There is an Ohio Cottage Food Law. In the United States, there are 49 states that have some form of cottage food regulation. These regulations come in the form of laws and rules. And are regulated by the State Department of Agriculture, the State or County Health Department or some other state/county or city department.
The Ohio Cottage Food Law: Where can food be produced?
In the State of Ohio, a cottage food operator can prepare food from the individual’s home kitchen. A cottage food production operation is not a food service establishment. The Ohio Cottage Food law requires cottage food products to be produced in an individual’s home.
This is a primary residence that contains a kitchen and appliances designed for common residential use. You may not produce products in another building on your property. A retail food establishment license is not required.
All Ohio Cottage Food Operators must obtain a food handler’s card prior to selling your food. If you have anyone assisting you in the preparation of your product, such as an employee, they must also obtain a card. If at any time they will be unsupervised by you. This does not include members of your household (families/relatives).
What can be produced?
Ohio state residents can produce non-potentially hazardous foods that are considered safe without the time and temperature controls. These foods do not have to be refrigerated and may be shelf-stable (refrigeration is not necessary).
What are some examples of foods that can be produced?
According to the Ohio Cottage Food law, a baked good is not a time and temperature control food. A baked good is a food item prepared by baking the item in an oven, which includes cookies, cakes, and bread. Danish pastries, donuts, pies, and other items that are prepared by baking. (TCS: time and temperature control for safety)
The Ohio Cottage Food Law Product List (Update)
As of September 1, 2019, you may sell the following homemade food items.
- Coated and uncoated nuts
- Un-roasted nut butter
- Fruit butter
- Canned jam or jelly
- Fruit pie
- Dehydrated fruit or vegetables, including dried beans
- Popcorn and popcorn snacks
- Cereal, including granola, dry mix
- Vinegar, pickled fruit or vegetables, including beets and carrots, that are preserved in vinegar, brine, or similar solution at an equilibrium pH value of 4.6 or less, mustard, roasted coffee or dry tea
- Dried herb or dried herb mix,
plant-based acidified canned goods, fermented vegetable products, including products that are refrigerated to preserve the quality
- Frozen raw and uncut fruit or vegetables or any other food that is not a time and temperature control for safety food.
The Ohio Cottage Food Law Sales Limit
The State of Ohio Sales limit is $50,000.00 (updated & increased September 2013)
Is a home inspection required in the State of Ohio?
There is no home inspection required to be an Ohio cottage food operator.
How are foods sold to the consumer?
Cottage foods are sold directly to consumer from producer’s home and at:
- Farmers’ markets
- Farm stands
- Municipal, county, or nonprofit fairs, festivals or events.
A cottage food production operation may sell through the Internet or by mail order only if: the consumer purchases the food through the Internet or by mail order from the producer. And the operator personally delivers the food to the consumer. A cottage food production operation may not sell wholesale, a practice allowed in other cottage food states.
One of the most challenging tasks for cottage food operators is locating customers. Your goal is to find consumers willing and able to pay the price your asking. You are in business to make money, not appease your ego. You are not in business to give discounts either.
Competing with Walmart or Big Box stores and local competitors is impossible. Your products are unique, one of a kind. Success begins with understanding why your product is unique and who is most likely to buy it.
Read and review the entire Ohio Cottage Food Law. Ask lots of questions and remember keeping the consumer safe is your number one goal.
How should I label my cottage food products?
Foods sold by a cottage food production operation must be packaged and labeled. The food must be packaged in a manner that prevents product contamination, except for foods that are too large or bulky for conventional packaging. The labeling information for foods that are not packaged must be provided to the consumer on an invoice or receipt.
- The name and physical address of the cottage food production operation
- The common or usual name of the product
- If a food is made with a major food allergen, such as eggs, nuts, soy, peanuts, milk or wheat that ingredient must be listed on the label
- The following statement: “This food is made in a home kitchen and is not inspected by the Department of State Health Services or a local health department.”
- Labels must be legible.
Also, cottage operators selling frozen raw or uncut fruits must label or provide on the invoice or receipt the following statement: Use 12-point font: “SAFE HANDLING INSTRUCTIONS: To prevent illness from bacteria, keep this food frozen until preparing for consumption.” For each batch of pickled fruit or vegetables, fermented vegetable products, or plant-based acidified canned goods, a cottage food production operation must: label the batch with a unique number.
Food Grade Packaging
Packaging is another concern you must pay close attention to. Use only food grade packaging and ask online vendors before purchasing boxes or bags that will touch the food if they are food grade. Check with your cottage food agency for specific requirements.
Successful Cottage Food Operators
Successful Ohio Cottage Food Operators know there are a variety of tasks and strategies that help cottage food sales. Success is dependent on producing an in-demand food product. Taking time to research the marketplace to see what is missing. Plus, making a remarkable, unique must-have product.
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