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Delaware

For over a decade, Delaware’s cottage food law was only available to farmers. In September 2016, the health department created and enacted some new rules that allow many more people to start a “cottage food establishment” (CFE) from their home kitchen.

Although the cottage food law is much more expansive than it used to be, it is still restricted in many ways. For one, the setup process and initial requirements are quite complex and lengthy, but fortunately, registration with the health department only costs $30. Sales are limited to $25,000, and only direct (in-person) sales are allowed. The list of allowed foods is fairly extensive, but some types of food may need to be lab tested.

If you are a farmer (or grow the main ingredient in your products), it may be more advantageous to get an on-farm home processing license. With that license, you can sell up to $40,000 of goods per year (as opposed to $25,000), and the setup process is easier overall. However, the on-farm license requires a home inspection and an 8-hour food safety training course, and it does not allow pets to ever be in the home.

Selling

You need to have your registration on display at your sales venues.

Allowed Foods

Prohibited Foods

The only foods that the law specifically allows are baked goods, candy, jams, jellies, and other fruit preserves. However, other non-PHFs (AKA non-TCS) may be allowed, and you should contact the health department to determine if a certain product can be produced. Some types of food products must be tested in a lab before they can be approved.

Only "non-potentially hazardous" foods are allowed, but certain non-PHFs may not be allowed. Most foods that don't need to be refrigerated (foods without meat, cheese, etc.) are considered non-potentially hazardous. Learn more

Limitations

Sales are limited to $25,000 per year

Business

Registration

When you register, you will need to fill out an application. The registration fee will be $30 and the registration must be renewed annually.

The registration needs to be displayed at sales venues.

Plan Review

When you first register, you will need to submit a plan review, which includes:

  • Personal and business information
  • List of foods and ingredients used/produced
  • List of sales venues
  • Proof of training
  • Product tests (if needed)
  • Sample label
  • Water source and sewage system info
  • Kitchen facility and CFE checklist
  • Kitchen floor plan
  • Recall plan (see below)

If you remodel, add to, or change your home kitchen, you will need to submit a new plan review, which is free.

Kitchen Inspection

The health department will conduct a kitchen inspection before you start your business.

Food Safety Training

You must take an approved food safety training course.

Product Records

You need to maintain records for production and sales, and the records must be kept for at least three years.

Recall Plan

You need to write a contingency plan for how you will recall products in the event of a public health hazard.

Private Well Testing

If you have a private water supply, you need to get it tested to ensure its safety. Tests must occur within 60 days of the date on your registration application.

Private Sewer Testing

If you have a private sewage system, you need to get it tested to ensure its safety. You can get a test by contacting the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control. Tests must occur within 60 days of the date on your registration application.

Labeling

Sample Label

Chocolate Chip Cookies

"This food is made in a Cottage Food Establishment and is NOT subject to routine Government Food Safety Inspections" (10-point type)


Forrager Cookie Company

123 Chewy Way, Cookietown, DE 73531


Phone: (123) 456-7890

Email: [email protected]


Ingredients: enriched flour (wheat flour, malted barley flour, niacin, iron, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), butter (cream, salt), semi-sweet chocolate (sugar, chocolate, cocoa butter, milkfat, soy lecithin, natural flavors), brown sugar, granulated sugar, eggs, vanilla extract (vanilla bean extract, alcohol, sugar), baking soda, salt (salt, calcium silicate)


Produced on 5/27/2017


NET WT 2 lb 4 oz (1.02 kg)


Workplace

If some of you ingredients need to be stored in the refrigerator (like eggs), you must keep a thermometer in the fridge.

The health department has created guides for safe handwashing and warewashing.

There are many workplace requirements listed in the regulations.

Resources

Contacts
Department
Division of Public Health, DHSS
Telephone
302-744-4546
Fax
302-739-3839
Address
417 Federal Street
Dover, DE 19901
Law Dates
January 2006
Delaware Code
September 2016
4458A Cottage Food Regulations
This page was last updated on

Comments

I see not much has changed. I still can’t sell apple pies and the list of requirements for a home kitchen is exhaustive and ridiculous. I don’t need a “food safety class”. I need the state to stay out of it. Question, do Amish families sell food out of their homes without meeting all these requirements? Does the state come inspect their homes and make them take a class? Mrs. Fields and Famous Amos would never have succeeded in this business climate.

Delaware has the laws in place but I am finding it difficult to get in touch with anyone who has information regarding the approved foods. When I called the office, they didn’t seem to know much at all about the law. I just need to know whether cheesecakes are included or if I need to talk to someone about allowing it.

It looks like Delaware’s Health Department will be publishing new regulations next month that lift the farmer-only restriction. I confirmed with them on the phone.

    Thanks for opening up your group and letting us know about it! I’ve updated the page with the new link. Please let us know when you introduce your bill so I can link to it. Good luck!

A petition to enact a Cottage Food Law Bill for Delaware is located at:  http://chn.ge/TbPXbc

 

Here is the facebook link:  http://on.fb.me/UMGfsT

 

Twitter:  twitter.com/cottagefoodlaw

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