The goal is that the person who consumes your products is informed that they are homemade.
Starting a cottage food business?
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What Will I Be Allowed To Sell
The list includes baked goods , candy, chocolate-covered dried fruit and dried nuts, dried herbs, dry seasonings, dried pasta, dry baking mix, fruit jam, fruit jelly, fruit preserves, fruit pies, fruit empanadas, fruit tamales, fudge, granola, cereal, trail mix, honey, sweet sorghum syrup, nuts, nut mixtures, nut butters, popcorn, caramel corn, roasted coffee, dried tea, vinegar, mustard, waffle cones and pizzelles.
These items are classified as non-TCS foods, meaning foods that do not require any additional preparation such as heating or initial refrigeration to be safe, said Mandy Coriston of the New Jersey Home Bakers Association.
What You Need To Start A Home
It goes without saying that you should know how to bake and that your concoctions are very tasty. There are several other things to know or obtain when starting a baking business, including:
- Sufficient skill and knowledge of safe food preparation and potential dietary issues. For example, you’ll want to disclose if you have peanuts in your kitchen to warn consumers who are allergic to the nut.
- A retail or food service background would be helpful.
- A supply of ingredients plus room to store them, a regular shopping regimen, and good suppliers. Remember, you may need to store your equipment and ingredients separately from your personal ones.
- Any licenses or inspections required by your state, county and/or city. A health inspector may visit your home.
- An understanding of your competition and how your baked goods will stand out in the crowd.
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Selling Homemade Food In Pennsylvania
People love cookies, cakes and breads right out of the oven. Yet finding homemade food for sale can be difficult because states often restrict people who work in their own kitchens. The biggest obstacle to selling homemade food in Pennsylvania is a cumbersome startup process. Once approved as a Pennsylvania Limited Food Establishment, home-based business owners can sell many types of food.
|Grades For Homemade Food Laws||Pennsylvania|
|Sales and Venue Restrictions Grade||A+|
|What Shelf-Stable Foods Can I Sell in Pennsylvania?||No restrictions|
|Can I Sell Refrigerated Baked Goods in Pennsylvania?||No|
|Can I Sell Meat in Pennsylvania?||Yes, jerky.|
|Can I Sell Acidified or Pickled Foods in Pennsylvania?||Yes|
|Can I Sell Low-Acid Canned Goods in Pennsylvania?||No|
|Can I Sell Fermented Foods in Pennsylvania?||Yes|
How To Start Selling Baked Goods Online
When your initial research on how to sell products online is complete, there are other tasks necessary in setting up your business. The more you can set up ahead of time, the less youâll be burdened by unforeseen difficulties.
Hereâs what you need to complete before the sales come rolling in:
Finalize Your Legal Paperwork
All of your business files should be completed before you start baking goods. This includes sales taxes, eCommerce shipping and handling fees, and any other cost you need to include in the sale of goods. It will also prevent legal issues later on.
Establish a Basic Business Plan
While your business will grow over time, you still need a basic framework to guide your operations. At a minimum, your eCommerce business plan should include:
- Purpose of business
- Type of products you sell
- Target customer and buyerâs journey
- Starting equipment and miscellaneous inventory
- Basic sales and eCommerce marketing plan
- Potential or realized funding sources
- Initial financial projections
This information acts as a reference tool when youâre feeling unmotivated, fleshing out a particular part of your business, or hiring employees. A business plan makes it easier to track goals and spot problem areas that need to be fixed.
Set Up Your Online Storefront
Firm Up Your Product Offering or Menu
Create and Equip Your Kitchen
- Refrigerator, freezer, and/or other food preservation equipment
- Bread slicer
Buy eCommerce Packaging and Labeling Supplies
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Sweet Success At Last Nj Residents Can Now Legally Sell Their Home
Baking from home for profit is finally legal in New Jersey.
The state Department of Health on Monday published a set of rules that will allow bakers and confectioners to apply for a permit to run a cottage food business from their very own kitchens.
New Jersey was the only state in the country that prohibited culinary entrepreneurs from making and selling cakes, brownies and other delectables from home. The state required they operate from a commercial kitchen, out of concern for sanitation and safety.
But the New Jersey Home Bakers Association and the Institute for Justice challenged the rule in court on constitutional grounds, arguing it protected commercial bakers and other food manufacturers at the expense of private individuals who wanted a chance to earn some extra money.
The health department announced in July it was scrapping the restrictions on selling home-baked goods. The new rules took effect Monday, with the state publishing in the New Jersey Register the application for a cottage food business license. The license, which must be renewed every two years, costs $100.
New Jersey home bakers have been fighting for years for the right to bake. Today is the culmination of their hard work and time spent fighting for their rights, Institute for Justice Attorney Rob Peccola said in a statement.
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Selling Homemade Food In Virginia
All across the United States, Americans are making food at home to sell in their communities. Together, they form a small but growing industrythe homemade or cottage food industry. The movement fits within a larger trend toward healthy eating and responsible sourcing, as consumers take greater interest in where their food comes from and who makes it.
Virginia has two paths for selling homemade food. The state expanded opportunities for cottage food producers in 2013 with the passage of Home Kitchen Food Processing Exemptions. Under the exemptions, there are barely any regulatory burdens but cottage food producers are limited in what they can sell and where. The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services provides details.
The second option for Virginians to sell homemade food is to start a Home Food Processing Operation. This comes with no venue or sales restrictions but imposes a significant amount of red tape before a cottage food producer can start selling.
|Grades For Homemade Food Laws in Virginia||Home Kitchen Exemptions|
|Can I Sell Fermented Foods in Virginia?||No||No|
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