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Texas Cottage Food Laws and Regulations: How to sell your homemade foods in Texas
Texas Cottage Food Laws, Regulations and Facts
Date of the enactment of the Texas cottage food law:
SB81 June 2011,
Which foods are subject to the Texas Cottage Food law?
Allowed foods are baked good, candy, coated and uncoated nuts, unroasted nut
butters, fruit butters, a canned jam or jelly, a fruit pie,
dehydrated fruit or vegetables, including dried beans, popcorn
and popcorn snacks, cereal, including granola, dry mix, vinegar,
pickles, mustard, roasted coffee or dry tea, or a dried herb or
dried herb mix. Here is a more detailed list:
Breads, rolls, biscuits
Sweet breads, muffins
Cakes (birthday, wedding, anniversary, etc.
Coated and uncoated nuts
Unroasted nut butters
Fruit butters (the following homemade fruit butters are not
allowed pumpkin, banana, and pear)
Canned jams or jellies
Dehydrated fruit or vegetables, including dried beans
Popcorn and popcorn snacks
Cereal, including granola
Roasted coffee or dry tea
Dried herbs and dried herb mixtures
The following foods are examples of food that can not be produced
by a cottage food production operation.
Fresh or dried meat or meat products including jerky
Canned fruits, vegetables, vegetable butters, salsas etc.
Only pickled cucumbers are allowed under the Cottage Food Law.
All other pickled vegetables are prohibited.
Kolaches with meat
Fish or shellfish products
Canned pickled products such as but not limited to corn relish
Raw seed sprouts
Bakery goods which require any type of refrigeration such as
cream, custard or meringue pies, cheesecake, and cakes or pastries with cream
cheese icings or fillings
Milk and dairy products including hard, soft and cottage cheeses
Fresh fruits dipped or coated in chocolate or similar
Cut fresh fruits and/or vegetables
Juices made from fresh fruits or vegetables
Ice or ice products
Barbeque sauces and ketchups
Foccaccia-style breads with vegetables or cheeses
Beverages including but not limited to Lemonade, juices, hot
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.
- A cottage food production operation (CFPO)
defined as an individual, operating out of the individual's
- Produces a baked good, candy, coated and uncoated nuts,
unroasted nut butters, fruit butters, a canned jam or jelly,
a fruit pie, dehydrated fruit or vegetables, including dried
beans, popcorn and popcorn snacks, cereal, including
granola, dry mix, vinegar, pickles, mustard, roasted coffee
or dry tea, or a dried herb or dried herb mix.
- Has an annual gross income of $50,000 or less from the
sale of the described foods.
- Sells the foods produced directly to consumers at the
individual's home, a farmers' market, a farm stand, or a
municipal, county, or nonprofit fair, festival or event; and
- Delivers products to the consumer at the point of sale
or another location designated by the consumer
A baked good is a food item prepared by baking
the item in an oven, which includes cookies, cakes, breads,
Danishes, donuts, pastries, pies, and other items that are
prepared by baking. A baked good does not include a potentially
hazardous food (time/ temperature control for safety foods)
A potentially hazardous food (PHF) is a food
that requires time and temperature control for safety (TCS) to
limit pathogen growth or toxin production. In other words, a
food must be held under proper temperature controls, such as
refrigeration to prevent the growth of bacteria that may cause
human illness. A PHF/TCS is a food that: contains protein,
moisture (water activity greater than 0.85), and is neutral to
slightly acidic (pH between 4.6 -7.5).
Cottage food production operations is are not a retail food
establishment, therefore, a retail food establishment license is not
Foods sold by a cottage food production operation must be
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. The labeling information
for foods that are not packaged must be provided to the consumer on
an invoice or receipt. The label must include the following
- The name and address of the cottage food production
- The common or usual name of the product, if a food is made
with a major food allergen, such as eggs, nuts, soy, peanuts,
milk or wheat that ingredient must be listed on the label; and
- A statement: "This food is made in a home kitchen and is not
inspected by the Department of State Health Services or a local
- The labels must be legible.
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).
Where may Cottage Food Production Operations sell the food products?
A cottage food production operation (CFPO) may sell products at:
- the individual's home;
- a farmers' market;
- a farm stand;
- a municipal fair, festival or event;
- a county fair, festival, or event; and
- a nonprofit fair, festival, or event..
Prohibited locations: A CFPO may NOT sell products
anywhere else, such as at a state fair or federal eventnor at
Privately organized special events and other locations. Food produced at a cottage
food production operation cannot be sold through the Internet, by
mail order or at wholesale.
- Annual gross income of $50,000 or less from the sale of the
- Sell the foods produced directly to consumers at
- the individual's home,
- a farmers' market,
- a farm stand, or
- a municipal, county, or nonprofit fair, festival or
- Delivers products to the consumer at the point of sale or
another location designated by the consumer.
- An individual who operates a cottage food production
operation must have successfully completed an accredited basic
food safety education or training program for food
handlers..Your food handler's card is good for two years, and
must be kept current as long as you are selling cottage foods.
There are many inexpensive courses that can be taken online.
- Zoning laws may apply as the statute only exempts cottage
food production from local health department regulation, not
municipal zoning laws.
Samples may be given to private individuals, like your neighbors, or to private
Sampling is allowed at
farmers markets under a new law passed in 2013.
Sampling at other allowed sales locations, like county, municipal, or non-profit
fairs, festivals, or events, is allowed as long as your samples are packaged and
labeled with the required labelis.
Sampling of any kind is not allowed at events or locations where sales are not
allowed, like a commercial bridal fair.
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.
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,
- 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
- 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
- Wash hands frequently while working
- Consider annual testing of water if using a private well
- 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
- crustacean shellfish,
- tree nuts,
- wheat and
- 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
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