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

Georgia Cottage Food Laws, Regulations and Facts

Date of the enactment of the Georgia cottage food law: September 2012. Under the cottage food law, there are certain types of low risk food products that may be produced and sold out of your home kitchen with no inspection or licensing requirements. Cottage food sales are allowed under Georgia's Regulations Chapter 40-7-19. The Cottage Food License allows cottage food operators to produce non-potentially hazardous foods in home kitchens to sell to the end users. The Georgia Department of Agriculture does not have any limits on gross sales or the number of units that can be produced

Which foods are subject to the Georgia Cottage Food law?

Only food products that are non-potentially hazardous fall into the cottage food category. This means foods that do not require time and/or temperature control for safety (can be safely kept at room temperature and do not require refrigeration).The regulation lists the food items approved as cottage food products. This list is very specific and includes the following food products: Here is a list:

  • Loaf Breads, Rolls, and Biscuits
  • Cakes
  • Pastries and Cookies
  • Candies and Confections
  • Fruit Pies
  • Jams, Jellies, and Preserves
  • Dried Fruits
  • Dry Herbs, Seasonings and Mixtures
  • Cereals, Trail Mixes, and Granola
  • Coated or Uncoated Nuts
  • Vinegar and Flavored Vinegar
  • Popcorn, Popcorn Balls, and Cotton Candy


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.


  •  "Cottage Food Production Operation" according to Code means, a person who, in the person's home, produces food items that are not potentially hazardous foods, including bakery products, jams, jellies, candy, fruit butter, and similar products specified in rules. These foods must be labeled properly or they will be considered misbranded or adulterated
  • "Home" means the primary residence occupied by the residence's owner, on the condition that the residence contains only one stove or oven used for cooking, which may be a double oven, designed for common residence usage and not for a commercial usage, and that the stove or oven be operated in an ordinary kitchen within the residence.
  • Prohibited foods include acidified foods, low-acid canned foods, potentially hazardous foods or non-potentially hazardous foods not listed above. Low acid food means any food with a finished equilibrium pH greater than 4.6 and a water activity greater than 0.85. Acidified food means a low acid food to which acids or acid foods are added (Ex. Beans, cucumbers, cabbage, puddings, etc.). Potentially hazardous food means it requires temperature control because it is in a form capable of supporting the rapid and progressive growth of infectious or toxigenic microorganisms (Ex. Raw or cooked animal products, cooked vegetables, garlic in oil, cheese cakes, pumpkin pies, custard pies, cream pies, etc.).
  • Eggs are a separate case. 

Labeling requirementsSample Georgia Cottage Foods Label

Cottage Food Production Operations must label all of their food products properly, which include the following information on the label of each unit of food product offered or distributed for sale:

The GDA reviews product labels for formatting only. It is up the processor to ensure packaged cottage food products are correctly labeled with the following information:

  • The BUSINESS NAME and ADDRESS of the cottage food operation;
  • The COMMON NAME of the product;
  • INGREDIENTS STATEMENT listed in descending order of predominance by weight (including all ingredients broken down into sub-ingredients);
  • The NET WEIGHT or VOLUME of the product;
  • ALLERGEN declarations following FDA requirements;*
  • NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION if any nutritional claims are made; and
  • The COTTAGE FOOD STATEMENT in 10-pt Times New Roman or Arial font, in a legible color, in all capital letters: “MADE IN A COTTAGE FOOD OPERATION THAT IS NOT SUBJECT TO STATE FOOD SAFETY INSPECTIONS.” *There are eight major food allergens that must always be clearly identified on a food label in either the ingredients statement and/or in a “Contains” statement immediately after the ingredients statement: Milk, Eggs, Fish, Crustacean Shellfish, Tree Nuts, Wheat, Peanuts, and Soybeans.

Click here for more detailed instructions about Georgia labels

Allergan information;

Aallergen labeling “as specified in federal labeling requirements” means:

You must identify if any of your ingredients (or that ingredient’s sub-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).

For example, if you have an ingredient made with a wheat based product, you have two options:

  1.  Include the allergen in the ingredient list. For example, a white bread with the following ingredient list: whole wheat flour, water, salt and yeast:
    “Ingredients: whole wheat flour, water, salt and yeast.”
    In this example, listing “whole wheat flour” as an ingredient meets the requirements of federal law.
  2.  Include an allergen statement ("Contains:") after the ingredient list. For example, a white bread with the following ingredient list: whole wheat flour, water, sodium caseinate, salt and yeast.
    “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 Milk comes from the sodium caseinate.

Where may Cottage Food Production Operations sell the food products?

Cottage food operators can sell these products within the State of Georgia directly to the consumer at non-profit events and for-profit events (such as farmers markets), and through internet sales. Licensed cottage food operators are not allowed to distribute or wholesale their product, nor can they ship cottage food products across state lines. Cottage food products cannot be distributed or wholesaled to retail stores, restaurants or other institutions.

To distribute, wholesale, and/or to sell products across state lines, a Food Sales Establishment License is required. Domestic kitchens cannot be licensed as food sales establishments. Domestic kitchens cannot be licensed as food sales establishments.

Other requirements

License: You must obtain a cottage food license by filling out the form on the cottage food website for Georgia. The fee for the cottage food license is $100 (or $50 if you apply after June 30th of the year in which you apply). Include all thje products you intend to sell, because if you add newproducts later, you will need to complete a new application.

Please note, obtaining a Cottage Food License in Georgia requires the applicant to complete secure and verifiable information to verify citizenship/immigration status. As directed by law, the GDA will utilize the Federal Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements (SAVE) program operated by the United States Department of Homeland Security.

Collecting sales taxes

See this page for information about collecting, reporting and remitting sales taxes.

To get started

To get started, click through here "Additional Resources"  and be sure to read (and/or print off) the GDA's brochure, "Starting a Cottage Food Business," which includes a handy checklist of things you'll need to do before you submit a cottage food license application.


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


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.

More resources:

Questions? Contact Information:

Georgia Cottage Food Program

For additional labeling questions and support, contact the Food Safety Division headquarters office at 404-656-3627.

WWW.AGR.GEORGIA.GOV/FOODSAFETY  Visit the Food Safety Division’s website for additional information, including information about getting a notarized affidavit for proof of U.S. citizenship, Cottage Food Regulations, license application, Food Labeling brochure, contact information for the District Offices, FAQs, guidelines for food sold at nonprofit events, and more.



Below is a most commonly asked list of questions, see the complete list  of FAQs  here.

  • Will I need to meet local zoning or other laws?
    Yes. Cottage Food Operators should contact their local city and county governments to determine if there are local regulations or ordinances that will prevent operation of a home-based business.
  • Can I utilize commercial type equipment such as large rotary mixers in my cottage food operation?
    No. Typically a private home is not equipped with sinks required to effectively wash, rinse, and sanitize large commercial equipment.
  • Can I produce and sell cooked vegetable products, like salsas, tomato sauces, spaghetti sauces, or foccacia bread with roasted vegetables?
    No. Food products made with cooked vegetable products do not qualify under the Cottage Food Regulations. Manufacturers of cooked vegetable products like salsas and tomato sauces must meet significant federal and state training and licensing
    requirements. Cooked vegetables, whether fresh or canned, usually are made from a combination of low acid and acidified foods, and are considered a Potentially Hazardous Food. Cooked vegetables must be held either hot (above 135°F) or cold
    (below 41°F). They can't be stored at room temperature, which makes them ineligible for production in a cottage food operation.
  • Can I make and sell apple butter, pumpkin butter or other fruit butters?
    No. Fruit butters have significantly less sugar than a traditional jam or jelly. It is the combination of acid, sugar, pectin and heat that assures the safety of jams and jellies. In fruit butters, the combination of sugar and pectin is not large enough to assure that the butter is safe. Additionally, with lower sugar and pectin levels, spoilage organisms are more likely to survive the cooking process, which would allow for a micro-environment to develop and allow for the growth of Clostridium botulinum.
  • Can I make and sell hard candies or lollipops under the Cottage Food Regulations?
    Yes. Hard candies, lollipops and peppermint candies are allowed under the Cottage Food Regulations, as long as they are packaged and sold in a way that the required labeling information is conspicuously displayed for the consumer.
  • Can I make and sell sweet breads, muffins or other baked goods made with fresh fruits and vegetables like zucchini, pumpkin, and strawberries?
    Yes, as long as the fruits or vegetables are incorporated into the batter and properly baked, labeled and packaged. The baked goods may not be decorated or garnished with fresh fruits or vegetables.
  • Can I use homegrown fruits and vegetables in baked goods?
    Yes. You should take care to thoroughly wash the homegrown produce and the fruits or vegetables must be incorporated into the batter and properly baked, labeled and packaged. The baked goods may not be decorated or garnished with fresh fruits or vegetables.
  • Can homegrown produce be canned and used for making baked goods, like sweet breads, at a later date?
    No, but you can use commercially canned products for baked goods, like canned pumpkin, cherry pie filling, etc. Most homecanned products are not approved for production under the Cottage Food Regulations, with the exception of jams and jellies.
  • Can I freeze homegrown produce and use it for making baked goods, like sweet breads, at a later date?
    Yes, as long as the frozen fruits or vegetables are incorporated into the batter and properly baked, labeled and packaged. The baked goods may not be decorated or garnished with fresh or frozen fruits or vegetables.
  • Can I make and sell dry bread or ‘instant' bread mixes under the Cottage Food Regulations?
    Yes. Dry bread mixes are an acceptable product to produce and sell, as long as you meet all the requirements of the Cottage Food Regulations.
  • Does my chocolate fountain business qualify as a Cottage Food Operation? I deliver and set up the fountain, and provide chocolate dipping sauce and items to dip (cut up fruit, pretzels, etc.) that I have prepared in my home kitchen.
    No. This type of business is a catering service, or food service business, subject to local county health department regulations and permitting.
  • Can I sell my Cottage Foods over the Internet?
    Yes. Sales and product delivery must be directly from the producer to the end consumer located in Georgia. It is the responsibility of the Cottage Food Operator to ensure that the Cottage Food Products produced do not cross state lines. If their products did cross state lines, at that time they would be subject to FDA regulations, and would be required to obtain a Manufactured Food Establishment License from the Department - which cannot be issued for foods produced in a domestic
  • Is it possible to place my Cottage Food Products in a store or restaurant on consignment?
    No. Cottage Food products cannot be sold on consignment. Sales must be person-to-person, from the Cottage Food
    Producer to the end consumer. Cottage Food Products would not be considered an approved source for sale at retail
    establishments regulated by the Department, or at restaurants/institutions regulated by county health departments.