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.
First, an operator must apply for a business license from their county’s permits department, which costs $50.
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.
If the operator uses a private sewage system, they must get their septic tank checked ($125) and then pumped ($300-$500).
Next, the operator must get trained in an ANSI-accredited food safety course, like the ServSafe Manager Online Course, which costs about $125.
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.
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.
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.
All ingredients for the cottage food operation must be placed in a permitted area, which is separated from ingredients for personal use.
- September 2012
- Cottage Food Regulations