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Vermont Cottage Food Law

Vermont has always led the way with its progressive laws and regulations. Their cottage food laws are no different. Vermont was a leader when creating laws and regulations for home bakers. They are one of the only states that allow just about any food to be sold from someone’s home. Despite being one of the first states to embrace these laws, Vermont cottage food laws are a bit complicated. The cottage food act in Vermont allows individuals to work from home, but there are restrictions of which you must be aware. 

The system has three tiers and, depending on the tier in which you fall, dictates the restrictions you have. You can sell your home baked products from your home without a Vermont food processing license as long as you make less than $125 gross sales per week, which is $6,500 each year. If you plan to go over that amount, you need to visit the Vermont department of health licensing for a license. The next tier you may fall into is the Vermont home bakery license. You must apply for the license and have your kitchen inspected. If you plan to make more than $6,500 but less than $10,000, you may be able to get a home food processor exemption. This changes the Vermont food license you need and how much it will cost. A Vermont home business license limits you to baked goods. If you want to add items that are jarred, like jelly, jam, and salad dressing, you need a full food processor license. Unless, of course, you will make less than $10,000 per year. Then you may be able to get an exemption. There is also a commercial food processor license available to you. 

To be considered a small commercial bakery license Vermont, you must have a separate room or building where you process and pack your items. You must also upgrade your equipment to commercial equipment. Once you create this setup, get the appropriate cottage food license and follow Vermont food safety regulations, there is no limitation to what you can make or how much you can earn. There is one final category to consider, and that is the home catering license. There are different rules for this category. This allows you to sell prepackaged items, or items on demand, to customers. You can sell to them directly. You can do this with standard kitchen equipment in your own home. However, it does require a Vermont home catering license. There is no exemption in this category. You need a license and an inspection of your kitchen and equipment. 

Under the Vermont cottage food law, you can sell your food online, to farmers markets, events, and even on the roadside. However, if you want to sell your food at other retailers or restaurants, you will need to have a commercial kitchen Vermont.

Labeling is critical when it comes to Cottage Food operations. You must have all of your food labeled appropriately, which also means that it must contain specific information. Every item you produce must include a label with the name and address of the person preparing the food. The label must have the name of the food on it. You must also include all of the ingredients. The ingredients must be listed in order by weight, with the ingredient that you used more of on top. In then must go in order from most significant to least amount of that ingredient. If the food contains ingredients that are a source of a major allergy, such as peanuts, that must be listed on the label. The net weight of the item must also be listed. For example, if your item contains honey, it is recommended that you have a statement stating that honey is not recommended for infants under twelve months of age. Vermont has a guide that displays all of your labeling requirements. It is essential that you review it. 

When it comes to cottage food sales tax, in general, most states, including Vermont, do not require their cottage food operations to collect state sales tax on the items they sell. The food is consumed off the property where it was produced and therefore is exempt from sales tax. In general, Vermont does not require you to charge sales tax for items that are considered groceries. What defines food as groceries is the idea that they are not intended for immediate consumption. The thought is that the food is going to be taken away from where it is purchased and consumed elsewhere. In some states, if you are exempt from state sales tax, you may still have to pay local sales tax.

Some other requirements that you should be aware of before you start your cottage food business. You should create a name for your business and register it. Second, you need a business tax account because you will have to pay taxes on the income that you earn. Even when you are exempt from charging a sales tax, you are not exempt from paying taxes on your sales. You must also have a business license registered in order to pay your taxes appropriately. You are also responsible for ensuring the safety of the food you produce and sell. When you are preparing your food, you want to ensure nothing else is happening in your kitchen. You do not want pets, children, or other traffic in your kitchen while preparing foods. This can leave you open to cross-contamination of the food you are preparing. 

Best Selling Cottage Foods 

When you are considering becoming a cottage food operator, it is essential to know the rules for your state. It is also vital to have an understanding of the best selling cottage foods in your state, Vermont, in this case. If you want to have a productive business, it is helpful to have an understanding of what food items are going to sell well. 

Bread items are a top seller. These include items like:

Pastries are also a top seller. These include items like:

Snack items such as these:

Other food items, including canned or jarred items, such as these:

When talking about the best selling foods that you can prepare and sell under the cottage food laws, it is essential to know which food you cannot sell. Some of the common items you cannot sell under the cottage food operator laws are canned vegetables, fermented food, dried meat, seafood, canned meat, and canned soup. Generally, if the food requires refrigeration, it is not a food item that can be sold under cottage law.

Cottage Food Laws by State 

Every state has its own set of regulations; some may be similar to Vermont, while others may be vastly different. For example, Alabama has slightly different regulations than Vermont. In Alabama, cottage food cannot be sold online. You also cannot sell foods such as popcorn or pickles. Selling homemade food under the Denver cottage food law is much more rigid because their rules are far stricter than Vermont and other states. Reviewing the Colorado cottage food act fact sheet is an excellent idea if you want to sell cottage food in Colorado. The items for sale under cottage food Colorado law are limited, and it does not include many baked goods. 

The Illinois cottage food law is a bit easier to understand than Vermont because it does not have all the tiers found in Vermont. Illinois allows the sale of baked goods, with the exception of some pies, jams, jellies, and syrups. They allow the sale of canned foods, but there are some exceptions. Under the New Hampshire cottage food law, you only need a license in New Hampshire if you have sales over $20,000 gross. You need a license if you plan to have sales under $20,000 but want to sell your food to restaurants or other retailers. In New Hampshire, you can sell any food that is not considered potentially hazardous. This is typically food that requires a specific temperature for it to remain safe. 

The New York cottage food law is similar to Vermont’s law in the foods that are allowed to be sold. New York cottage food operator laws allow the sale of non-potentially hazardous home processed foods. Unlike Vermont, New York does not have tiers. There are no limitations or exceptions to the home processor license. If you are interested in selling cottage food in New York, you should review the list of prohibited food. Massachusetts cottage food law states that residential kitchens are allowed to make and sell food that is safe at room temperatures. If the food needs any type of temperature control, it is not allowable under the Massachusetts cottage food law. Food that is allowable includes jams, jellies, and baked goods. If a person wants to sell to someone living in another state, they should verify the cottage food laws in that state. 

Learn how Vermont regulates homemade food sales, what Vermont's cottage food laws allow vendors to sell, sales tax requirements, and more.

Heather Brookshire

The Cake Whisperer


My business would not be the same without my Castiron website! It is an easy setup with lots of customization and tons of support! I am so glad I set up my shop last year before the holidays — it really helped increase my sales!

Amanda McMonigle

The Whimsical Cookie


Castiron provides me a professional site to my customers increasing my credibility and value while giving me the tools to effectively market and manage my business in an easy, user-friendly manner.

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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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Now that I have a professional website and a simple ecommerce checkout, I'm seeing a huge increase in new customers and they appreciate how easy Castiron makes ordering.

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