Skip to main content

Georgia

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.

Selling

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

Limitations

There is no sales limit

Business

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.

Labeling

Sample Label

Chocolate Chip Cookies

"MADE IN A COTTAGE FOOD OPERATION THAT IS NOT SUBJECT TO STATE FOOD SAFETY INSPECTIONS" (10-point type, in Times New Roman or Arial font)


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.

Workplace

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

Resources

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

Comments

I am interested in starting a small coffee roasting business from home. I would roast in my garage and sell online. It seems that there are not any explicit instructions for home coffee roasters in Cottage Food Law. Does anyone have any guidance on what kind of permitting I would need for this?

Thanks!

    It’s possible that Georgia doesn’t allow the sale of home roasted coffee, so you’ll need to get this approved by the ag dept. If it is not allowed, then you’ll probably need to roast in a commercial kitchen, and they should be able to guide you to the next step you need to take.

New to site, am wondering how others in GA sell their items? Do you have people come to your home or deliver directly to the customer? Either way seems to be a hassle, time is so important….if someone picks up at your home, it could turn into a “visit” and driving time to deliver seems a hassle too if you have to stop what you’re doing. I’m just about to launch my business and am worried about this aspect of it.

    For delivery, you can charge a delivery fee to compensate you for your time. And for pickup, quite frankly I’d say that if someone wants to take the time to visit with you, then that’s a great problem to have. Your customer relationships are one of the most important parts of your business. Some people also sell at events, which takes time and also helps develop customer relationships. The truth is that starting a business is a very time-intensive process, but a rewarding one.

Is a septic inspection and pumpout a requirement if an inspection and pumpout was done within the last 2 years? We had this done when we bought our current home 2 years ago.

Reading the other question/comment, how does fried food get categorized? To be specific, I would fry the food prior to selling at the venue. At the venue, I would use a toaster type of equipment to warm up the fried food for sampling, and have separately packaged batches for the buyer to buy and warm up at home. Is that still cottage food (it is vegan)…? If it is not, what is it categorized as and can I still make it in my home?
this is a great site – thanks for the info!

I have set up an area in my basement and have been working on this for several years. I am a baker of just about anything. Was told the ceiling need to be smooth in the the kitchen so tore out ceiling and installed another. When the kitchen was done a single deep sink was uses. There is also a full bath right off the kitchen. I have a large storage area the floor is concrete and will be painted. Will be using stainless steel shelving. There is no ceiling in the storage area
is that going to be a problem. It will be kept clean. With the sink does it have to have 2 or 3 compartments. Also on the food safety class will i be taking the same course or one for the cottage ind.

    All of the requirements are specified in the cottage food law. I don’t believe that the ceiling is a factor for a cottage food operation. The sink doesn’t need to be more than one compartment. If you are trying to setup a commercial kitchen to sell non-cottage food items, you should contact your health dept about the requirements.

or comment as a guest
* required (your email will not be displayed on the site)
Allowed tags