Lesson 1: Cottage Food Basics

A cottage food operation, where you operate your business from your home kitchen, has its distinct advantages and disadvantages.

This lesson will look at what it takes to start a home-based cottage food business.

Cottage Food Basics

Things you will need to apply (continued)

Floor Plan

You will need to provide a floor plan of your proposed layout for the Cottage Food operation in your kitchen. You can draw a sketch in the space provided on the application or provide a diagram drawn up on your computer.


You need to provide a label sample for each Master Product.

Labels must include:

  • Name of Cottage Food Operation
  • The permit number issued to the cottage food operation
    • The permit number will be provided to you upon completion and processing of the licensing inspection report. Please include a “Permit #:____” statement when submitting labels with your application.
  • Product name
  • Ingredient list in order by weight (ounce, grams) »
    • Look on the package of your ingredients: if it has its own list of ingredients you must include these as sub-ingredients on your label.
    • Example: Enriched flour (Wheat flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin and folic acid).
  • Identify allergens for each product label. See information on how to list Allergens in the right hand column.
    • List the ingredients by one of the two ways listed in the right hand column that corresponds with the sample on the application form.
    • 9 most common allergens: Milk, wheat, eggs, peanuts, soybeans tree nuts, fish, crustacean shellfish, and sesame seeds.
  • Net weight or volume in U.S. customary units
  • The following statement in 11pt. font: “Made in a home kitchen that has not been subject to a standard inspection criteria.”
  • If your ingredients consist of any type of alcohol, the label must include the statement “This product contains liquor and the alcohol content is one percent or less of the weight of the product.”
  • When submitting your labels for review they need to be large enough to easily read.
  • Do not submit a label that list variations with optional or alternate ingredients. Each label must list only the ingredients that are actually in the product.

Application labels can be submitted through the year via the permit’s amendment process. Each batch is $105 extra ($30 for the application, $75 public health review). If the review process determines that you need a new inspection, you will be on the hook for a $125 basic hygiene inspection fee.

That said, if you have new products or make changes during the permit renewal period, there are no additional fees.


As part of your application packet, you will need to submit:

  • A description of the types of packaging you use and the process you use to package your product. If the steps are the same for each product, note that.
    • All packaging must be food-grade. This means that it has been identified as such and is made of a material that won’t impart contamination to the product.
    • Example: “I use a food-grade flexible plastic and a vacuum packer to pack individual products. I then place my computer-generated self-stick labels on one side of the muffin package.”

Last, but not least…

In your application, you will also need to provide:

  • A list of equipment, utensils and sanitation methods you will use to clean surfaces, including the bathroom, hand-washing sinks and equipment, along with the frequency.
  • Your planned schedule of dates and times you will be processing products.
  • An initial description of the places you will sell your product (You can take orders online, but you must deliver products in person, including delivery and pickup).
  • A management plan for your children under six and pets, including how you will control access during operating hours and access to finished products.

Don’t let this list discourage you. Many, if not all, of these things are necessary for any size or type of food operation. Checking all the boxes allows you to think critically about your business and its products and prepare for your inspection to clear the way for you to start cranking out delicious food items.


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