Gluten free cottage foods are becoming more popular at farmers’ markets across the country.
If you are a cottage food producer you should be producing gluten free products in accordance with your state Cottage Food laws. We all know there has been a rising demand for locally produced gluten-free foods across the United States.
Cottage foods are defined as preparing nonhazardous foods in the home kitchen for sale to the consumer. It has come increasingly popular in the past 10 years.
With the upsurge of Cottage Foods has come the request for gluten-free products. This might appear to be great for those who want and need gluten free options. But with that comes major responsibility, namely, keeping the consumer safe.
FDA: Selling Gluten-Free Cottage Food Products
While the FDA has clear guidelines on labeling gluten-free foods. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has defined the term “gluten-free” for voluntary use in the labeling of foods. Today, any food product bearing a gluten-free claim labeled on or after August 5, 2014, must meet specific requirements.
Review the FDA requirements. (Always contact your state Cottage Food Agency or Public Health Department for specific state rules and regulations regarding the production of gluten free cottage foods.) Each Cottage Food State may have different guidelines and some may ask you to do more than required by the FDA.
What are Gluten Free Cottage Foods?
As of June 25, 2014, the FDA issued a guide for small food businesses. This is to help business owners follow the final rule’s requirements. If you are not familiar with them, now is the time to learn the rules.
- Follow the gluten free production rules and regulations set by your Cottage Food Agency
- Learn what the FDA expects from gluten-free manufacturers to create your own best practices.
- If making gluten free products, make it your mission to keep the consumer safe.
- Consider a labeling best practice: posting allergen disclaimers on product packaging. Listing each tree nut is essential since every nut has different allergen issues.
The information above is not all-inclusive. For those who want to make gluten free products, consider buying liability insurance. Be as transparent with your customers as possible.
Don’t make a gluten-free claim or guarantee. There is no way you can guarantee your product is gluten-free unless it is certified gluten-free and has been tested. Steer clear of gluten-free testing kits because the accuracy of such a test may not be known.
In October 2017, an interesting article was written about where we are with gluten-free labeling, it’s a good read.
Unfortunately, when one dilemma was addressed another one pops up. Gluten free packaging. Packaging stored in warehouses may come in contact with gluten-free foods. It is interesting how this issue has opened up a new bag of worms. Will warehouses have requirements that mandate packaging and bags be store in areas free of gluten? We’ll have to wait and see. In the meantime, Cottage Food Operators can only work with their agencies to devise best practices. Maintaining that the safety of the consumer must always come first.
Caution – Gluten Free Cottage Foods
Gluten Free Cottage Food Recipes
The 10 Best Gluten-Free Cookbooks (Updated July 24, 2019)