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cottage food community

Indiana

Indiana’s laws are restrictive in that sales are only allowed at farmers markets and roadside stands.  Aside from that, however, the laws are quite lenient.  They allow for any food below a certain pH value or water activity level, which basically allows nearly any kind of non-potentially hazardous food.  There is no registration, fees, or process to get setup, and there is no limitation to how much a vendor can sell.

Selling

A vendor may take pre-orders (over the internet, for instance), but they can only deliver them to a farmers market or roadside stand.

Allowed Foods

Any food with a pH value of less than 4.6 and a water activity value of less than 0.85 is allowed.

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

Limitations
There is no sales limit

Labeling

Sample Label

Chocolate Chip Cookies

"This product is home produced and processed and the production area has not been inspected by the State Department of Health." (10-point type)


Forrager Cookie Company

123 Chewy Way, Cookietown, IN 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)


Produced on 8/29/2014


NET WT 2 lb 4 oz (1.02 kg)


In addition to net weight, the label must also include the volume of the product.

If a labeling a product isn’t practical (e.g. the product isn’t packaged), the vendor may place a placard with the same information up at the point of sale.

Resources

Law Dates
July 2009
HEA 1309
This page was last updated on

Comments

    You can check above for relevant links, or call your health dept for more specific info. This site doesn’t license cottage food operations.

What about selling decorated cakes and delivering them? I lot of people make wedding cakes for money out of there homes.

I noticed that online sales have been added to the list of allowed venues. Does this mean that if I take orders online through an order form and deliver to their home or meet in a public place, it is legal? Or does that mean that I must take payment through an online avenue such as PayPal? I’m currently running a small custom cookie business outside of my home but as I gain more orders, I want to make sure I understand the law better. I live in the middle of the country, so farmers markets and roadside stands aren’t option for me, but this online avenue would be helpful if I’m understanding it correctly. Thank you!

    No — all sales must be fulfilled at a farmers market or roadside stand. Online sales, or preorders, are allowed if the goods are getting picked up at those venues. Otherwise, online sales aren’t allowed.

I have been looking for information on specific pies. I know I can’t sell anything with merengue on it but how about pecan pies? Are those ok to sell at Farmers Market?

I would like to sell cookies out of my home and was told if I put on the label “Not made in an inspected Kitchen” that it would be okay to sell them. Could I sell them if the name of the cookie was on the label as well as the ingredients and the statement I mentioned ?

Could I sell these at your Granger Farmers Market if made at home and not in a commercial kitchen?

    The above rules specify what is required for selling homemade food. You can sell them at a farmers market or roadside stand. There are a number of things that need to be on the label, as described above.

What does the law state about selling beef jerky, would this be considered potentially hazardous? Refrigeration is not required.

    It should be, unless a law or ordinance about selling alcohol prevents it. You should check with your health dept for clarification.

Thank you for all the great info! I know you stated no drink item is allowed but what about drink mix? My husband and I are considering selling a kinda wine slushie that can be made with or without alcohol. We would buying it from a manufacturer and repackaging and branding ourselves. Would this be allowed? If so is it only allowed at farmers markets and stands? We also own a small boutique and i also considered selling and or sampling from there. Also is an inspection required for me to give samples?

I know you have covered that it has to be a stand or a farmers market tons of times, but in your final clarification it defines a stand more. In you understanding would a food truck be a stand? I would be using a converted trailer as the stand but not to cook in.

    Food trucks tend to fall into their own category. It is the fact that they are mobile that is the differentiating factor, so I don’t think it would be considered a stand.

I am wanting to sell baked goods from my home. Is that legal? Do I need a license or permit to do this? I do not live in town I live on a country road.

    It isn’t legal to sell from your home. You may only sell homemade food at farmers markets and roadside stands. Because you live on a country road, you can probably setup a stand in front of your property. You need to call your county’s planning division to confirm that that would be okay for your area.

Would anyone know how people sell their edible goods on the Etsy website! I am interested in selling candies. I would have to follow Indiana regulations, correct?

can you clarify where Indiana stands on pickles? the bill reads weirdly.. at the top it says pickles prepared in the traditional way are ok, because they are a lo PH acidic food… then further down, it says they arn’t, because that are not a naturally acid food and are hermetically sealed…

    Strange as it may seem, there is a difference between pickles and pickled items. It specifically states that traditional (cucumber) pickles are okay, because this is an exception to the rule that other canned acidic items are not allowed. Does that clear things up?

We are a non-profit originization and want to sell homeade dog treats at area festivals to raise money. Is this allowed without a permit?

My question is if “farm Stands” and “roadside stands” are ok to see baked goods, than under this law can you also sell baked goods at a Craft Fair or something in that nature?

I am wanting to sell flavored simple syrup. Syrup is listed above but does not list what kinds of syrup. After some research, I discovered that a plain simple syrup recipe would not pass muster for the pH and water activity requirements. I did, however, find a recipe for Partially Inverted Sugar Syrup. The difference is that there is either an acid like citric acid (lemon juice), cream of tartar or sodium benzoate (preservative) added to the mixture during processing to lengthen the shelf life. My questions are:
1. Per the cottage law, am I allowed to add “preservatives” to extend shelf life and meet the pH and water activity requirements?
2. Am I allowed to sell a product that is shelf-stable until opened or a “refrigerate after opening” product?
3. Would I be able to label this product as “Simple Syrup” or would it have to be called “Partially Inverted Sugar Syrup”?

    1. I think so, though there may be a list of preservatives that are allowed by your health dept.
    2. A lot of the condiments you see that say “Refrigerate after opening” do not require it for safety… it just helps maintain the flavor of the product. Your product needs to be a non-perishable when left unrefrigerated, even after opening. Sugar is a big part of making a product non-potentially hazardous when it has a high water activity level. It should either be very sweet or acidic, and then you don’t need to use artificial preservatives. If you are using mostly pureed fruit (or juice) without much added sugar, that won’t work.
    3. I don’t know. For all of these questions, it would be best to get clarification directly from the health dept.

A lady just down the street from us runs a farm stand in her front yard where she sales plants, produce, and fresh eggs. We have become friends with her and discussed selling my wife’s homemade jams, jellies, and possibly other canned goods. If we can the goods at our house, but sell it at a farm stand down the street, is that legal? Thanks!

    It would be legal if the farm stand is in an approved area under the zoning rules. If it’s in a neighborhood, it’s probably not approved. If it’s on a highway in front of a farm, it probably is. You would need to call your planning division to find out.

    BBQ sauce may be allowed if it doesn’t require refrigeration. You need to contact the health dept to get approval for your sauce.

I would check with you local health department as they all interpret the HEA 1309 differently. Ours does allow pick up from your home as a HBV. I do cakes and cupcakes and have written ok from our health dept allowing pickup pick up but not delivery.

    Just to clarify, your county does allow you to sell from home? Do you mind me asking which one? I’m just getting started and want to make sure that I’m up to date and following all of the regulations. I’ve been doing custom cookies for events, so I’m not interested in selling at a market or roadside stand. Just curious whether I’m reading this correctly that your county allows you to sell your product from home. Thank you!

    It sounds pretty clear to me that she can have home pickup… though maybe not sales from home. That is definitely out of the scope of the law and is something her county came up with themselves. It’s unlikely it would be that way in many (or any other) counties.

I am an admin on an online yard sale site where we have 1 weekly meeting among our 122 members. Some of the members post things like, Monkey Bread, Cakes, Cookies, homemade dog treats, homemade laundry soap for sale during this weekly meet ( most are pre ordered on the site days in advance). Is this legal to do. Personally I have only bought the dog treats as I trust no ones kitchen I have not seen.

    Technically this is not legal, unless it’s a fundraiser for a church or something. There may be allowances for reselling commercially-produced items, but probably not at a yard sale. That being said, these kinds of illegal sales are common, but if you’re doing it really consistently, then you probably should look into the legality of it.

    I think it would be allowed. You just need to check with your county’s planning division to make sure that the area you are selling at is allowed.

    Canned (Hermetically sealed) acidified or low-acid foods such as salsa, chow-chow, and cooked meats or vegetables are NOT allowed to be sold at Farmer’s Market or Roadside stand under HEA 1309. A tomato based pasta sauce may fall under this detail.

I want to bake cakes and cupcakes out of my home in NW Indiana. I will be selling them, and also from time to time deliver the goods to their home. Is there any type of license that I should get for doing this or is it legal to run this type of business from my home? Thanks!

I have a booth in a shop with approimately 50 other vendors. Can I set up a display and sell out of my booth in the winter and migrate to the outdoor farmers market when when the weather breaks. The outdoor farmers market is opened weekly in the spring, summer, and fall.

I have a small farm where we grow our own fruits, vegetables, & spices. We have been selling at the farmers market for a year. We remodeled our separate garage where we put a kitchen this is where we do all of our baking, canning, & drying,
We are zoned farming so as I understand it we can open a shop as long as it offers these type items?
I was was old by a market member that pumpkin pie cant be offered for sale is this true?

    It’s quite likely that if your zoning allows it, you can set up a shop (“stand”) at your farm. But I don’t know enough to be absolutely certain. I do know that pumpkin pie is not allowed, because it requires refrigeration.

Okay I just want to make sure I’m correct on this point. I’m trying to start up my cake/cookie business from home. One day I hope to have a commercial space but that’s obviously not in the cards for me right now. If I put a small stand in my front yard I’m allowed to have customers come pick up their orders from there, just not my front door? Seems slightly ridiculous but obviously I want to make sure I’m doing things correctly. Are their “stand requirements” lol

    No, I highly doubt this would be allowed, and I agree that that would be ridiculous! You need to check with your planning division to see where roadside stands are allowed. I’d assume that almost all residential areas would be prohibited due to zoning regulations. The only way it might work is if you live on a farm on a country road.

Just verifying… I can sell my items at a Farmer’s Market or Roadside Stand but legally, if my friends or family want to buy stuff they can not pick it up at my house nor can I deliver it to them… they would have to pick it up at the market or stand I am at? I can do pre-orders/special requests though (phone, interent, e-mail) as long as they are allowed foods?

Also, as a side item… I am very glad fudge is allowed. :)

    Yes, that’s all correct. If you are selling for profit, even to family and friends, it needs to be at a farmers market or stand. It doesn’t make sense to me either.

I am a baking hobbyist not a professional, but some of my friends have asked if I will sell my goods. I won’t sell outright, but I am thinking about offering for them to come and make whatever they want WITH me as a sort of private lesson/session, and with the understanding that they are responsible for purchasing the ingredients or for at least covering their cost. Assuming the first couple went well, I would charge a small lesson fee. Since I’m not mass producing anything and I’m not actually selling the food, just my assistance and the use of my equipment, do you think the cottage food laws apply? I’m not sure, but I wouldn’t want to find out by getting into legal trouble.

    I’m really ignorant about this and I’m afraid I can’t really direct you to where you should look to learn more. But I can tell you that the cottage food laws would not apply to you. And it is quite possible that there would not be a legal way for you to do what you are trying to do. Probably similar kinds of lessons are held in a commercial food facility, which makes them legal.

    But if you are only doing this with friends, I don’t think you need to worry too much. The legal issues in this industry usually stem from customers, not the government. The health dept probably isn’t going to come to your home to stop you unless they hear a complaint.

    It’s because the law only allows sales to take place at a farmers market or roadside stand. If food is getting handed from the seller to the consumer at any other venue, then it does not fall under this law. I don’t know why they decided to make the law so limited… that’s just the way it is right now.

David, you seem really to know this subject. I have a few questions I was hoping you could answer. First, just double checking, but cajeta and regular caramel chews are legal in Indiana along with other candies, aren’t they? Second, this next question will likely make you think. Is it legal to sell candy and fudge made with raw goat’s milk? I’ve heard it both ways at this point. Some claim the temperatures involved in cooking make it safe; others say no. I really can’t find a clear law that addresses that directly (or at least one that does and that I can understand). Abiding by our HBV laws seem to be much more complicated than I ever expected, so any advice you can provide would be appreciated. I haven’t sold any food or candy items and don’t plan to until spring, that is if it is legal.

    Thanks — I did the research for this website so that’s why I understand the industry pretty well.
    1) Those candies should be fine.
    2) True, I haven’t heard that question before. But I think I can definitely say that this would not be allowed. Your products cannot be potentially hazardous and anything made with raw goat milk would be a PHF. You seem like someone that likes to check their sources, so check out IC 16-18-2-287.8(b)(1) (page 68).

Are the fines and penalties for any violations listed anywhere? I have looked at various health department websites and cannot find anything. Before I get into this, I want to make I won’t lose my house or anything if I make a mistake.

    I highly doubt you’ll find that info online. Sometimes laws give a maximum fine amount, but not Indiana’s. But regardless of whether you are legal or not, you still could lose your house if you made a big enough mistake and someone sued you, and that’s why many operations get insurance. But, you won’t be able to get insurance without a business license, and you won’t be able to get a license without approval from the health department. So it is definitely a risk you’re taking, which you need to calculate. You should also know that it is very common for people to run these kinds of businesses illegally, but that doesn’t make it any more secure.

I have made cakes and cupcakes for family and friends for free. And they have been a huge hit. I have been asked to make cakes for party’s for people and would love to do so out of my home but sometimes this would require me to deliver and set up a cake. What would I need to do to be able deliver cakes.

    Unfortunately, the kind of business you are describing requires a commercial kitchen. It is possible to add a commercial kitchen to your home, but it is prohibitively expensive. If you don’t want to build one or rent one, you would have to run your business illegally.

Regarding label making, does date produced need to be printed or can I hand write that in, since the production days will vary.? Also, how do I obtain net wt?

Okay so I was asked by a local restaurant, after bring some cupcakes in to a bday party of a friends and them trying them, if I would be willing to make cupcakes for sporting events there for them because they enjoyed them so much. Personally I am in college, have no want for a cupcake business, but suggested me charging them purely for the cost of the cupcakes themselves (not time, profit, or anything of that nature). Does this mean that I need to be licensed? The cupcakes would be in a box and I could easily do the labeling on the large box if needed as well. Please help.

    Yes, you need to be licensed and the cupcakes need to be made in a commercial kitchen. Normally I’d say that you can get away with selling them to family and friends illegally, but in this case you are potentially putting both yourself and the restaurant in jeopardy by selling them the cupcakes (even non-profit). It is especially bad because you don’t know who will be eating the cupcakes. Since you are in college and probably don’t want to setup a business, my advice to you would be to respectfully decline their offer. But the fact that they are impressed with your cupcakes is a good sign! Under this cottage food law, it wouldn’t be very difficult for you to start selling from farmers markets and potentially make a bit of money on the side.

if i am making a sauce and make to much can i sell it to some friends and people i know just outright? not doing it for a full thing, just made to much, not a buisness.
am i allowed to bring it to them?
do i still have to have a full on lable in it if it is just over made amount from my house, not a buisness?
and as renae asked, is a roadside stand just a set-up in front of your house?

    The technical answer is that you would need to have a label and follow all of the requirements listed on this page and in the law. However, it sounds like what you’re doing is pretty small — it sounds like if you are only selling to family and friends, you probably don’t need to worry about the law. It just depends on if you feel like you need to do everything by the letter of the law.

    Generally speaking, your stand should be on a more public road, not a road for private residences. Also please realize that lemonade is not a cottage food.

    I looked more into this, and I came across the definition of a roadside stand: “A place, building, or structure along, or near, a road, street, lane, avenue, boulevard, or highway where a home-based vendor sells their food product(s) to the public.”
    The law also says that “A roadside stand… should not be operated in violation of other… laws and ordinances, such as those related to… zoning/planning…”. It also says a roadside stand “…should be located where the land owner has given permission for the home-based vendor to operate at the site.”
    To me that means that you can sell in front of your house, IF you call your planning division and make sure that it is okay for the zone that you live in. If you live in a neighborhood, it will probably not be allowed.

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