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Connecticut Cottage Food Laws FAQs

Connecticut Cottage Food Laws, Regulations and Facts

These FAQs refer to the Connecticut Cottage food laws which went into effect on October 1, 2018. See this page for the overview and general information. And these pages for:

FAQs

  • Am I required to send my products to a laboratory to obtain an official ingredient list, or is that something I may put together on my own?
    No. You are not required to have your products analyzed by a laboratory to obtain an official ingredient list. You must, however, list all ingredients, in descending order of predominance by weight. If you use a prepared item in your recipe, you must list sub-ingredients as indicated above.
  • If I make and sell wedding cakes, how should I meet the labeling requirements when I am unable to put a label on a cake?
    For wedding cakes, birthday cakes and other specialty cakes that are not easily packaged, you must include all labeling requirements on the invoice and deliver the invoice with the cake. Smaller cakes must be boxed, and the label must be included on the box.
  • Why are some products not allowed to be made and sold?
    The allowable products list is based on the food safety risk level associated with certain types of food. People who operate a licensed and inspected food processing business have to meet more rigorous requirements for training, food safety and handling, which is why they may make and sell a broader range of food.
  • May I produce and sell cooked vegetable products, like salsas, tomato sauces, spaghetti sauces, or focaccia bread with roasted vegetables?
    No. Cooked vegetables, whether fresh or canned, usually are made from a combination of low acid and acidified food, and are considered a potentially hazardous food. Cooked vegetables must be kept either hot (above 135°F) or cold (below 41°F). They cannot be stored safely at room temperature, which makes them ineligible for production in a cottage food operation.
  • May I roast coffee beans in my home kitchen and sell them?
    Yes. You may roast and sell whole bean coffee or ground coffee. However, beverages may not be sold, so you may not sell ready-made coffee.
  • May I bake bread in a wood-fired oven?
    Yes, as long as that oven is in your approved home kitchen.
  • May I make and sell apple butter, pumpkin butter or other fruit butters?
    No. Fruit butters have significantly less sugar than a traditional jam or jelly. It is the combination of acid, sugar, pectin and heat that assures the safety of jams or jellies. In fruit butters, the combination of sugar and pectin is not sufficient to assure that the fruit butter is safe.
  • May I press and sell apple cider?
    No. Beverages, including apple cider, are not allowed to be produced and sold.
  • May I make and sell dehydrated meat or poultry?
    No. Meat and poultry are a potentially hazardous food and may not be produced and sold as cottage food.
  • May I make and sell hard candies or lollipops?
    Yes, but only if they are non-potentially hazardous.
  • May I make and sell dry bread or "instant" bread mixes?
    Yes.
  • Does my chocolate fountain business qualify as a cottage food business?
    In most cases, no. "I deliver and set up the fountain, and provide chocolate dipping sauce and items to dip (cut up fruit, pretzels, etc.) that I have prepared in my home kitchen."
    If the type of business outlined below describes you, you do not qualify as a cottage food business. Cottage food products must be prepackaged and properly labeled prior to sale.

Ingredient FAQs

  • May I make and sell sweet breads, muffins or other baked goods made with fresh or homegrown fruits and vegetables like zucchini, pumpkin, and strawberries?
    Yes, as long as the fruits or vegetables are incorporated into the batter and properly baked, labeled and packaged. You should make sure to wash all fruits and vegetables properly before use. The baked goods may not be decorated or garnished with fresh or frozen fruits or vegetables.
    PLEASE NOTE: The rules above apply to homegrown or fresh products that have been frozen and saved for use at a later date.
  • May homegrown produce be canned and used for making baked goods, like sweet breads, at a later date?
    No. However, you may use commercially canned products for baked goods, like cherry pie filling, etc. Most home canned products are not approved for production, with the exception of jams and jellies that meet 21CFR150.
  • Where may I store ingredients and finished products for my cottage food business?
    Ingredients and finished cottage food products may be stored in the permitted area of your private residential dwelling. The permitted area of your home must include your kitchen, and may include areas such as a spare room or a basement that is free of dampness or water, pests or other unsanitary conditions. You may not use a garage, shed, barn or other outbuilding as a storage facility for your cottage food business.

Allergen FAQs

  • What is the meaning of "allergen labeling, as specified in federal labeling requirements"?
    You are responsible for following these federal labeling requirements. As of July 2018, you must identify any of your ingredients that are made from one of the following food groups: milk, eggs, wheat, peanuts, soybeans, fish (including shellfish, crab, lobster or shrimp) and tree nuts (such as almonds, pecans or walnuts).
  • If you have an ingredient made with a wheat-based product, you have two options:
    Include the allergen in the ingredient list. For example, the following ingredient listing: "whole wheat flour, water, salt and yeast," meets the requirements of federal law because of the statement "whole wheat flour."
    Include an allergen statement ("Contains:") after the ingredient list. For example, a white bread with whole wheat flour, water, sodium caseinate, salt and yeast should say, "Contains: wheat and milk."
  • The "Contains" statement must reflect all of the allergens found in the product. In this example, the sodium caseinate comes from milk.
  • Are there any special requirements for allergen labeling on products that use tree nuts?
    Yes. If your cottage food has tree nuts as an ingredient, you must identify which tree nut you are using.
    For example, if you made nut bread, an acceptable ingredient list would be:
    Ingredients: wheat flour, water, almonds, salt, yeast.

    The following would not be acceptable:
    Ingredients: flour, water, nuts, salt, yeast.

Labeling FAQs

  • Do I have to include my home address on my product label or is a post office box sufficient?
    You must use the physical address of your home kitchen on your product label, not a post office box. Including an address on a product label enables authorities to locate a business in case of a recall or trace back associated with a foodborne illness complaint or outbreak.

Equipment FAQs

  • May I utilize commercial equipment such as large rotary mixers in my cottage food operation?|
    No. Typically a private kitchen is not equipped with sinks required to effectively wash, rinse and sanitize large commercial equipment.
  • Does my equipment, stove and/or refrigerator need to be NSF (a food equipment evaluation group) approved?
    No. As a cottage food operator, you are not required to meet NSF standards for your equipment.

Questions? Contact Information:

Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection

Food and Standards Division:
Email: [email protected].

Phone: (860) 713-6160

Website: www.portal.ct.gov/cottagefood



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