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Laws About Selling Homemade Food

Many people prefer to buy local produce and other locally made cottage foods. In the past, this wasn't easy to do. With more and more people showing an interest in producing and buying local, the laws about selling homemade food have changed. The laws about selling homemade food vary greatly across the country with each state having its own set of regulations and guidelines. Cottage food laws by state tend to vary for many different reasons, one of which has to do with the type of foods normally produced by each state. Cottage food law in Florida may be quite different from the cottage food law in Wisconsin.

When discussing roadside selling and cottage foods, you need to know the differences that make each one unique. Cottage foods are any items that are produced within a person's home. This can include jams, jellies, cakes, pies, cookies, or anything that falls along those lines. Most people who have set up roadside selling stands only sell produce, so they normally are not concerned with the laws about selling homemade food. They do, however, have to comply with roadside selling laws that have been implemented by their state. There are many roadside selling businesses, however, that do offer cottage foods and must adhere to these guidelines.

Selling Homemade Food Online

Can you sell homemade food online? Selling homemade food online is a great way to make money, especially if you make foods people may not be able to get locally to where they live. Selling prepackaged food online requires that you follow the same cottage food laws as if you were selling in-person. There are many sources that can help you learn how to sell home-cooked food online. As you research how to sell homemade food online, it's important to understand the primary differences of selling online compared to selling to someone in-person. You must understand the shipping protocols and know-how to properly pack your foods. You will also have to learn how to calculate your shipping costs.

Selling Food From Home

If you are selling food from home, your first step is to familiarize yourself with your state's cottage laws. Knowing how to make money selling food from home legally is essential. Once you understand the legal requirements, your next step is learning how to monetize your products. Do a little research online and compare the prices of other local vendors. If you plan on selling your homemade food online, you will also have to calculate your shipping costs and make sure to include them in them on your site. Your next step is getting your name out there. If you're tech-savvy, or know someone who is, see if they can help you develop an app for selling home cooked food that you can use to stay in contact with your customers.

Permit to Sell Food From Home

If you grow a large amount of produce and prepare homemade foods for resale you may need to look into getting a permit to sell food from home. How to sell homemade food legally will depend on the state you live in. If you are curious, type “Do I need a license to sell homemade food?” in your search bar along with your state and you will be able to find the answer. There are several types of food operations that do not need permits. Roadside selling stands may not require a cottage food permit, but they may require a license depending on the state. In order to get a license, you will have to apply through your city or county health department. Permits are usually given at the local level as well. Depending on what types of items you may sell in addition to your homemade foods, you may have to apply for a retailer's license so that you can charge sales tax. The amount of sales tax to be charged will vary from state to state, so you will have to learn what your state's tax rate is and apply it to each sale when taxable items are purchased.

Additional Resources

Cottage Food Law Michigan | Cottage Food Law Wisconsin | Cottage Food Laws Florida | Cottage Food License | Cottage Food Sales Tax | Cottage Industry Laws | Home Food Laws | Laws About Selling Homemade Food | Laws on Selling Food From Home | License to Cook and Sell Food From Home | Microenterprise Home Kitchen Operations | Permit to Sell Food From Home | Permit to Sell Food From Home California | Rules for Selling Food From Home

Before you build a major home-based food enterprise, educate yourself on laws about selling homemade food, or cottage food laws.

Heather Brookshire

The Cake Whisperer


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The Whimsical Cookie


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Wesley's Treats Hallie's Sweets


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Mill City Cooking Company


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Oso Good Clean Eats


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Kultured Kombucha


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