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

New Jersey Cottage Food Laws, Regulations and Facts

While New Jersey's state House passed a cottage food bill in mid 2014, one Democrat senator in the state senate is blocking passage of the bill in the NJ senate.  This ONE person (Sen. Joseph Vitale) is making NJ the only state that has no provisions for cottage food sales, now that a Wisconsin judge ruled in favor of home bakers. The NJ state senator cites  food safety and fair competition concerns in opposing direct-to-consumer sales of certain foods not produced in commercial kitchens.  You can read more about it here. There is another news story here. New Jersey is the only state in the U.S. to completely ban bakers from selling cookies, cakes and muffins that were made in a home kitchen. 

UPDATE for 2021:

New Jersey's health department on July 12, 2021,passed a new cottage food rule, which will likely take effect in September 2021.

See the Facebook page for the New Jersey Home Bakers Association who are fighting to get these this law passed..

The Back story:

Three New Jersey moms, the nonprofit NJ Home Bakers Association, and the Institute for Justice filed  on December 7, 2017 a constitutional lawsuit in state court against New Jersey's Department of Health. The lawsuit will ask the court to strike down the home-baked good ban and allow home bakers to sell home-baked goods directly to friends, neighbors and other direct customers.

And you can see the New Jersey Home Bakers Association website here.

NJ basically says, "good luck starting a food business, no matter how small you are, New Jersey is going to make you jump through every hoop, hurdle and added cost and regulation as if you're Con-Agra. Hah!  Good luck starting your business in NJ!"

As a former NJ resident, my recommendation is, do what I did: MOVE OUT OF NJ!

Here are the hurdles, as presented by Rutgers's University Extension:

  • So You Want to be a Food Manufacturer.
    You have a fantastic new idea for a food product. Everyone who tastes it tells you that it's really great. Some even suggest that you should go into business for yourself. After giving it some careful thought you decide you will go into business and sell your product. But where do you go from here?
    Rutgers Cooperative Extension


So, what CAN you do in NJ?

New Jersey only allows home bakers to legally sell their baked goods for charity and nonprofit bake sales.  That severe limitation is just ridiculous.

A good start would be to vote republican the next time state Sen. Joseph Vitale (a Democrat, who also is chairman of  the Health and Human Services Committee) is up for election.

You may also want to email and call him to voice your opposition to his position!


Alternative ways to start your food business in New Jersey:

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

Questions? Contact Information:

Sen. Joseph Vitale

Office address:  569 Rahway Ave, Woodbridge, NJ 07095

Office hours are posted as (Monday to Friday from 9 am to 5 pm

Phone: (732) 855-7441


New Jersey state and local health department contact information.