Texas Cottage Food Law

Getting started in Texas as a cottage food producer requires completion of a food handler training program. All of your products must be made at your primary residence. Once you're licensed, there are not many limitations on the types of food you can make and sell, and where you can sell your homemade food. Ready to take your cottage food business online? We’ll help you build an online store in minutes.
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Where can you sell?

In Texas, you can sell cottage food at fairs, festivals, farmers markets, home, online, and roadside stands.

What kinds of food can you sell?

Texas allows bread, candies, condiments, dry goods, pastries, preserves, snacks, and other products to be sold.

What should be on my product labels?

Labels must include allergens, business address, business name, product name, and a note that your product was made in an uninspected kitchen.

Is there an income cap?

A home-based vendor can sell up to $50,000 per year in Texas.

Are there any special requirements?

The use of a commercial kitchen and equipment is prohibited, your product must be made from your primary residence. All sales must be direct to your customer and can only be sold within the state of Texas. You must take a food handler training program before selling.

Where can I find more information?

Contact the Texas Retail Food Establishments Program at foodestablishments@dshs.gov.texas or 512-834-6753. Learn more about Texas' cottage food laws here.

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*Cottage food laws change regularly — always double check the requirements for running a home-based food business with a legal expert or your local health department.

Texas Cottage Food Law

Are you considering selling food from home in Texas? If so, you’ll want to look into what cottage food laws are and why they matter when baking treats, canning jams, or otherwise making edible treats to sell to others.

A few of the topics we’ll cover within this post include:

  • How to Start a Cottage Food Business in Texas?
  • What Are Texas Food Laws?
  • Do I Have to Have a Cottage Food License in Texas?
  • How to Label Homemade Foods in Texas?
  • Is a Texas Cottage Food Law Certificate Required?
  • Can I Sell Frozen Produce From Home?
  • Where Can Texas Residents Sell Cottage Food Products?
  • Are Wholesale Sales Allowed Under Texas Cottage Food Law?
  • Can I Use Someone Else’s Kitchen to Prepare Foods?
  • Other Details About Texas Cottage Food Law 2021

In general, Texas cottage food law requirements are some of the most generous in the country. No specific licenses or certificates from the health department are required, but those engaging in this type of business are still required to take a food handler’s safety course. Sellers must keep accurate records of every transaction including basic contact information from purchasers to help in the event of a product recall.

Those working under Texas cottage food guidelines should understand that you can only use the kitchen in your primary residence. This means that you cannot use a friend or family member’s home to create your products. Additionally, pets are not allowed in the work area and you cannot use commercial kitchen equipment in the preparation of your products.

Texas cottage laws have few restrictions other than an annual sales limit of $50,000. Likewise, individuals cannot sell their foods in retail stores, as wholesale items, in restaurants, or otherwise indirectly. However, there is a caveat that you can have a table or booth inside another retail store to sell your food items to customers.

Those interested in starting this type of business should note the areas where Texas cottage law specifically allows sales. This includes special events, farmers markets, roadside stands, and from your own home. Delivery and home pickup are also permitted under Texas cottage food laws 2021.

Cottage food law Texas does allow for online sales, but only to customers within the state. You can also collect payment online, but you must deliver products directly to the customer in person. While this can be disheartening to some, it is far more generous than a lot of other jurisdictions throughout the country.

When it comes to the different types of foods you can sell under Texas cottage food law 2021, there are dozens of different options. From breads to canned items, snacks, dried goods, and fermented items, there are thousands of different options to consider—which make the guidelines in this state one of the most generous.

What makes Texas food laws unique is that they offer the option to sell frozen produce, something that no other state offers. However, Texas cottage food law shipping specifically states that items must be kept at under 32-degrees fahrenheit at all times, including during events and farmers markets.

Residents of the Lone Star State additionally have the option to sell whole eggs. However, a special permit is required to do so under egg rules for Texas cottage food law farmers market guidelines.

If you’re considering this type of business, you’ll also want to pay close attention to Texas cottage food law label requirements. Usually, it is a good idea to go ahead and use a free cottage food label template to ensure you’re meeting all of the necessary components.

The guidelines state that you must include your business name, physical kitchen address, contact details, and the product name. Additionally, there needs to be a statement disclaiming that the item was made in an uninspected kitchen.

You should also include allergen information for any products containing milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, or soy. You can do this by simply listing them in your ingredients or by adding a special disclaimer. Most Texas cottage food law label template options give you a choice to select one method or another.

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Cottage food law Texas label requirements also state that individuals purchasing online should have access to all label information before making payment for a food order.

If you’re selling fermented foods, Texas cottage food law 2020 specifically states that you’ll need to add a batch number to each item and keep records of these batches. This is specifically designed to help in the event of a food recall, which allows you to determine which ones were sold at what location and to specific customers. Additionally, those selling honey need to add special details to their labels.

Are you wondering if there are any restrictions under Texas cottage law recipes? The answer is some. For example, only fermented vegetables are allowed under the fermented or pickled classification. And high-acid fruit butters must have a final pH of 4.6 or below.

While it might seem like some Texas cottage food law shipping and production requirements are strict, the truth is that they aren’t always applicable to everyone. If you’re just baking cookies or selling basic foods, you won’t likely have too many guidelines to remember.

Finally, it is important to remember that Texas laws state that only non-hazardous foods are allowed under the state’s cottage food laws. Specific refrigerated items are included under the perishable restrictions, however.

In short, Texas offers some of the most broad cottage food requirements of any other state. Home cooks in this area should consider themselves especially lucky at the progressive guidelines and few limited restrictions they have to face when selling items from home.

Not sure your business meets these guidelines? Remember, you always have the option to certify or rent a commercial kitchen in Texas. While this does come with added expenses, it is worthwhile if you plan on shipping food items nationwide or expanding your brand past the cottage food income cap in Texas.

Texas Cottage Food Law List

So, what is considered cottage food in Texas? There is an expansive list of cottage food items you can sell within the Lone Star State. These include:

  • Breads such as biscuits, bagels, donuts, tortillas, scones, cakes, rolls, cookies, scones, brownies, muffins and sweet breads.
  • Candies including brittles, truffles, cotton candy, fudge, and chocolates.
  • Confections with alcohol, as long as certain guidelines are followed.
  • Condiments like honey, nut butters, salsas, vinegars, ketchup, oils, sauces, mustards, pickles, and syrups.
  • Dried goods including cereals, dried vegetables, pasta noodles, coffee beans, herbs, dried fruits, tea leaves, mixes, and spices or seasonings.
  • Preserves such as acidified foods, fruit butters, applesauce, marmalades, jams, and jellies.
  • Snacks including caramel corn, nuts, fruit leathers, marshmallows, and popcorn.

If there’s a particular food you don’t see on this list, don’t worry. Contacting your county’s health department is a good way to find out if the food you’re looking to sell is included in allowed cottage foods.

Special foods like whole eggs, frozen produce, and other specialty items are allowed, but they come with specific guidelines based on the safety requirements of those foods. Honey is also allowed with certain labeling guidelines.

However, it is important to note that there are certain foods you cannot sell. Refrigerated baked goods, kombucha, meat jerkies, carbonated drinks, and juices are not allowed. Additionally, cottage food requirements exclude sales of pet foods.

The good news? Since Texas cottage food laws are fairly progressive, this list is constantly expanding. This allows you to choose more items to add to your product offerings as necessary. If there’s a particular recipe that you feel would make sense under Texas cottage food law but isn’t currently there, it is a good idea to contact your state health department to try to get it added to the list.

Cottage Food Laws by State

How do Texas cottage food laws compare to other states? Here’s a brief analysis on how they compare to other nearby states and across the country.

  • Louisiana Cottage Food Law: The cottage food guidelines in Louisiana are incredibly strict. In fact, they even go as far as stating that you cannot hire anyone to help you if you make pies, cakes, breads, or cookies.
  • Arkansas Cottage Food Law: In 2021, lawmakers in Arkansas passed the Food Freedom Act. The state now allows homemade food across state lines, wholesale, and in stores.
  • Oklahoma Cottage Food Law: While Oklahoma used to have a highly restrictive set of guidelines, the passage of the 2021 Food Freedom Act now allows for sales of home cooked foods almost anywhere.
  • New Mexico Cottage Food Law: Like other states mentioned in this list, New Mexico passed less-restrictive home food laws in 2021. However, the City of Albuquerque still has certain requirements that residents in other parts of the state do not have to worry about.
  • Colorado Cottage Food Requirements: There is no permit requirement for cottage food sales in Colorado. Annual sales caps are based per item, not aggregate, to allow home cooks to make a better income from their businesses.
  • Arizona Cottage Food Laws: Cottage food laws in Arizona are incredibly friendly to home cooks. A free online registry program makes it simple and over 10,000 people have taken part.
  • Florida Cottage Food Guidelines: In Florida, selling food from home is simple thanks to highly progressive cottage food laws. There’s no license requirement, inspection, or training and the cap for sales is a generous $250,000.
  • Nevada Cottage Food Guidelines: In comparison to Texas, the cottage food laws in Nevada are quite strict. A permit is required and only a few specific foods are allowed for sale.

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