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Florida Cottage Food Law Update

Last Updated on March 17, 2019
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The Cottage Food Law in Florida allows individuals to sell certain foods produced in a home kitchen. The foods must have a low risk of foodborne illness, as outlined in Section 500.80 of the Florida Statutes. Cottage foods cannot be sold wholesale and can only be sold in the State of Florida. Operators must properly package and label all cottage foods; in addition to free samples for tasting.

On July 1, 2017, the Cottage Food Law was amended. The annual gross sales of cottage food products allowed under the law increased from $15,000 to $50,000. Producers can now sell, offer for sale, and accept payment over the Internet. The product must be delivered in person directly to the consumer, or to a specific event venue.

You Cannot Hire Help as a Cottage Food Operator in Florida

Many cottage food operators in Florida are not aware that hiring temporary help is not allowed. However, according to an Environmental Specialist with the Florida Department of Agriculture, cottage food operators cannot hire employees of any type, not temporary, full-time, part-time or volunteers. You must do all of the work yourself and if you deliver your product, you must deliver it yourself. Cottage Food production is not regulated, CFO’s produce small-batch products, low volume and permits are not required. The Florida Cottage Food Law does not allow anyone to produce the food except the cottage food operator. Doesn’t sound fair, does it? The Cottage Food Law is designed to help creative food entrepreneurs make extra money. A Cottage Food Operation is seen as a stepping stone; in the event, the business grows into a more profitable business, there for hiring help should never be seen as a necessity.

Review the Florida Cottage Food Law document and contact them at 850-245-5520 if you have questions.

The State of Florida provides a thorough overview of what is allowed as a Cottage Food Operator.

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8 Comments. Leave new

  • Denice Morrison
    September 19, 2018 7:33 PM

    Looking for information.

    • What information are you seeking? The last update was July 1, 2017. The Florida Cottage Food Law was amended to include two important changes. These updates, included increasing the annual gross sales of cottage food products allowed under the law from $15,000 to $50,000, and make it possible for the producer to sell, offer for sale, and accept payment over the Internet, if the product is delivered in person directly to the consumer, or to a specific event venue. Please email us if you have questions: contact at foodpreneurinstitute dot com.

    • Rosemary Droxler
      November 14, 2018 7:28 AM

      Hi. I want to offer hands on cooking classes in my home kitchen where participants make their own meal to take home. Is this considered a cottage food industry?

      • Hi Rosemary, you will need to host your cooking classes from a commercial kitchen. You can call the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Their phone number is (850) 245-5520. The primary issue is the liability factor and who is liable should someone get sick from eating food prepared in a home kitchen. You may also want to contact your County Health Department, but start with the FDACS for guidance and the rules and regulations for starting home-based cooking classes. Good luck to you.

  • Can there be more than one Cottage Food Operation in a home? For instance, can one entity specifically produce and sell jelly while another separate entity exclusively makes breads?

    • Hi Mom of 3, no you cannot have more than one Cottage Food Operation in a home. You can produce more than one product, however. The reason the State of Florida allows only one business is because Cottage Foods are meant to be a starter business that moves you into a full commercial production. I know this seems unfair, but for now, this is what you have to work with. If you have a family member willing to allow you to use their home kitchen you may start another business, that’s about all you can do. You may want to see if there is an incubator kitchen that will work with your to produce one of your products. You may also want to look at any grants available to New Food Entrepreneurs. Finding funds may help you afford a commercial facility. Contact the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer
      Services (FDACS) to see if there are grants or commercial food facilities available to assist you. Don’t give up, new opportunities occur often and you have to state on their radar. Here’s the document for the new CFO in Florida. https://www.freshfromflorida.com/content/download/24010/486807/Cottage_Food_Guidance.pdf Please contact me directly with additional questions.

  • Hello,
    Pretzels are included on the list of acceptable food items. Do you know if mustard can be served with it if its in packets?
    Thanks

    • You will need to ask the Florida Cottage Food Agency. The phone number is 850-245-5520 and ask for ‘Lydia’ in Cottage Foods. We have a call into her, but you may reach her sooner. When she responds we will post her reply here.

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