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Under the PA 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.
Generally,the types of production that can occur in 'limited food establishments' (whether an actual home-use kitchen or a kitchen designed in a residential fashion) are limited to foods that are not 'time and temperature controlled for safety' (TCS) foods (i.e., potentially hazardous foods, 'PHF'). TCS foods are foods that will support the growth of pathogenic microorganisms and require temperature controls (kept hot or cold). TCS foods can only be produced in a licensed / registered 'commercial' food establishment kitchen that meets the full regulatory code requirements, including separation from residential-use areas, and adequate plumbing fixtures. This does not specifically prohibit processing of TCS foods from a residential property, but the foods could only be produced in a second 'commercial' processing kitchen separate from the private home kitchen or any residential personal use areas, and that meets the full regulatory standards for a food establishment.
Potentially hazardous foods may be prepared in a home, if processed in a kitchen other than what is used for home-use and the facility has its own outside entrance. For safety, time and/or temperature controls are needed to limit pathogen growth or toxin formation in potentially hazardous foods. Potentially hazardous foods may include, but not limited to, any of the following products:
Home manufacturing of "temperature control for safety" (TCS) foods, also known as potentially hazardous foods (PHFs), is permitted only if prepared in a separate kitchen used only for this purpose. Because of their high moisture and low acid content, TCS foods can become unsafe to eat if they are not kept refrigerated. TCS food examples include milk or other dairy products, eggs, meat, and cooked pasta or vegetables. Pennsylvania regulations forbid the manufacture of TCS foods in a dual-use home kitchen. Instead, you will need to construct a completely separate kitchen that is used only for your food business. Keep in mind that no PHF products may pass through or be stored in the home at any time; therefore, you may need to construct separate entrances and exits to food processing and storage areas. Ask a PDA sanitarian for more information if you decide to make TCS products in your home.
It is more complicated, but there are resources that will help.
this page for much more information.
Anyone wishing to prepare food from home or home style kitchen must fill out a completed "PA Application for a Limited Food Establishment". Among other things, it wants details like the number of employees, working hours, tax documentation, and, recipe and food product labels.Please allow 3 to 5 weeks for processing.
Because only limited types of food may be prepared from the home or home - style kitchen and in some cases laboratory testing of the product must occur, it is necessary to closely evaluate these businesses. It may additionally be necessary for those facilities wishing to sell their products interstate to register with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). More detailed information on Limited Food Establishments is layed out in the Application Packet.
The Limited Food Processor Application must be submitted to the department as soon as possible. There is no money required for the Application/Plan Review process.
Cottage Food Products Establishments can sell anywhere they want (including interstate), and there is no limit on the amount they can sell.
Limited Food processors are regulated under The Food Safety Act (3 Pa.C.S.A. §§ 5721 - 5737). Regulations under this Act include all federal regulations related to food, and can be found in Title 21 of the Code of Federal Regulation (CFR's). CFR's can be accessed at www.ecfr.gov. In some cases, businesses may additionally be regulated under PA Code Title 7, Chapter 46, Food Code (if products are retailed direct to consumers from the business).
To sell Canned Foods (as described above) - you must:
To sell Jams, Jellies, Conserves, Preserves, etc.
You must also:
Juices and beverages
These are more complicated.
Philly has additional requirements. call 215-685-7495 or use walk-in hours at the Office of Food Protection, 321 University Avenue, 2nd Floor, Monday - Friday 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Although PA does not spell it out, foods sold by a cottage food production operation should be properly packaged and labeled. The food must be packaged in a manner that prevents product contamination, except for foods that are too large and or bulky for conventional packaging. Food labels should include the following information:
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.
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:
Although iInspections are not required, you should consider doing the following:
The Presto Pressure
canners are out
of stock, but Tfal's
Above is the
2020 version of
the Ball Blue Book