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cottage food community


Georgia’s cottage food laws are pretty good, though it takes some effort for cottage food operators to get setup initially.  Operators must have a business license, take a training course, send in an application, and get their home inspected before they can get their cottage food license.  However, once setup, they are not limited to a certain amount of sales per year, and the list of foods they can sell is fairly comprehensive.

Georgia has more workplace and labeling requirements than most state’s cottage food laws, which are described in detail in the bill.  Indirect sales of goods are not allowed.


Operators must conspicuously display their cottage food operator license at the point of sale.

Allowed Foods

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


There is no sales limit


Business license

First, an operator must apply for a business license from their county’s permits department, which costs $50.

Private well analysis

If the cottage food operator’s water comes from a private water source, the water must be analyzed and approved before a license will be given, which costs $100.

Private sewer inspection

If the operator uses a private sewage system, they must get their septic tank checked ($125) and then pumped ($300-$500).

ANSI-accredited food safety course

Next, the operator must get trained in an ANSI-accredited food safety course, like the ServSafe Manager Online Course, which costs about $125.

Cottage food license

Each operator must then apply for a cottage food license by filling out a form on the cottage food website for Georgia. The fee for the cottage food license is $100 (or $50 after June 30th of the year). On the application, the operator must list the products they intend to sell. If they want to create new products after they have a license, that will require a new application and incur another fee.

Home inspection

Before getting a license, the Department of Agriculture or Environmental Health Department will setup an appointment for the cottage food operator to get their kitchen inspected, and there is no additional fee for that.  There are a number of items that the inspector must check in the inspection, which are listed in the cottage food bill.

All in all, the total startup costs for an operator could be as low as $275 or as high as $1000.

Here is some great info about collecting sales tax.


Sample Label

Chocolate Chip Cookies


Forrager Cookie Company

123 Chewy Way, Cookietown, GA 73531

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)

Contains: milk, eggs, wheat, soy

NET WT 2 lb 4 oz (1.02 kg)

If a nutritional claim is made on the label, then the federal requirements for nutrition info must be followed.

There are some specialized requirements for items that are not individually wrapped or packaged, which may be found in the cottage food bill.

The scale used to weigh cottage foods must be checked for accuracy by the Department of Agriculture once every year.


All ingredients for the cottage food operation must be placed in a permitted area, which is separated from ingredients for personal use.


Law Dates
September 2012
Cottage Food Regulations
This page was last updated on


If I wanted to sell dog treats and toys, does this fall under this law? If not where do I receive info. Thanks

    You are not allowed to sell your homemade granola to other states, because this law for homemade food is specific to Georgia. To sell granola interstate, you need to produce it in a commercial kitchen and get a specific license from your health or ag dept.

Hello! I make 100% vegan desserts- most require refrigeration (not because they spoil but to keep their form). I know this probably falls out of the Cottage food permit. What permits am I looking for then? I understand I’ll need to use a commercial space but other than that I’m not sure what permits I need.

I am just now going through the process of gathering the information that I need so I can establish my CFO. I have spent the last two days calling and making sure I am do the proper due diligence. I have a question about cupcakes, since this will be primarily what I plan to produce. I have not been able to find any clear answer online about frosting. I know that cream cheese frosting and whipped cream is out of the question, but is buttercream allowed? I have many buttercream based frostings. I have read everything I can on the GA dept of Ag and saw nothing, except under definition of ready-to-eat food that said “icing for which further cooking is not required”. Not very clear. Anyone have a solid answer on this? Should I call to ask? Please let me know your thoughts. Thanks!

    The only way to get a definite answer will be to contact the ag dept. But in general, icings without dairy are typically allowed. Buttercreams with commercially-produced butter are also commonly allowed. Anything with egg or cream, like SMB or ganache, is often not allowed. Sometimes using dried egg whites will be approved, but often that doesn’t make a difference. Anything with cream cheese is usually not allowed.

    Usually it’s just a letter that’s signed by your landlord, but you’ll need to ask the ag dept what they specifically require. It’s usually not complicated.

If someone is making and selling foods that are not listed as a Cottage Foods, such as eggs rolls, tamale’s, noodles, etc… what type license and such will they need to continue?

Hi i have a couple of friends with local businesses. if the label is going to have my address and contact info why can’t i just drop it off at the local business?

    You mean to have your friends sell your goods on your behalf? Part of the design of the law is to keep these home businesses small and unscalable, and they also like the fact that you have to meet the consumer, which increases accountability. Larger food businesses must use commercial, inspected facilities that follow strict guidelines, so the limitations for cottage food operations are a result of them having much more lenient guidelines to adhere to.

I’m not sure I understand about pets. What are the rules on this. I have had my dog for many years. Will she have to go outside? Can I close off my kitchen and dining room , does this mean totally closed off or a gate so she cannot enter.

    Your dog only needs to be prevented from accessing your kitchen and work area while you are producing your items. The law doesn’t indicate that your dog would need to be prevented from accessing the kitchen at all times, though you should be conscious about how your dog could affect people with allergies.

When I spoke to someone at the Paulding County government office , they said I needed a ” Land Use Permit”. Has anyone else had to get this?

    I haven’t heard of that specific permit, but it’s fairly common for counties to require a permit like that. Every county has different requirements. Just make sure you understand what the permit is for and why you have to get it. Sometimes govt officials guess at what CFOs need, which can be an approximation based on a similar home-based type of business. CFOs are a bit different than most home-based businesses in that they have specific restrictions.

    Thank you, David! I picked up all of the paperwork from Paulding County and with the Land Use Permit, they are requiring a survey of my property, a court hearing, posting a “Land Use Permit” sign in front of my home for 2 weeks, sending a letter to all of the neighbors, etc… if I will be using my property as a business with customers coming in and out. I am drafting up a letter to PC about this, it seems ridiculous when all I will be using is my kitchen! Thank you again for your reply.

    I also live in Paulding County and about to apply for lic. Can you advise what happened with your situation? Does seem like a whole lot being required for a small catering business. Sincerely, Shammy.

I was under the impression that in GA your CF kitchen had to be separate from your personal kitchen. Is that correct? After reading all of this info it seems the opposite. TIA

In some of the Coastal counties, the inspection is done by the Enviromental Health Dept. In a bigger city, it may require signatures from 2 different offices of the Water & Sewer Dept.

I am in Auburn, AL and am considering a CF Business. Do I understand correctly that I would not be allowed to sell in Columbus, GA.?

I live in a small apartment. So, they will come and inspect my kitchen before I could start selling my baked goods? Do I need to take training courses? Thanks!

    Yes, they will inspect your kitchen and you need to take the food safety course described in the Business section. You also need your landlord’s approval to do this.

The county said that I have to have a cottage food license first before they will issue a business license. Is that correct? The site says business license first.

    It really doesn’t matter and is whatever they decide. I’d recommend you try getting a cottage food license, and if they say you need a business license first, then have the departments communicate with each other. But this is interesting and if more people have the same experience, I’ll change the info. It may just be a county thing though.

    Myself and a couple of friends have recently established cottage food businesses in different Metro Atlanta counties and the process was the same…..the city/county office required the cottage license prior to issuing a business license. Just thought I’d chime in. :-)

Just FYI, in most GA locations it is the GA Department of Agriculture that will do the kitchen inspection, not the health department.

This information was a sure blessing for me. I will follow all directions. If I do this, it will give me peace of mind about my perspective business. Also I will feel that I am doing the right thing. THANKS!!!!!

Thank you for this information. The new cottage food regulation is going to be the saving grace for our business. Renting and using shared kitchens is great but costly. Having the opportunity to use our home kitchen is just what we need.

This info is well organized and detailed – i appreciate you sharing.

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