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

Hawaii Homemade Food Laws, Cottage Food Laws, Regulations and Facts

Effective date September 2, 2017; amended rules, the HB 1174 and HAR 11-50-3, Homemade Food (HMF) sales are allowed and exempt from the requirement of a food establishment permit. HMF operations can only make food that is defined by the government as not potentially hazardous. Operators can use their home kitchen to produce products to sell directly to consumers. HMF sales by internet, mail order, consignment or at wholesale are not allowed. Ref Hawaii Administrative Rules (HAR) Chapter 11-50 Food Safety Code

Which foods are subject to the Hawaii Cottage Food law?

The following products can be made from your home kitchen:

  • Breads, rolls, mochi
  • Cakes, cookies, and pastries
  • Candies and confections
  • Jams, jellies, and preserves
  • Cereals, trail mixes, and granola
  • Popcorn

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.

Prohibited foods

Foods that that require refrigeration will not qualify as an HMF. Foods not allowed include (this list is not all-inclusive - it is to provide examples):

  • Cheesecakes,
  • custard pies,
  • cream puffs & pies and
  • similar food items
  • fermented foods,
  • acidified foods,
  • canned or bottled foods,
  • dried meats or seafood,
  • low acid canned foods, and
  • garlic in oil.
  • Frozen foods
  •  Dairy products
  •  Seafood products
  •  Dried meats and fish such as kimchee, pickles, beef jerky, and the like.

 

Definitions:

  • HMF Homemade Food
  • Homemade Food Operation A person that produces or packages homemade food products only in the home kitchen of that person's primary home.
  • Homemade Food Product A food that is not a potentially hazardous food produced or packaged in a home kitchen.
  • Home Kitchen A kitchen designed and intended for use by the residents of a home.
  • Potentially hazardous food - A food that requires time/temperature control for safety to limit foodborne illness.
  • "Cottage food operator" means a person who produces cottage food products in the home kitchen of that person's primary domestic residence in Hawaii and only for sale directly to the consumer, and whose net earnings from the sale of the cottage food product are more than $5,000 but less than $50,000 a year.

Labeling requirementsHawaii Homemade Foods sample label

Cottage Food Production Operations must label all of their food products properly, which includes specified information on the label of each unit of food product offered or distributed for sale. All HMF products require specific labeling with the following information:

  1.  A statement that reads "Made in a home kitchen not routinely inspected by the Department of Health".
  2.  Common name of the product or descriptive name.
  3.  Ingredient list if made from 2+ ingredients, listed in descending order of predominance by weight.
  4.  Name and contact information of the homemade food product operator.

It is recommended that honey manufacturers/processors include this additional statement to their product label: "Honey is not recommended for infants less than twelve (12) months of age"; and

Depending on the size of your business, your label must comply with Federal label regulations and with the new nutritional labeling law. You can download a copy of the FDA Food Labeling Guide here it s an illustrated booklet that should answer all your questions.

Where may Cottage Food Production Operations sell the food products?

Cottage Food Products may not be sold across state lines.  In other words,  only be sold within the state. They may be sold directly to the consumer from the home where the products are produced. They may also be sold at for-profit and non-profit events such as farmers markets, craft fairs, fundraisers, bake sales and by any other means where you sell directly to the consumer.  They may not be sold over the internet.

Certification requirement

HMF operators are required to obtain food safety training from DOH or from a program approved by DOH. Upon completion of the training, operators must be able to demonstrate knowledge of basic food safety and present documentation as proof of completion. American National Standards Institute (ANSI) accredited courses will meet this requirement. You can access the current DOH schedule of FREE food safety classes and a list of organizations that offer ANSI accredited online courses at: http://health.hawaii.gov/san/food-safety-education/

Other requirements

  • Cottage food operations can sell up to $50,000 of products per year.

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. And this pH meter is really good, but isn't always available.
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.

More resources:

Questions? Contact Information:

Frequently Asked Questions FAQ

  1. Why are some food products not allowed to be made and sold as a Homemade Food Product?
    Products allowed as Homemade Foods are considered low risk foods. Since Homemade Food Operations are not routinely inspected by DOH, it is necessary to limit food products to those that are considered low risk, or not potentially hazardous.
  2. The Farmers Market I want to sell my homemade food product says I need a "food permit". Can they require a permit?
    Yes. Some farmers markets and other events require you to obtain a Special Event permit. You are exempt from obtaining a DOH permit, but are still subject to rules and regulations of other agencies and departments. If you need a Special Event permit from us, you may complete an application and we will process it. Applications are available at: http://health.hawaii.gov/san/special-event-permit-applications/ 
  3. Can I serve free samples of my homemade food product?
    Yes, but you cannot modify or add ingredients to your product that would make it a potentially hazardous food. For example, if your homemade food product is loaf bread, you cannot serve a sample with cheese or bruschetta.
  4. Can I sell my homemade food product to my favorite restaurant or grocery store?
    No. Homemade food products are not considered to be an approved source for use in a restaurant or sold in a store. HAR 11-50-31(a)(2) states that food made in a private home may not be used or offered in a food establishment. Homemade food products must be sold directly to the consumer.
  5. How do I know if my homemade food product is considered not potentially hazardous?
    If you have any questions regarding the production of a particular homemade food product, please contact your local Sanitation Branch office. Contact information is available at: http://health.hawaii.gov/san/contact-us/