Best Practices: Cottage Food

Florida has a unique Cottage Food Law, as outlined in Section 500.80 of the Florida Statutes, that allows individuals to sell certain foods that have a low risk of foodborne illness prepared from Cottage Food Operations or unlicensed home kitchens. Recently, an amendment was made to this law that allows the producer to generate up to $50,000 in annual gross cottage food sales, as opposed to the $15,000 limit that was enforced in the past. With the newfound opportunity that this amendment poses, it is crucial for individuals seeking to increase their operation’s production to ensure that they follow best practices. By following best practices and adhering to basic guidelines addressing public health, Cottage Food Operations empower themselves to feel secure in their business while minimizing their risk of running into issues with the law. Throughout this post, we will highlight definitions and best practices to follow according to a recent publication from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services on Cottage Food Guidance and the aforementioned Florida Statute.

What is considered a cottage food?

Cottage Food Product means food that is not potentially hazardous, as defined by FDACS rule source. Before reviewing guidelines, one should confirm that the products they’re attempting to craft and sell fall under the Florida Statute definition of a “cottage food”. Below are two tables from the FDACS’ Cottage Food Guidelines identifying what foods the definition applies to. 

What Should I Include in My Products Label?

It is required that all cottage food products provide labels printed in plain English to identify the food item, its operations facility, ingredients and any allergens. Below is a sample label from FDACS that may aid in creating one’s label. 

Where Can I Prepare My Cottage Food?

Cottage Food Operations are limited to the kitchen in one’s primary residence. Therefore, one cannot produce from a secondary kitchen in a secondary home, shed, or barn. 

Where Can I Sell My Cottage Food?
You can sell your products directly to customers from your residence, at local farmers markets, and roadside stands as long as you are not distributing other products that require permitting.

County & City Restrictions

Before starting a Cottage Food Operation, it is essential to check in with the licensing agency in your region to verify if there are any laws that could potentially restrict this activity. 

In Orange County, for instance, it is required that producers secure a Business Tax Receipt (BTR). To find out what jurisdiction you live in (i.e. City of Orlando, City of Winter Park, etc….) please click here to visit the OCPA website and enter your address into the “Property Search Bar” then look for “Jurisdiction” to locate where you can attain a BTR.