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

Missouri Cottage Food Laws, Regulations and Facts

Date of the enactment of the Missouri cottage food law:  August 28th, 2014; (SB 525) (HB1421)

Where local codes allow, individual stands in which only foods meeting the following conditions are sold, sampled or served:

Which foods are subject to the Missouri Cottage Food law?

Only Non-potentially hazardous processed food, except low acid canned and acidified foods as specified in 21 CFR 113 and 114 respectively, including, but not limited to

  • breads,
  • cookies,
  • fruit pies,
  • jams,
  • jellies,
  • preserves,
  • fruit butters,
  • honey, sorghum,
  • cracked nuts,
  • packaged spices and spice mixes,
  • dry cookie, cake, bread, and soup mixes;

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:

Labeling requirements

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 processed packaged foods bear a label stating the

  • name and address of the manufacturer/processor preparing the food,
  • common name of the food,
  • name of all the ingredients in the food in order of predominance,
  • the net weight of the food in English or metric units, and
  • a statement that the product is prepared in a kitchen that is not subject to inspection by the department.

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

Here is a free Microsoft Word label template which you can download and edit.  These labels are already formatted to fit on Avery Template 22820  Print-to-the-Edge Oval, Labels 2" x 3-1/3", 8 per Sheet, Glossy White. You can get the label stock online (see at right). 

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. Individuals can only sell their products directly to consumers, (that allows sales from home and at events); they may be sold directly to the consumer from the home where the products are produced. They may also be sold through farm markets, church bake sales, etc. Online sales are not allowed.

Other requirements

  •  The seller must be the individual actually producing the food or an immediate family member residing in the producer's household with extensive knowledge about the food.
  • Cottage food operations can sell up to $50,000 of products per year.
  • if the foods are sold, sampled or served in unpackaged, individual portions, the consumer must be informed by a clearly visible placard at the sales or service location that the food is prepared in a kitchen that is not subject to inspection by the department
  • County and municipal governments may enact health ordinances that are more restrictive than state ordinances, but not less restrictive. In Missouri, the requirements vary by county. Click here for links to county contacts and requirements.

. The department shall have the final authority in determining whether a food is non-potentially hazardous and may enjoin individuals who violate the provisions of this subparagraph from selling, sampling or serving these foods.

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.

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