If you live in California and want to prepare food at home to sell, there are a few things you should know. A home-based food business is legally known as a Cottage Food Operation (CFO). These days, most states have cottage food laws that allow you to prepare food at home to sell.
Laws vary from state to state, and you will also notice different rules from county to county. In California, you'll need a cottage food permit to run your business. So if you make custom cakes, you need a baking license for at home business.
What's more, a cottage food permit California requirement is one part of the process, depending on how you engage with customers. Whether at home, a food truck, or a full-service restaurant, there aren't any food operations that do not need permits in California.
The Class A permit allows you to sell directly to customers at farmers' markets and festivals. This permit also applies if you plan to sell directly to customers from your home.
On the other hand, you need a Class B permit for indirect sales, like selling packaged products in stores and restaurants. Additionally, Class B permits allow you to provide direct and indirect sales.
The California cottage food program governs laws for home-based food production. And, according to California cottage food law, all cottage food operations must meet the California Health and Safety Code requirements.
That means you can only sell food from the list of approved foods. You must complete a food processor training course to ensure sanitary operations. And, if you're selling prepackaged products, you'll need state and federal-compliant labels.
As long as you follow the rules, you can use your kitchen to prepare, package, and store cottage food products, ingredients, and equipment. Ultimately, you want to do your homework, get a business license, and apply for a cottage food license to comply with state laws.
If you're wondering how to apply for a cottage food license in California, be prepared because it is a process. If you do it right, you can successfully make and sell your homemade food products. After all, you don't want to worry about whether or not your business is legal.
This list of frequently asked questions with links to resources will get you started.
Yes. It's also important to consider your business structure. You can be a sole proprietor or operate as an LLC. If you're a sole proprietor, you'll be liable if anyone gets sick from the food. An LLC protects you from that personal liability because it separates you from your business.
You also need to know about a cottage food license California restriction when it comes to income. As of 2021, you can gross a maximum of $50,000 a year as a cottage food business. You must complete a food processor course within three months once you register your business and apply for a permit.
No. Filling out a cottage food license application is a separate step. You'll learn how to keep your products safe for your customers by going through the process and getting your cottage food permit.
Additionally, you can have one full-time employee. They will also need to get a food handler's permit.
No, but you might need both. A catering license California permit covers other services, including serving alcoholic beverages. A caterer's permit requires an annual fee and also has additional authorizations.
And you'll need to update your certificate every three years.
Cottage food license cost varies, depending on the permit. A Class A permit covers direct sales. It requires an application and self-certification checklist. The registration fee varies by county and ranges from $100–$150 annually.
The Class B permit covers both direct and indirect sales. The fee varies by county, costing between $150–$250 each year.
You'll find a home bakery license California application at the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).
There hasn't been an amendment to California's cottage food law in eight years. But Cottage Food Law California 2021 could change all that. In February, the legislature introduced the assembly bill— AB-1144.
If the bill passes, it will go into effect on January 1, 2022. The amendment allows CFOs to ship in-state. It also raises the sales limit from $50,000 for a Class A cottage food permit California to $75,000, and increases the Class B permit maximum to $150,000.
Currently, selling food from home California 2021 permits limit sellers to an annual salary of $50,000. The new bill will allow for the 2022 increase, and there will also be increases in the following years to account for inflation.
The new bill hasn't changed anything regarding the food processor course California requirement. You can take the California department of public health food processor course from a state-accredited teaching center. And you can most likely take it online.
Each county has specific rules and guidelines. You can research your county's policies at their Department of Environmental Health online. Here are a few examples.
Head over to the county website to determine if they have additional requirements and get a seller's permit Sacramento application. Sacramento makes it easy to follow the rules and links everything you need to start a cottage food business. The comprehensive site gives you links to get a Sacramento county food permit, class A and B permit applications, and much more.
In Sacramento (and elsewhere), there are zoning requirements for cottage food operations. As a CFO operator, the bottom line is that you're responsible for complying with all city business requirements. There might be city permits, licenses, or registrations you need to submit with your cottage food application.
You'll find links to get your Riverside county food vendor permit, Riverside county food license, and Riverside county catering license from the county's Department of Environmental Health CFO web page.
Riverside county ordinance 949 is a county ordinance in Riverside that extends the list of foods CFOs can offer. The Microenterprise Home Kitchens Operations permit is more expensive than a Class A or Class B license. But it enables the CFO to run a small restaurant business from their home.
You'll find a PDF online where you can fill out the Cottage Food permit San Joaquin County licensing. The PDF covers everything from the types of food you can prepare to Class A and Class B permits. This document also has links to the California Department of Public Health and includes a list of specific labeling requirements.
Considering that there's no comprehensive website for San Joaquin County, it's safe to assume you should follow state regulations for CFOs. But, it's better to contact the Environmental Health Department for San Joaquin County to get additional details.
If you need a Ventura County cottage food license, you'll find a helpful webpage with links for everything you need to get started, including:
They also have a handy CFO flowchart to help you figure out which license you should choose.
The cottage food license Placer County webpage is more comprehensive, like Sacramento's CFO page. However, Placer County's cottage food information is located in the county's Health and Human Services division. If you live in another county and can't find CFO information on the Department of Environmental Health services page, try Health and Human Services.
The Placer County Health and Human Services division web page includes links to everything you need to know about inspections, food safety programs, catering, certified Farmer's Markets, food truck certification, and more.
Is it illegal to sell food from your home? The short answer is no unless you break the rules. It’s perfectly legal. However, there are stipulations and a California cottage food list detailing what is fine for selling food at home.
Governor Brown signed the California Homemade Food Act in 2012, and it went into effect on January 1, 2013. You might wonder what the California homemade food act has done for cottage food operators. First off, the cottage food act enables you to legally prepare food in your home to sell to the public. But there are rules regarding direct and indirect sales, among other things.
In 2021, legislators proposed amendment AB-1144, which would allow CFOs to ship instate. The amendment would go into effect in January 2022 and increase the current $50,000 maximum to $75,000 for Class A operators. Class B operators would see an increase to a maximum of $150,000 annually.
You can be sure you’re acting within the cottage food law California food list specifications as long as you follow the procedure and get all the required licensing and permits. The requirements ensure that you know how to run a food business from your home safely.
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