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Hawaii Cottage Food Laws and Regulations: How to sell your homemade foods in Hawaii
Hawaii Homemade Food Laws, Cottage Food Laws, Regulations and Facts
Effective date September 2, 2017; amended rules, the HB 1174 and HAR 11-50-3, Homemade Food (HMF)
sales are allowed and exempt from the requirement of a food
establishment permit. HMF operations can only make food that is
defined by the government as not potentially hazardous. Operators
can use their home kitchen to produce products to sell directly to
consumers. HMF sales by internet, mail order, consignment or at
wholesale are not allowed. Ref Hawaii Administrative Rules (HAR)
Chapter 11-50 Food Safety Code
Which foods are subject to the Hawaii Cottage Food law?
The following products can be made from your home kitchen:
- Breads, rolls, mochi
- Cakes, cookies, and pastries
Candies and confections
- Jams, jellies, and preserves
Cereals, trail mixes, and granola
If your food product does not meet the definition of a Cottage
Don't give up. You may still be able to make and sell it commercially,
through a startup approach.
First, you may be able to rent space in a local licensed commercial kitchen.
Second, if that doesn't work, you may be able to get a co-packer to make the food for you.
See this page for detailed information about selling foods that do
not meet the Cottage Food definition
Foods that that require refrigeration will not qualify as an HMF.
Foods not allowed include (this list is not all-inclusive - it is to
- custard pies,
- cream puffs & pies and
- similar food items
- fermented foods,
- acidified foods,
- canned or bottled foods,
- dried meats or seafood,
- low acid canned foods, and
- garlic in oil.
- Frozen foods
- Dairy products
- Seafood products
- Dried meats and fish such as kimchee, pickles, beef jerky, and
- HMF Homemade Food
- Homemade Food Operation A person that produces or packages
homemade food products only in the home kitchen of that person's
- Homemade Food Product A food that is not a potentially
hazardous food produced or packaged in a home kitchen.
- Home Kitchen A kitchen designed and intended for use by the
residents of a home.
- Potentially hazardous food - A food that requires
time/temperature control for safety to limit foodborne illness.
- "Cottage food operator" means a person who produces cottage
food products in the home kitchen of that person's primary
domestic residence in Hawaii and only for sale directly to the
consumer, and whose net earnings from the sale of the cottage
food product are more than $5,000 but less than $50,000 a year.
Cottage Food Production Operations must label all of their food products properly,
which includes specified information on the label of each unit
of food product offered or distributed for sale. All HMF products
require specific labeling with the following information:
- A statement that reads "Made in a home kitchen not routinely
inspected by the Department of Health".
- Common name of the product or descriptive name.
- Ingredient list if made from 2+ ingredients, listed in
descending order of predominance by weight.
- Name and contact information of the homemade food product
It is recommended that honey manufacturers/processors include
this additional statement to their product label: "Honey is not
recommended for infants less than twelve (12) months of age"; and
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.
Where may Cottage Food Production Operations sell the food products?
Cottage Food Products may not be sold across state lines.
In other words, only be sold within the state. They may be sold directly to the consumer from the home where the products are produced.
They may also be sold at for-profit and non-profit events such
as farmers markets, craft fairs, fundraisers, bake sales and by any
other means where you sell directly to the consumer. They may
not be sold over the internet.
HMF operators are required to obtain food safety training from DOH or
from a program approved by DOH. Upon completion of the training,
operators must be able to demonstrate knowledge of basic food safety and
present documentation as proof of completion. American National
Standards Institute (ANSI) accredited courses will meet this
requirement. You can access the current DOH schedule of FREE food safety
classes and a list of organizations that offer ANSI accredited online
- Cottage food operations can sell up to $50,000 of products
Beyond the requirements, common sense, good practices and
reducing liability suggests you should do the following.
ServSafe® training classes for Manager and employees, the 7th Edition Book that accompanies this course should be purchased here..
American National Standards Institute (ANSI Food Handler Training Certificate Programs.
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 inspections 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
- Allergens: 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
Questions? Contact Information:
Frequently Asked Questions FAQ
- Why are some food products not allowed to be made and sold as a
Homemade Food Product?
Products allowed as Homemade Foods are
considered low risk foods. Since Homemade Food Operations are not
routinely inspected by DOH, it is necessary to limit food products to
those that are considered low risk, or not potentially hazardous.
- The Farmers Market I want to sell my homemade food product says I
need a "food permit". Can they require a permit?
farmers markets and other events require you to obtain a Special Event
permit. You are exempt from obtaining a DOH permit, but are still
subject to rules and regulations of other agencies and departments. If
you need a Special Event permit from us, you may complete an application
and we will process it. Applications are available at:
- Can I serve free samples of my homemade food product?
Yes, but you cannot modify or add ingredients to your product that would
make it a potentially hazardous food. For example, if your homemade food
product is loaf bread, you cannot serve a sample with cheese or
- Can I sell my homemade food product to my favorite restaurant or
No. Homemade food products are not considered to
be an approved source for use in a restaurant or sold in a store. HAR
11-50-31(a)(2) states that food made in a private home may not be used
or offered in a food establishment. Homemade food products must be sold
directly to the consumer.
- How do I know if my homemade food product is considered not
If you have any questions regarding the
production of a particular homemade food product, please contact your
local Sanitation Branch office. Contact information is available at: