How to turn your best recipe into a busines

By Brad Burbaugh, Ph. D. UF/IFAS Extension Director Clay County
Posted 8/15/18

GREEN COVE SPRINGS – Do you have a secret family recipe or do your friends tell you they would buy a certain dish you make?

If you answered yes to one of these questions, and you have the …

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How to turn your best recipe into a busines

Posted

GREEN COVE SPRINGS – Do you have a secret family recipe or do your friends tell you they would buy a certain dish you make?

If you answered yes to one of these questions, and you have the entrepreneurial spirit, the Florida Cottage Foods law allows you to make and sell small batches of certain food items made in your home kitchen.

The term “cottage” originally referred to the family cottage (i.e., home) familiar to most rural communities. Under Florida’s Cottage Foods Law, people who produce foods such as breads, cakes, cookies, pasta, candies and jams in their homes are exempt from the regulatory hoops associated with most start-up food businesses. Cottage food operations require no license or permit from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and are not inspected by any state government entity.

Food products covered in this law are considered non-potentially hazardous foods, which mean they do not require time and/or temperature control for safety. Many popular foods such as salsa, canned fruits and vegetables and bakery goods requiring refrigeration are not permitted to be sold under the Cottage Foods Law. It is important to note that while cottage food operations are exempt from licensing and inspection, they are not exempt from providing safe food.

The law has a lot of ins and outs. For example, the law provides specific language as to where and how the products can be sold, caps annual gross sales and specifies detailed language for the product label. In addition, cottage food items must be sold directly to the consumer either from your home or at a farmer’s market, farm stand, roadside stand or similar venues. They cannot be sold to a retailer, wholesaler, restaurant, food distributors, or through mail order.

Gross sales for a cottage food operation must not exceed $50,000 annually and all cottage food products offered for sale must be pre-packaged with a label affixed. This label must contain the following information: name and address of cottage operation, name of cottage food product, the ingredients of the cottage food product, net weight, allergen information, and the following statement, “Made in a cottage food operation that is not subject to Florida’s food safety regulations.”

The cottage foods law is a great way for individuals to start a home-based business by turning their best recipe into a money-making opportunity. It’s community commerce at its finest, crafting something in your own kitchen and selling to your neighbors.

Starting small also allows artisan food makers to explore interest in their products and fine tune their recipes to meet the needs of their target customers. With the relaxed regulatory environment, low-startup costs and opportunities to earn extra income the cottage foods law can help individuals use their creativity and cooking skills to build a local business.

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If you would like to learn more about the cottage food law and/or food safety practices, contact Brad Burbaugh at the Clay County Extension Office at brad784@ufl.edu or (904) 284-6355.

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