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Florida Cottage Food Laws and Regulations: How to sell your homemade foods in Florida

Florida Cottage Food Laws, Regulations and Facts

Date of the enactment of the Florida cottage food law: June 2011. amended in May 2017

Which foods are subject to the Florida Cottage Food law?

  • Loaf breads, rolls, biscuits Cakes, pastries and cookies
  • Candies and confections
  • Honey
  • Jams, jellies and preserves
  • Fruit pies
  • dried fruits
  • Dry herbs, seasonings and mixtures
  • Homemade pasta
  • Cereals, trail mixes and granola
  • Coated or uncoated nuts
  • Vinegar and flavored vinegars
  • Popcorn, popcorn balls
  • You may roast and sell coffee beans

Prohibited foods

  • Salsa, barbecue sauces, ketchups and/or mustards
  • Canned fruits and vegetables, chutneys, vegetable butters and jellies
  • Flavored oils, hummus, garlic dip and salsas
  • Fish or shellshell products
  • Canned pickled products such as corn relish, pickles, sauerkraut
  • Raw seed sprouts
  • Bakery goods which require any type of refrigeration such as cream, custard or meringue pies and cakes or pastries with cream cheese icings or filllings
  • Eggs, milk and dairy products including hard, soft and cottage cheeses and yogurt
  • Cut fresh fruits and/or vegetables.
  • Juices made from fresh fruits or vegetables , like apple cider
  • Ice and/or ice products
  • Fresh or dried meat, or meat products including jerky
  • Foccaccia-style breads with vegetables and/or cheeses

If your food product does not meet the definition of a Cottage Food, you may still be able to make and sell it commercially, through a startup approach.  See this page for detailed information about selling foods that do not meet the Cottage Food definition.

Definitions:

  • Cottage Food Operation means a person who produces or packages cottage food products at his or her residence and sells such products in accordance with Section 500.80, Florida Statutes.
  • Cottage Food Product means food that is not a potentially hazardous food, as defined by FDACS rule, which is sold by a cottage food operation in accordance with Section 500.80, Florida Statutes.
  • Residence is defined to mean a primary residence that is occupied by an individual who operates a cottage food operation and that contains a single kitchen with appliances designed for common residential usage. The residence may only contain one stove or oven, which may be a double oven designed for noncommercial use.
  • Potentially Hazardous Food means a food that requires time/temperature control for safety (TCS) to limit pathogenic microorganism growth or toxin formation; An animal food that is raw or heat-treated; a plant food that is heat-treated or consists of raw seed sprouts, cut melons, cut leafy greens, cut tomatoes or mixtures of cut tomatoes that are not modi ed in a way so that they are unable to support pathogenic microorganism growth or toxin formation; or garlic-in-oil mixtures that are not modi ed in a way so that they are unable to support pathogenic microorganism growth or toxin formation.

Licensing

Cottage food operations require no license or permit from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) and are not inspected by any state government entity. But... local governments can enact ordinances restricting a cottage food operation in a personal residence. Always check with the zoning agency in your City or County regarding their home business requirements.

Sample Florida Cottage Foods LabelLabeling requirements

Cottage food products must be labeled in accordance with the requirements as outlined in Section 500.80(5), Florida Statutes, and United States Code of Federal Regulations Title 21, Part 101. A cottage food operation may only sell cottage food products which are prepackaged with a label attached that contains the following information (printed in English):

  • The name and address of the cottage food operation; You must use the physical address of your home kitchen on your product label, not a post office box. The purpose of including an address on product labels is in case of a recall or traceback associated with a foodborne illness complaint or outbreak
  • The name of the cottage food product;
  • The ingredients of the cottage food product, in descending order of predominance by weight;
  • Thenet weight or net volume of the cottage food product;
  •  Allergen information as specified by federal labeling requirements (see below).
  •  If any nutritional claim is made, appropriate nutritional information as specified by federal labeling requirements; and
  • The following statement printed in at least 10-point type in a color that provides a clear contrast to the background label: "Made in a cottage food operation that is not subject to Florida's food safety regulations."

Allergans

  • You must identify if any of your ingredients are made from one of the following food groups: milk, eggs, wheat, peanuts, soybeans, fish (including shellfish, crab, lobster or shrimp) and tree nuts (such as almonds, pecans or walnuts). If you have an ingredient made with a wheat based product, you can:
    •  Include the allergen in the ingredient list. For example, a white bread with the following ingredient listing: whole wheat flour, water, salt and yeast. In this example, the statement 'whole wheat flour', meets the requirements of federal law. OR
    •  Include an allergen statement ("Contains :") after the ingredient list. For example a white bread, with the following ingredients: whole wheat flour, water, sodium caseinate, salt and yeast. Contains wheat and milk. The "Contains" statement must reflect all the allergens found in the product. In this example, the sodium caseinate comes from milk.
  • Nuts - f your cottage food has tree nuts as an ingredient you must identify which tree nut you are using. For example, if you made nut bread, an acceptable ingredient list would be: Ingredients: wheat flour, water, almonds, salt, yeast. The following would not be acceptable: Ingredients: flour, water, nuts, salt, yeast.

Where may Cottage Food Production Operations sell the food products?

You may sell your cottage food products from your residence directly to the consumer. Sales are also approved at farmers' markets, flea markets and roadside stands, provided you have no other food items in your space that require a food permit.

  • Sell and deliver directly to consumers only: Cottage food products must be sold and delivered directly to the consumer or to the consumer's private event venue such as a wedding or birthday party. Sales of cottage food products are prohibited for wholesale.
  • Mail order: No Cottage food operators may advertise for sale, offer for sale and accept payment for cottage food products on their website but the products are prohibited to be delivered by mail order.
  • Internet sales: Yes. The law allows orders and payments over the internet, however, the cottage food products must be delivered directly to the consumer or to the consumer's private event venue such as a wedding or birthday party.
  • NOTE: A permitted food establishment cannot sell cottage foods since they are from an unapproved source. For example, you may not sell cottage foods to or at a restaurant.

Other requirements

  •  Gross sales for a cottage food operation must not exceed $50,000 annually.
  • On-site well Only potable water from a properly constructed on-site well or municipal water system can be used
  • Pet treats - pet treats are not considered cottage food?
  • Non-Profits do not qualify: Nonprofi ts do not have a single family domestic residence, and therefore do not qualify as a cottage food business.
  • Local cities, counties and even HOA's can enact more restrictive rules.  For example, Miami-Dade requires that you obtain a business license.  Lee County requires that you obtain a Lee County Local Business Tax account.

Recommendations:

Beyond the requirements, common sense, good practices and reducing liability suggests you should do the following.

Testing of pH

​It's best to use a pH meter, properly calibrated on the day used. I use this one, which is reliable and inexpensive.
Short-range paper pH test strips, commonly known as litmus paper, may be used instead, if the product normally has a pH of 4.0 or lower and the paper's range includes a pH of 4.6.

Record-keeping is suggested

Keep a written record of every batch of product made for sale, including:

  • ​Recipe, including procedures and ingredients
  • Amount canned and sold
  • Canning date
  • Sale dates and locations
  • Gross sales receipts
  • Results of any pH test

Sanitation

Although iInspections are not required, you should consider doing the following:

  • ​Use clean equipment that has been effectively sanitized prior to use
  • Clean work surfaces and then sanitize with bleach water before and after use
  • Keep ingredients separate from other unprocessed foods
  • Keep household pets out of the work area
  • Keep walls and floors clean
  • Have adequate lighting
  • Keep window and door screens in good repair to keep insects out
  • Wash hands frequently while working
  • Consider annual testing of water if using a private well

Best Practices

  • Allergans:  Most state home baking acts require an "ingredient statement" and/or an "allergen listing" on the label of the bakery item for sale; but if your state does not, you should anyway. The eight major food allergens are
    • milk,
    • eggs,
    • fish,
    • crustacean shellfish,
    • tree nuts,
    • peanuts,
    • wheat and
    • soybean.
  • Cross-allergenicity: There are also ingredients available, even flours, that can cause a cross-allergenicity. The American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology explains cross-allergenicity as an allergic reaction when proteins in one substance are similar to the proteins found in another substance. For example, consumption of lupine flour may trigger an allergic reaction to peanuts, and cricket flour may trigger an allergic reaction to shellfish. Again, providing such information might be a beneficial marketing tool and help keep potential consumers safe.
  • The 2 Hour/4 Hour Rule -  Anyone wishing to make and sell refrigerated bakery items should remember to follow the "2 Hour/4 Hour Rule." This is a system that can be implemented when potentially hazardous foods are out of temperature control (temperatures greater than 45 degrees Fahrenheit) during preparation, serving or display for sale. The rule guidelines are as follows:
    • If a potentially hazardous food has been out of temperature control for 2 hours or less, then it may continue to be used or be placed back in the refrigerator.
    • If a potentially hazardous food has been out of temperature control for more than 2 hours but less than 4 hours, it needs to be used quickly or discarded.
    • If a potentially hazardous food has been out of temperature control for more than 4 hours, it must be discarded.

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