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Ohio Home Bakery Laws and Regulations: How to sell your homemade foods in Ohio

Ohio Home Bakery Laws, Regulations and Facts

Under the Ohio Home Bakery law, there are certain types of low risk baked food products that may be produced and sold out of your home kitchen with reduced (not eliminated) inspection and licensing requirements.  A home bakery license allows potentially hazardous bakery items (items which need refrigeration) to be made in a person's home.

Which foods are subject to the Ohio Home Bakery law?

Only baked food products that are non-potentially hazardous (as defined by the State of Ohio, not your own definition) fall into the Home Bakery category. Ohio Administrative Code Section 911 lists the food items approved as Home Bakery products.

Approved Baked Foods

This list of allowed items includes (but is not limited to) the following non-potentially hazardous bakery products

  • cookies,
  • breads,
  • brownies,
  • cakes,
  • fruit pies,
  • etc.

and also includes potentially hazardous bakery products which require refrigeration: Potentially hazardous food means the food requires temperature control, because it is in a form capable of supporting the rapid and progressive growth of infectious or toxigenic microorganisms.

  • cheese cakes,
  • cream pies,
  • custard pies,
  • pumpkin pies,
  • etc.

This OSU Extension page explains in more detail.

Definitions:

  • "Home Bakery" according to Chapter 911 of the Ohio Revised Code means: "Any person who owns or operates a home bakery with only one oven, in a stove of ordinary home kitchen design and located in a home, used for baking of baked goods to be sold." "Home" means the primary residence occupied by the residence's owner, on the condition that the residence contains only one stove or oven used for cooking, which may be a double oven, designed for common residence usage and not for a commercial usage, and that the stove or oven be operated in an ordinary kitchen within the residence.
  • "Home" means the primary residence occupied by the residence's owner, on the condition that the residence contains only one stove or oven used for cooking, which may be a double oven, designed for common residence usage and not for a commercial usage, and that the stove or oven be operated in an ordinary kitchen within the residence.

If your food product does not meet the definition of a Home Bakery or 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 Home Bakery definition.

Kitchen Requirements

To be a Home Bakery, the household kitchen must have walls, ceilings, and floors that are in good repair, clean, and easily cleanable.

  • The kitchen may not have carpeted floors.
  • The home must be free of pests. No pets are permitted in the home.
  • The kitchen must be maintained in a sanitary condition.
  • Equipment and utensils must be maintained and be kept in sanitary condition.
  • There must be a mechanical refrigerator, equipped with a properly located thermometer, capable of maintaining 45 degrees Fahrenheit or less.
  • If the home is served by a private well, the well must be tested annually for coliform bacteria, having a negative test result within the past year. Proof of the well test result must be provided to the inspecting food safety specialist.
  • Food product labels are to be available for review at the time of inspection.

Labeling requirements

A "Home Bakery" is required to label all of their food products properly, which includes the following information on the label of each unit of food product offered or distributed for sale:

  • Statement of Identity - the name of the food product
  • Net Quantity of Contents - the net weight, in both U.S. Customary System and International System
  • Ingredient List - ingredients of the food product, listed in descending order of predominance by weight
  • Statement of Responsibility - the name and address of the business
  • The label of bakery items that require refrigeration must bear the declaration, "Keep Refrigerated" or other similar statement.
  • Note: If nutrient content claims (i.e. low fat, salt free, etc.) or health claims (i.e. may reduce heart disease) are made, the product must bear all required nutritional information in the form of the Nutrition Facts panel. All labeling components are to comply with 21 CFR Part 101, food labeling. The FDA Food Labeling Guide is an excellent resource of the proper labeling of food products.

 

Where may Home Bakery Production Operations sell the food products?

Home Bakery products, once properly labeled,  may be sold from

  • your Home Bakery (i.e., your home).
  • grocery stores,
  • convenience stores,
  • farm markets,
  • farmer's markets,
  • other retail outlets.
  • Home Bakery products may also be served as a food item offered by restaurants.
  • Home Bakeries may distribute their products outside of the state of Ohio.

Note that retail outlets are subject to all applicable rules and regulations administered by local health departments, local zoning, and other agencies.

Other Requirements:

  • License fee: The annual fee for a Home Bakery license is $10.
  • Home inspection: Your home kitchen will need to be inspected by ODA, FS. The specialist will also review your product labels during the inspection. To arrange for an inspection, contact:
    ODA Division of Food Safety; 1-800-282-1955 Ext 4366; Email: [email protected].
  • No pets: You cannot have pets in the home or carpet in the kitchen,
  • Water supply:  if you have a non- municipal water supply you must have a water test conducted within the last twelve months demonstrating that your water is negative for Total Coliform.
  • Thermometer: You will need an accurate thermometer in your refrigerator to indicate the refrigerator can hold product at 45° Fahrenheit or less.

Recommendations:

Beyond the requirements, common sense, good practices and reducing liability suggests you should do the following.

Training

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.
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
  • Baking date
  • Sale dates and locations
  • Gross sales receipts
  • Results of any pH test

Sanitation

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

Questions? Contact ODA Division of Food Safety:

1-800-282-1955 Ext 4366

Request an Appointment via email

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