In Florida, home bakery businesses with gross sales of $50,000 or less annually may operate as cottage food operations. Cottage food operations may not sell products that present a risk of foodborne illness, including those that require time/temperature control. Thus, cottage food operations may sell not sell refrigerated baked goods, such as cheesecakes.
What Can Florida Cottage Food Operations Sell?
Only foods that are stored on the physical premises of the cottage food operation are allowed to be sold as “cottage food products.” Ingredients and finished cottage food products must be stored in a single-family domestic residence where the cottage food products are made. This includes a kitchen, a spare room or a basement that is free of dampness/water, pests, or other unsanitary conditions.
Cottage food operations may only sell cottage food products that are packaged with a label that contains specific information, in English. Required information includes the name and address of the cottage food operation; the name of the cottage food product; the ingredients in descending order of predominance by weight; the net weight or volume of the cottage food product; allergen information as specified by federal law; and applicable nutritional information as specified by federal law. The following statement must be clearly visible in at least 10-point size print: “Made in a cottage food operation that is not subject to Florida’s food safety regulation.”
Do Florida Cottage Food Operations Need Licenses?
Cottage food operations do not require a license or permit from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) and are not inspected by any state government entity. However, FDACS has the right to produce a written request to any cottage food operator asking for written documentation that verifies the operation’s annual gross sales. If any complaint is made regarding violation of the Florida Cottage Food laws, FDACS retains the right to investigate such possible violations and allegations of state law. Cottage food operations are not exempt from any applicable state or federal tax law, rule, or regulation and must comply with all applicable county and municipal laws.
Cottage food operators may advertise for sale, offer for sale, and accept payment for cottage food products on their website, but their products are prohibited to be delivered by mail order. Cottage food products must be sold and delivered directly to the consumer or to the consumer’s private event venue. Sales of cottage food products are prohibited for wholesale.
What If I Want to Sell Temperature Controlled Foods in Florida?
If you wish to sell temperature-controlled foods in Florida, you must sell it out of a commercial kitchen or commissary. Commercial kitchens and commissaries are commercial-grade facilities that are licensed for food service providers to prepare and store food. A private residence is not and cannot be a commercial kitchen or commissary.
Some commercial kitchens and commissaries are “shared space,” where several people may have access to the group kitchen. If you wish to start your own commercial kitchen, you must acquire several licenses/permits, beginning with a FDACS permit. This can be filled out and submitted on the agency’s website.