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Under the Cottage Food Law (NY Home Processor Exemption), there are certain types of low
risk food products that may be produced and sold with reduced
requirements. Regulatory requirements vary depending on the type of foods you
plan to make and how you plan to sell them. If you plan to prepare and sell foods and are not eligible for a
Home Processor exemption, you will need to obtain a Food Service
Establishment permit from your local health department. Your home
kitchen cannot be used, however a separate kitchen located in your
residence may be acceptable. It also depends upon where you live in
the state. Date of the enactment of the cottage
food law: January 2012
Only food products that are non-potentially hazardous fall into the home processor exemption. This will allow you to prepare food in your home kitchen for wholesale or retail sale at agricultural farm venues. This exemption is restricted to the following non-potentially hazardous home processed foods.
Any finished food product that requires refrigeration is not allowed to be produced as a Home Processor. Some examples of prohibited items include, but are not limited to:
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 Operations must label all of their food products properly. Product labels are required to contain the following information:
Apply for a "home processing exemption" or "20-C exemption to the licensing laws that usually apply to food manufacturers. Download the application here.
Beyond the requirements, common sense, good practices and reducing liability suggests you should do the following.
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.
Keep a written record of every batch of product made for sale, including:
You should consider doing the following:
External resources and links
Q. How long does it take to receive my approval for home
processing from your Department?
A. Approval generally takes two weeks.
Q. Do I need to have my kitchen inspected?
A. Kitchens are reviewed on a complaint basis only.
Q. Can I have a website?
A. Although internet sales are prohibited under this exemption, Home Processors are allowed to have websites to indicate where their products will be available, (i.e. farmers market locations, etc.). This exemption does not allow for home processors to make specialty items, such as birthday cakes, wedding cakes, etc. per order. Furthermore, this does not allow for direct sales of any products from the home.
Q. Are interstate sales allowed?
A. No, all home processed foods must be sold within New York State.
information needs to be on my label?
A. Product labels are required to contain the following information: common/usual name of the product, ingredient list in predominance by weight, net quantity of contents, and processor name and full address.
Q. Do I have to put
my home address on the label?
A. The place of business shall include the street address or PO Box, city, State and ZIP code. However, the street address may be omitted if the address can be found via telephone directory or internet.
Q. Why are fruit/vegetable breads
prohibited under this exemption?
A. Fruit/vegetable breads generally demonstrate a higher moisture content which requires refrigeration. Refrigerated products are not allowed as a registered Home Processor.
Q. Why is tempering/melting chocolate for candy and/or
dipping not allowed?
A. Chocolate and chocolate-like products have been implicated in food borne illnesses. Melting chocolate is not a thermal process (no control step). Chocolate melts at very low temperatures.
Q. Why are raw nuts prohibited under this exemption?
A. The use of raw nuts is not allowed because there is no control step with raw products. Raw nuts have been linked to Foodborne Illness i.e. salmonell
A. Processors who wish to use nuts in their products may use commercially processed (roasted, blanched, baked) nuts.
Q. Am I required to obtain liability insurance?
A. The Department does not mandate you to obtain insurance. Consult an attorney or an insurance professional to discuss your product liability concerns and risks.
Q. Can I get a home processor license
exemption to make products for me to sell at my store or my
A. No. The home processor license exemption is not available to anyone who holds a DOH permit or Ag & Markets license. When a license or permit is held, all foods offered for commercial sale must be made at the licensed or permitted facility.
Q. Can I
make items other than those listed? Why am I limited to these items?
A. The home processor license exemption is limited to foods where there is not a history of food borne illness and the nature of the product makes the possibility of illness less likely.
Q. Why can't I
make certain items, such as peanut butter or items requiring
refrigeration, from my home?
A. Items where there are legitimate food safety concerns, including products where there is no pathogen kill step, products which have been implicated in outbreaks, products considered Temperature Controlled for Safety (TCS) or Potentially Hazardous
Completed form FSI-898c and water test results when required, can be e-mailed to: [email protected] or mailed to: NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets Food Safety and Inspection 10B Airline Drive Albany, NY 12235 NOTE: Pet foods and pet treats can be made from the home, but require a separate registration. For more information related to manufacturing and distributing of PET FOODS, please contact [email protected]
NEW YORK (718) 722-2876
NEWBURGH (845) 220-2047
HAUPPAUGE (631) 952-3079
ALBANY (518) 457-5459
SYRACUSE (315) 487-0852
ROCHESTER (585) 427-2273
BUFFALO (716) 847-3185
pet food or pet treats, contact Cory Skier at cory.ski[email protected]