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cottage food community

Nevada

Nevada’s cottage food law (SB 206) went into effect on July 1st, 2013. The law allows many different types of food products to be sold, but it is restricted in most other ways. Cottage food operators must make all of their sales in-person, and they cannot sell more than $35,000 per year of goods. Operations must be registered with one of the four health districts in the state, and the fee for registration varies by region.

Selling

Internet or phone sales are only allowed when the product gets exchanged in-person.

You may offer food samples at events, but they must be prepared in individual, closed, disposable containers at your home, and the samples may only be opened by the consumer. If you want to offer samples in an open container, then you need to get a temporary food permit.

You can sell anywhere in the state, but you must get registered in districts that are outside your own if you sell there. See the business section for more details.

Allowed Foods

Home-canned goods may not be used in any of your products.

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
Sales are limited to $35,000 per year

Business

Registration

Cottage food operations must register with their health department in their district. There are four districts: Southern NevadaWashoe CountyCarson City,  and everywhere else. The fee for registration will vary by county — in Clark County, for example, the fee is $100.

Even though it is not required, the health department encourages CFOs to get some form of food safety training.

Labeling

Sample Label

Chocolate Chip Cookies

"MADE IN A COTTAGE FOOD OPERATION THAT IS NOT SUBJECT TO GOVERNMENT FOOD SAFETY INSPECTION"


Forrager Cookie Company

123 Chewy Way, Cookietown, NV 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)


Workplace

In addition to the home, some health departments may also allow food to be prepared in other kitchens, like those in colleges, churches, and some non-profit organizations.

Resources

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Comments

Hi David, my boyfriend owns a comedy club in Nevada that sells only one food item, made and packaged by a local small business in NV. I would like to supplement and make a second item (like chocolate covered pretzels) to sell as well, but we live primarily in Los Angeles. Am I allowed to make something and ship it overnight from one state to the other? If chocolate covered items are not on the “snack” list for NV like they are for CA, does that mean I’m not allowed to sell them, even if I did end up making them in NV? Also, I notice there are not different Class A and B distinctions like there are in CA – perhaps I’m not allowed to sell to (or via) an intermediary business at all? Sorry for all the questions and thanks in advance. :)

    First of all, interstate sales are not allowed, so you wouldn’t be able to ship between states. But more importantly, if you live primarily in LA, then you must use that home kitchen and only that one. That would mean that you could only start a cottage food operation in CA and your sales would be limited to within CA. Generally speaking, CFOs are required to use their primary residence to operate their business. If you want more flexibility, you would need to look at getting a commercial license.

I have a few questions first off thank you sooooo much for all your insight and help.
1. I live in Washoe County do you know if I apply for the Food Cottage license if I also have to apply for a business license?
2. Is that all that I would have to apply for? What about insurance? I have basic homeowners insurance but what if someone complains and sues me?

You list “dried vegetables” as one of the items that can be prepared. However, when I looked at Southern Nevada Health District’s information on cottage food laws, they only mention “dried fruit”. I’ll probably call them soon directly to ask but where did you find that “dried vegetables” are allowed under the cottage food law? Thanks so much!

    Thanks for noticing this! I honestly have no idea why dried vegetables was listed. I looked through all my resources and couldn’t find anything beyond dried fruit. It’s probably just a simple mistake I made, and I’ve now corrected it.

I was approved to be apart of the cottage food. When I applied it asked me what counties I planned on selling in and I clicked them all but I cant remember what all the counties where. Can someone please help me?

    I’m not sure how Nevada’s registration process works, but I recommend contacting whoever you submitted your application to.

Can I sale items made in a Nevada cottage kitchen in other states? I would like to sell in Utah at farmers markets and bazaars. Thank you.

I bake and sell cakes as a hobby. I only use box cake mixes so listing the ingredients is not a problem. I was told that if I earn less than $35,000 a year I was considered a hobby baker. Is that true?

    It means that you can use the law above to operate. If you’re making any profit by selling homemade food, you need to register.

I’m in Carson City so I went to the page for Carson and we are not allowed to sell at our homes but can sell at farmers markets etc. But then it goes on to say (under the part about packaging for transport) the we can take an order package the item properly (in the example it is a cake) and then it is ready for home pick up or delivery to the customer’s home. I’m a bit confused. Is home pick up different from selling at your home? Also this seems to say that it is okay to deliver orders to the customer even if it is not at a farmers market etc. Can you clarify this for me?

    If they’re not allowing sales from home, then that’s a zoning issue (they don’t want people running an active business in a neighborhood). Because of that, it makes sense that delivery would be allowed, even though home sales would not.

    The home pickup thing confuses me too, and it may be a mistake on their page. In one place it just says “pickup”, which could refer to pickup at an event and not at the home. In another place it says “home pickup” in reference to an example with a wedding cake… that could be a mistake. If “home pickup” is allowed, but “home sales” are not, then the only way I could justify that is if they considered home sales to be people coming to your home to try and buy things. In that case, I don’t think their ruling would be too limiting to CFOs because almost all of them have an order finalized before someone comes to their home.

    While that is true, Tracie, a county can adopt an ordinance that prevents someone from selling at their home. They can’t stop you from operating, but they can restrict where you sell.

Hi , I have a 60 day shelf life FDA approved macacamian vegan pesto. There is no “cooking” and it is dairy free. California Cottage Act permitted my product , will Nevada?

    I’m really surprised that a health dept in CA allowed that… they must be really lenient. I’d also be surprised if the health dept in Nevada allows it, but I don’t know.

    I’m not exactly sure what “Jams, jellies, and preserves” means, but my guess is that it refers to fruit preserves with added sugar. I’d be really surprised if your health dept let you make any of the items you mentioned.

    I make wonder chocolate molded truffles, and I see many people selling them on etsy and they do not deliver in person, they mail with no guarantee in summer of melting. So are these people just breaking the law? Very frustrating, but I can’t sell a few boxes of truffles to someone a hundred miles away and deliver them in person! Why are there hundreds of sellers on etsy? How to they get by with it!!!

    Non-potentially hazardous is the legal term, and it basically specifies whether a product is likely to become dangerous. Moldy bread is smelly, but not dangerous to humans, and therefore is a non-PHF. Nevada doesn’t allow all non-PHF foods and is only intended for bakers — it’s not for everyone.

    Etsy requires sellers to adhere to local laws but does little to ensure that they are. Their policy protects Etsy, but not the seller. My guess is that the majority of items you see on Etsy are illegal.

The Nevada law states it does not allow for meringue or cream cheese frosting or garnishes. Do you know if that would apply to icing made from meringue powder? MP does not require cooking or refrigeration and is considered safe from salmonella, as opposed to fresh egg whites.

    I don’t know, but it’s probably still not allowed. Meringue powder itself is totally safe because it’s dry, but when you mix liquid into it you boost the water activity level, and that changes things. The health dept makes the final call on questions like this.

    In case anyone else is looking for the answer, I spoke with Larry from SNHD, he confirmed meringue powder is ok.

    Thanks for the update! That’s really good to know. However, it may be a different answer for a different region of the state.

If you set up a Cottage Food Operation, register it etc… Can you start selling right away or do you need to also apply for a business license as well?

    You should be able to make them if you don’t puncture the apple. You can also call your health dept to see if they will allow you to put a stick in them.

My state does not allow meringue products. Does this include Italian Meringue buttercream frosting? The sugar syrup is heated to 240, which is then added to the egg whites, then butter is added after cooling off.

    Swiss and Italian meringue frosting does seem to fall into it’s own class, but I really can’t say for sure whether the health dept is going to allow it. You just need to call them and ask.

    The law does allow “candies”, which I assume would include non-perishable truffles. Ultimately it’s up to your health dept to decide whether or not to allow them.

I was wondering if events not label as a craft fair or church bazaar are ok. We are military so there are a lot of events done on base that I could do, but not all are labeled strictly as a craft fair and none are “church”.

    I don’t think these are allowed, but they actually might be if they are considered a “flavored vinegar”. You should call the health dept and if they say no, ask them if it could be considered a flavored vinegar, since that is basically what it is and that’s on the approved food list.

Do you have to own the home your baking in or can it be a rental property/apartment?

Are there any inspections required for the residence?

Hi David. Fantastic resource you have provided. My main question is about zoning.

Does residential zoning in nevada allow sale of goods? Does this law have more power than local zoning rules that may restrict conducting any business from home? Or perhaps all residential zoning already allows for the sale of goods from home?

Thanks

    It does not have power over local zoning rules, though few, if any, zones would have rules against the cottage food law. Virtually all homes in Nevada will be allowed to sell cottage foods. You need to contact your planning division, and they will tell you if there are any requirements for your area.

    Thanks Tracie, I had overlooked that when posting the above comment. Sales from home may not be allowed, but the law does prevent zoning laws from stopping a CFO from operating entirely.

I am considering starting a cake business. I read something about cream cheese not being allowed. Is this even for frosting?

    It would not be allowed for frosting. You might be able to get away with using a little bit in a baked good, but even then, it would probably still be disallowed.

    Yes, it’s because canned vegetables can be potentially hazardous if produced incorrectly. Dried vegetables have a very low water activity level, which makes them safer overall.

i own a retail store and have carried local jams and hot sauces from a cottage kitchen for years. How can I continue to carry these products?

    You would not legally be able to unless that cottage kitchen converted into a standard food business that produces their items from a commercial kitchen. In truth, this wouldn’t have been legal in the past either, despite it being common.

    It would be nice to see Nevada pass an amendment that allows different classes of CFOs, similar to California, and this would allow sales at retail stores.

I have been doing lots of research for the Cottage food operations.. I understand that this permit does Not allow selling of the listed food above for internet/phone transactions… What license will I need to be able to do this?

    If you’re not going the cottage food route then you just need to go the standard route via your health department of becoming a regular food business that makes everything in a commercial kitchen. It’s more expensive and complicated, which is why these cottage food laws exist, but they’re not for everyone.

Hi David! I need a little help with a few questions/answers if you don’t mind.
1) Meat products are/are not allowed for sale out of a home?
2) What happens if someone gets sick and they are not registered with the health dept.?
3) What happens if you just don’t follow the law?
4) Can you have a facebook page for your products for sale?
5) Does it matter if the transaction is at your residence or the park?

Thanks!

    1) No, nothing containing meat is allowed.
    2) Do you mean if someone is illegally selling homemade goods and someone gets sick from those goods and complains? I don’t exactly know… I’ve actually never heard of that happening because usually homemade goods are perfectly safe. When health departments learn about unlicensed food businesses, they either give a warning or charge a fine. If someone actually got ill from an illegal food business’ products, I’d say the consumer would have grounds to sue the illegal business, which would have no protection from something like that, since you can’t get insurance for a business without a business license.
    3) I think I mostly covered this above. People run illegal food businesses all the time, and many don’t know that it’s illegal. People that take the time to follow the law don’t like illegals because they lower the reputation of home food businesses in general (it’s harder to get good laws passed because people stretch the rules — it’s kind of like how speed limit signs are slower than they should be because people will go faster no matter what they are). However, cottage food laws were made in part to allow these home food businesses to legally exist so that they could actually get the licensing and protection they need, as well as have the capacity to sell beyond their home (at farmers markets and such).
    4) Yes
    5) It doesn’t matter — the transaction just needs to be made in-person, and it also can’t happen at a licensed food facility.

Ok so how do you apply for an exemption to calories and nutritional info on labels. Is there a link to that info? I am in the beginning stages and still so confused.

    Your goods cannot be resold. You can sell a cake to a business as long as that business is not a food facility and it’s buying it for its employees to consume. You do have to be present for every transaction in your business.

    The registration process is different for every county in the state, so you need to check with yours. As an example, here is the one for Clark County. You can sell from your home, so you could sell at your own garage sale.

    If you look in the Business section above, you’ll see that there are only 4 departments that oversee these laws. You should call the one that is applicable to you.

Thanks for all the great information. This tells me that I will qualify for the Cottage Law status and I can go to the Health Dept. with this information. I have been there twice trying to get the scoop on how to proceed and they never once mentioned the Cottage Law even after I described what I was trying to do!

    Barbara, I know it’s frustrating. This law is so new that they might be unaware of its existence. Or maybe they just don’t agree with it. Either way, it sounds like you should be able to move forward with your business.

Does homemade pet food fall into this category at all? I make soft cat food for my cats with a recipe from a veterinarian & would like to be able to sell it.

    Almost certainly not. Pet food falls under different regulation than people food, for some reason. I’ve seen many states say they disallow pet food, many states say they aren’t sure, and no state (that I’ve seen) says they allow it. But it’s really up to you health department to decide — don’t be surprised if they don’t know.
    By the way, I probably should mention that if your cat food recipe has meat in it, then it wouldn’t be allowed regardless.

    It may be, but it depends on what city or county you live in. Your planning division should be able to tell you if you need to get a business license.

    Hmmm, I can’t say for sure, but I’m almost positive it would be okay. Cottage food laws usually list tea if they allow it, but Nevada’s law doesn’t list it. However, Nevada allows most shelf-stable foods, and dry tea definitely falls into that category. You could check with your county when you register.

I am SO excited about this law passing! I am an avid home baker who loves to share what I make with family and friends, and the opportunity to make a little extra cash is so exciting. The big question though, is whether it will be worth it to pay all the fees associated with farmers market booths, etc AND overhead and only be able to sell $35,000 in a year…

    Well you can’t know unless you try! I can say, though, that some counties in California have pretty high fees, but almost all of the cottage food operations I’ve met were able to recuperate their expenses within the first couple months. There is such a huge demand right now for local, healthy foods. And once you hit the sales limit, that’s supposed to give you enough of a head start to go commercial.

I’m this with interest. I just have a few concerns: How would a home cook determine caloric count, serving size and nutritional content? I get that on the ingredient list we would list the ingredients from most to least and in the event that our ingredients we list those in parentheses. For example I make jams I would list my fruit, sweetner (sugar or honey) and then my pectin which would include their list of ingredients in parentheses. Also, the $35000 per year, is that PROFIT, sales subtract ingredient costs, or just sales?

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