Looking for Ontario, Canada Cottage Food Laws and Regulations: How to sell your homemade foods in Ontario, Canada in 2023? Scroll down this page and follow the links. And if you bring home some fruit or vegetables and want to can, freeze, make jam, salsa or pickles, see this page for simple, reliable, illustrated canning, freezing or preserving directions. There are plenty of other related resources, click on the resources dropdown above. If you are having a hard time finding canning lids, I've used these, and they're a great price & ship in 2 days.
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There are no specific cottage food laws in Ontario, Canada, but Ontario allows producers to sell some lower-risk homemade items at farmers'
markets (only)with permits issued by the government.
The only allowed foods for home preparation are Low-risk foods are considered non-hazardous which do not require refrigeration. This includes:
Everything else. 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.
The Ontario government has prepared a Guide to Starting a Home Food Business in Ontario, which includes an broad overview of many requirements, such as public health, business licenses, etc.. And abbreviated version is presented below:
Home-based food businesses (e.g. private chefs, farmer's market vendors) are allowed to sell food in keeping with the Health Protection and Promotion Act (HPPA) and the Food Premises Regulation. Changes to the Food Premises Regulation that took effect on January 1, 2020 makes it easier for individuals and businesses to sell low-risk, home-prepared foods.
Low-risk food items are generally considered non-hazardous and do not require time and temperature control.
Some examples of low-risk foods include:
Two canning myths:
Neither is true. Once your seal food in a jar, you create the potential for botulism to grow. Food companies conduct many trials and lab tests, examining the properties of the food product, including bacterial counts, pH, water content, etc. to determine that each recipe, process and packaging yields a shelf-stable product that will be safe for a consumer to eat months later. At home, you do not have the ability to perform this type of testing. When it comes to canning foods, you MUST stick to recipes, equipment and procedures that have been tested. All of the recipes here have been tested (by universities and government labs).
You are required to contact your local public health unit where your home-based food business will be located to let them know you are a new food operator by completing an application form, which is often located on the public health unit's website. Your local public health unit and its staff will provide guidance on food safety measures to consider depending on the food you are planning to prepare (i.e., food preparation activities, safe operational practices, etc.)
All food premises, including home-based food businesses, are subject to the requirements of the Health Protection and Promotion Act (HPPA), the Food Premises Regulation and periodic inspection by inspectors from their local public health unit. Please note: Home-based food businesses that prepare only low-risk foods are exempt from certain regulatory requirements, such as:
For more information on compliance with the Food Premises Regulation, you can review the following Ministry of Health resource for the full list of public health requirements and best practices to help guide you: Food Premises Reference Document. For additional helpful resources to assist with food labeling, declaring allergens and food safety measures, please review the Reference Document for Safe Food Donation and Food Donation Supplemental Materials. These documents offer information about the recent regulatory changes and best practices.
For any questions about public health requirements in the Health Protection and Promotion Act or the Food Premises Regulation, please contact the local public health unit where your home-based food business is located and speak with a public health inspector.
For information and support about running your home-based food business such as funding, business and legal advice, etc., please visit the Small Business Access website.
Disclaimer: This guide is not intended to provide legal advice on the requirements of the Health Protection and Promotion Act (HPPA) or the Food Premises Regulation (O. Reg. 493/17) under the HPPA and is for information purposes only. In the event of any conflict between this guidance and the regulation, the requirements under the regulation prevails. It is also recommended to review any zoning by-laws, municipal permits and licensing requirements that pertain to your region.
These guides will help you deal with Ontario regulations, financing, taxation, managing your business, advertising and much more:
For more information:
Toll Free: 1-877-424-1300
Contact our Business and Investment Development team for knowledge, connections and resources to help you expand your food business.
When you are starting out, there are some basic steps to follow and a learning curve. The Ontario government has prepared a Guide to Food and Beverage Manufacturing in Ontario, a PDF which you can download free.
You made a prototype at home, now at the microbusiness stage you will need to use an approved and inspected site for food preparation. Many entrepreneurs start up in an inspected church, community centre, or municipal food incubator kitchen.
Products tend to be sold at seasonal craft sales and farmers' markets or at a local specialty food store. Some microbusinesses have a market booth a few days a week, or sell through roadside on-farm stands. You may want to sell your product at farmers' markets and craft shows, or invest in a booth to open a seasonal spot in a local mall.
Check the Canadian Food Inspection Agency to access the Industry Labeling Tool. This is a food labeling reference tool for all food inspectors and stakeholders in Canada. It replaces the Guide to Food Labeling and Advertising, and the Decisions page to provide consolidated reorganized and expanded labeling information. In this stage, products are often labeled by hand. If you make your own product you may deliver and/or sell it at road-side stands, craft shows, flea markets, local farmers' markets, specialty stores or a sugar bush. You do not need nutrition information on your labels for packaged products when your annual sales are less than $50,000.
There is a difference between product cost and product price. Product cost is the sum of all of the costs you incur to manufacture your product. As a new start-up business you need to be prepared for any additional costs later on. You cannot change your price to the consumer once you have set a retail price point. See Section 4.1: Manufacturing Your Product to learn more about product costing models. Product price is your final selling price of your product. The pricing of your product will be based on your product cost and what customers are willing to pay (see Section 5.2: Pricing Your Product).
The cost of packaging (including labeling) and ingredients for successful microbusinesses generally ranges between 20 to 40 per cent of the product's selling price. The remainder of the sale price after the cost is paid is called the gross margin. For example, a bottle of jam priced at $9 may cost between $1.80 and $3.60 to make, leaving a gross margin that will range between 80 and 60 per cent respectively (see Table 1: A Sample Product Costing Model in Section 4.1: Manufacturing Your Product). Operational costs These include the rent you pay on the space you use for production as well as financing, utilities and transportation costs. Section 4.1: Manufacturing Your Product provides a good example of a product costing model that you can easily follow. Remember to pay yourself and keep good records using either a software program or the services of an accountant.
Beyond the requirements, common sense, good practices and reducing liability suggests you should do the following.
Take the ServSafe® training classes for Manager and employees, the 7th Edition Book that accompanies this course should be purchased here..
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 inspections are not required, you should consider doing the following:
For more information:
Toll Free: 1-877-424-1300
Water bath canner with a jar rack
Pressure canner for gas, electric and induction stoves
Canning scoop (this one is PERFECT)
Ball Blue book (most recent version)
most recent version of
the Ball Blue Book