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Nebraska Cottage Food Laws and Regulations: How to sell your homemade foods in Nebraska

Nebraska Cottage Food Laws, Regulations and Facts

UPDATE for 2020: This law has just changed - we will be updating this page in the next few days!

Date of the enactment of the Nebraska cottage food law: 

Nebraska's cottage food law ONLY allows sales at licensed Farmer's Markets, which means that although certain foods can be prepared in a private kitchen, they must be sold at a farmers' market. There is a proposa (LB558 Cottage Food Legislation) l to make the state's laws more like other states and allow sales direct to consumers (see Nebraska NB558 status) but this is stuck in government limbo.

Which foods are subject to the Nebraska Cottage Food law?

What can be sold at a licensed Farmer's Market without a permit? A food that is not a time/temperature control for safety food such as:

  • Fresh whole, uncut fruits and vegetables.
  •  Baked goods - rolls, breads, cookies, cupcakes, pies that do not have a dairy based filling, homemade granola product, etc. (A clearly visible placard is required at the sale location stating the food was prepared in a kitchen that is not inspected or licensed by the regulatory authority.)
  • Traditional Jams and jellies. (A clearly visible placard is required at the sale location stating the food was prepared in a kitchen that is not inspected or licensed by the regulatory authority.)
  • Eggs from local producers. An "Egg number" must be obtained from the Nebraska Department of Agriculture (at no charge). Eggs must be maintained as 45° F.
  • Canned pop, and commercially packaged snack items, such as candy bars and chips
  • Fresh or dried herbs.

If your food product does not meet the definition of a Cottage Food:

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

Which foods may NOT be sold?

What cannot be sold at a Farmer Market without a permit? You must have a permit to sell (these are examples, not an all-inclusive list):

  •  Home canned products such as meat, fruits, vegetables (green beans, tomatoes), pickles (all low acid canned foods)
  • Salsa
  • Raw (unpasteurized) milk and / or cheese and yogurt made from unpasteurized milk
  • Meat, poultry, game meat
  • Cheese
  • Cream pies and other dairy based filling pies
  • Butter type spreads (example: apple butter), jams and jellies that have jalapeno or other added ingredients; vegetable jellies (rhubarb jelly made with pectin, not gelatin, is allowed to be sold without a permit.)
  •  Homemade candies


  • "home food


Sample Maryland  labelLabeling requirements

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 processed packaged foods bear a label stating the

  • name and address of the manufacturer/processor preparing the food,
  • common name of the food,
  • name of all the ingredients in the food in descending order of predominance by weight.
  • the net weight of the food in English or metric units, and
  • a statement that the product is prepared in a kitchen that is not subject to inspection by the department.

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 only be sold at a licensed Farmer's Market.

Other requirements


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.. 

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.
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.

Record-keeping is suggested

Keep a written record of every batch of product made for sale, including:

  • ​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 the following:

  • ​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 out
  • Wash hands frequently while working
  • Consider annual testing of water if using a private well

Best Practices

  • 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 allergens are
    • milk,
    • eggs,
    • fish,
    • crustacean shellfish,
    • tree nuts,
    • peanuts,
    • wheat and
    • soybean.
  • 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 discarded.

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