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cottage food community


Ohio’s cottage food law does not require any licensing from the ag department, and there is no sales limit, but the law limits producers in other ways. Rather than allowing all direct sales, operations can only sell their items at specific types of venues, which does include a couple indirect (wholesale) channels, like selling to a restaurant. Also, Ohio is very specific about what types of food an operation can make. After being expanded in 2009, the allowed foods list is now fairly comprehensive.

Interestingly, Ohio also has a law for home bakeries that want to sell perishable baked goods, like cheesecakes and cream pies.


The only “retail stores” that can sell your products are grocery stores and restaurants. Restaurants may also use your products in their food items.

“Events” must be government-organized festivals or celebrations that do not last longer than seven consecutive days. You cannot sell your products at privately-sponsored events, like craft fairs or flea markets.

In addition to farmers markets, you can sell at farm markets and farm product auctions.

The law is not clear about online sales. If online sales are allowed, they likely need to be fulfilled in-person, either via pickup or delivery. Contact the ag dept for more clarification.

Allowed Foods

If you want to sell perishable baked goods, you can become a home bakery.

The only syrups allowed are maple and sorghum syrup. Syrups and honey cannot be sold in stores or restaurants, and they must contain at least 75% of product from your own trees or hives.

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

Your kitchen may only have one oven or double oven.


No license from the ag department is required, but there may be other local requirements, like a business license.


Sample Label

Chocolate Chip Cookies

"This product is home produced." (10-point type)

Forrager Cookie Company

123 Chewy Way, Cookietown, OH 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)

NET WT 2 lb 4 oz (1.02 kg)

If the business name is listed in a local telephone directory, the street address may be omitted or replaced with a PO box.

If a nutritional claim is made on the label, a nutrition facts panel must be included.

Labeling Info & Sample

Labeling Laws (ORC 3715.023)


Ohio Department of Agriculture
800-282-1955 ext 4366
Law Dates
November 2001
ORC 3715.01, 3715.023, 3717.22
June 2009
OAC 901:3-20
This page was last updated on


    Mobile food vendors often have different licensing requirements. I’m not sure if you can sell cottage food products as a mobile vendor. You should call your ag dept to see if this is possible.

Hello, just curious what the law is regarding the selling of goods to individuals at their place of residence?

    Do you mean like walking around to different residences and selling there? I don’t think that would be allowed. You can make sales at home, online, or by telephone and then deliver the product to the person’s residence.

Hello –
What are the laws regarding dried fruits and dehydrated vegetables? Would you be able to sell this at a farmer’s market without a license?

    I don’t think that would be allowed for a standard cottage food operation. You can check with the ag dept, and if they don’t allow it, you should be able to use a home bakery license instead.

Hi. I wanted to let you know that the information you have about shipping is incorrect. As per the Ohio department of Agriculture, products may be shipped within Ohio. I have contacted them and they have confirmed this.

I have a small cottage chocolate business that has been open for about a year, recently i’ve been getting requests from homebrewers around the country to purchase cocoa beans for them to add to their brew. Would I need additional licensing, or a commercial kitchen in order to sell to them?


I am confused. So, I have pets. I assumed I could not sell anything from my house from what I read on Ohio Cottage Industry Laws. But is there a difference between having pets and not selling refrigerated items? I want to sell cakes & cookies from home. Thank you David for all the useful info!

    The pet restriction only applies to bakeries that sell potentially hazardous foods that require refrigeration, like cheesecakes. For CFOs selling non-perishable baked goods, there are no pet restrictions, but please keep in mind that some people have pet allergies, so make sure your kitchen is clean!

I’m thinking of starting a coffee roasting business out of my home to sell in the local farmers market and to local cafe’s. I would like to have an online presence. Am I allowed to ship my coffee beans outside of Ohio?

    Generally you need some type of permit from the health or ag dept to sell cut produce. If you are not cutting/preparing the produce, you may not need a permit.

How could I go about making and selling my salad dressing? I see it is not on the list. Would I just need to make it in a commercial kitchen ?

    In addition to using a commercial kitchen, you also need the appropriate licensing and training… you should contact your health dept.

Is there a license I need to sell cookies and popcorn under the cottage food law? Or as long as I file the guidelines I am okay? I’m thinking of selling at farmer’s markets this summer.

Thank you for all the great information you’ve given on this site! I’m interested in selling homemade baby food from my home. All natural and preserved by freezing. Is this allowed in Ohio? If so, what licensing might I need? Thank you for your help!!

I would like to sell chocolates and chocolate covered oreos out of my home. Am I able to do this or do I have to have some type of license or something in ohio? I would be advertising these to locals online.

I am considering a cottage law baking business. If I make a mixed fruit pie, or cobbler, can I state on the label made with natural ingredents ? Such as berries…..???? What can I say on the label if the berries I used are organic? Can I say made with organic fruit? Also, what is the best advice you can give on licensing, an LLC? S corp? Best corporation.

    I think you’re free to use the word “natural”, which actually hasn’t been defined by the FDA. In fact, products that you see that are labeled “natural” can be basically anything, though the FDA prefers that they don’t contain added color, artificial flavors, or synthetic substances. To someone in the know, the word “natural” is just marketing speak and really doesn’t mean anything.

    The term organic is the polar opposite, and you must adhere to strict rules and certifications to place that word on your labels:

    Here’s my best advice about business setup:

    Thank you for your reply. Also, do I need a zoning permit to do either food described under cottage, and/ or home baker foods such as cream pies etc? I live in Cincinnati area, Hamilton County.

My friend is opening a moblie coffee truck soon. I suggested that I make muffins at my home for him to sell along with his coffee. Is this possible? We haven’t decided if he would buy them outright from me or if I would help work the truck and sell them myself. Thanks a bunch

    He definitely couldn’t sell them for you, and it’s also unlikely that you could sell them yourself from his truck. Mobile food trucks have unique laws and I don’t think CFOs are allowed to sell their products at them. However, the ag or health dept would be able to give you a final answer on this.

I would like to open a storefront where I only take orders and hold consultations for the custom and wedding cakes I sell. No baking will take place for the time being. I am licensed as a home bakery and will continue this way now. My question is can I sell my prepackaged goods in my establishment? They would still be baked and labeled from my home.

I would like to sell spices that are sealed and labeled at local craft shows. They are intended for people to take home, add sour cream and use as a chip dip. Do I need a license for this?
Can I sell to retail shops?

    You can use the cottage food law described above to do this, as long as your products are sealed and labeled at home before being sold elsewhere (restaurants and grocery stores are the only retail shops you can sell to). You don’t need a license from the ag or health dept, but there may be other requirements:

I will be starting a granola business I have the option to make from home or use a friend’s restaurant kitchen. I will also be selling the granola at the restaurant and online for pickup. What category do I fall in ? Will I need a commercial license or will this fall under the cottage foods

    If you make the product at home, then you should be able to use the cottage food law and sell at both the restaurant and online for pickup. If you make the product at the restaurant, then you’ll need a commercial license. I think you have to choose one or the other — you can’t do both. The commercial option is more flexible but a bit more complicated.

If I rent a commercial kitchen 1 day a week to make some of the baked goods that are not legal under CFO do I need to get any type of licence? I dont suppose a home bakery licence would be right since I wouldnt be baking those items in my home (but in the commercial kitchen instead). But it still wouldnt be a full fledged bakery. So I am not sure how to go about this.

Hi-if i sell tea/coffee in individual pkgs. and supply takeout cups or container and a hot water dispenser (meant to be carried out and consumed elsewhere) is this allowed? I suppose it could also apply to dry soup mixes, but I am not planning to make those.
Also, could you please elaborate on what kind of set up I can create at my house to bring in business, like sign inside or outside, devoted room or space to store and display/ sell goods? Thanks

    I’m really not sure what the specific rules about that are. My guess is that probably does not fall within the intent of the law, since you’re then operating more like a store. Your products are supposed to be consumed off the premises (as you know), but once you add the water to it, it becomes potentially hazardous and therefore your customers would be walking away from your site with a potentially hazardous product. My guess is that if this would be allowed, then there wouldn’t be a reason why selling prepared coffee and tea wouldn’t be allowed — since the latter isn’t allowed, then the former wouldn’t be. You can call your ag dept to check.

    The zoning laws in your area will dictate what you can setup at your house. Those laws are usually setup so that businesses can’t exist in residential areas; therefore, someone driving down the street shouldn’t be able to notice that a home business exists there. You probably won’t be able to have any signage there, and also won’t likely be able to have a store. Your home should function more as a base for people to pickup finished orders… a cottage food operation isn’t intended to run like a full business.

    The sign thing really depends on where you are. If you have an HOA you are probably SOL. I live in a rural area and lots of my neighbors have signs selling local farm products. Signs like “eggs”, “honey”, “maple syrup”, “vegetables”, “tomato plants”, and the like are commonplace. One neighbor even has beef (he jumps a lot of hoops I think, but his sign is fine). People I know who sell cottage foods (cakes etc) usually advertise on facebook and have their customers come by for pickup, or they sell at a farmers market or auction.

Does “honey butter” fall under this law? Can’t find anything about it and would think it would be the same as fruit butter.

    I don’t think honey butter would be included in the definition of fruit butter. I’d recommend you contact your ag dept to determine if they will allow it.

Hi David What type of licenses do I need to have to start selling my “cottage” cakes to people outside of Ohio? Without them picking it up in Ohio. I see business that ships cakes and cookies anywhere.

Ok… I TRIED to read all the comments and answers to see if my question was here! I have run out of time! There’s a LOT of info here! :-)
So, am I understanding correctly…I can make fruit jam in my home, with a regular stove, and only sell personally to individuals, in a grocery store, or in government arranged events, but NOT at craft shows. Online sales can be made, within Ohio, but I must deliver the product in person.
BUT, if I make my jam in a commercial kitchen, (rented) I may sell at all of the above AND craft shows?
If I DO make it in a commercial kitchen, do I have to have a special license?
Thank you for your time!!!

    Your first few comments are correct. If you use a commercial kitchen, then you wouldn’t use this cottage food law and would need a completely different license:
    I don’t know about a vendor’s license, but some event venues might require something like that. It probably wouldn’t be required if you’re not selling at events.

I’m wondering how fund-raising bake sales fit into this? Are they illegal? Have group of kids who want to do a bake sale to raise money for a local charity and they only want to do it one time – will probably set up in a store parking lot, etc. Do they have to be at a grocery store? Do the items have to be labeled with ingredients?

    That kind of venture would not fit into this, but there are usually exemptions for this sort of activity. It shouldn’t matter whether or not it’s at a grocery store, and there are often not specific labeling requirements. You can contact your local health dept to learn what the policy about nonprofit bake sales are in your county.

I want to start cottage food business from my home kitchen. I know that I don’t need license but do I need to register home bakery else were or do I have to open my own company? Thank you for your answer!

What is a government- organized festival or celebration? I am confused on what kinds of events I can sell at since in one reply you said a flea market was ok, then another said a craft show was not ok. I need some clarity. Also, why is it not ok to sell at a craft show if everything is labeled correctly? Do I need a home bakery license to do so? Thanks!

    I think it refers to county fairs and the like. Thanks for the note about the flea market comment below… that was before I fully understood the law. Here’s the line from the law:

    A person who offers for sale… at a festival or celebration, on the condition that the festival or celebration is organized by a political subdivision of the state and lasts for a period not longer than seven consecutive days

    I’m not sure why the law is written this way, so I can’t really explain why craft shows aren’t allowed. To sell at a different kind of event, you need a commercial license:

I live on five acres. I would like to sale cupcakes and cakes. But my driveway is long and up a steep hill. Therefore, I would like to buy a shed and place it at the end of my driveway so passerbys can see it and sell my items there. Is this allowed? Thanks!

    The intention for doing sales from home is that people could come to your home to pickup items — not that you’d setup a sign outside of your home advertising your business. There are zoning regulations that prevent individuals from setting up businesses in residential areas. However, it sounds like your property is probably outside of zoning lines, so you may be able to do this. You need to contact your planning division/zoning dept to learn what they allow.

Any idea if peanut butter would be considered a ‘cottage food’? (using just store-bought dry-roasted peanuts, peanut oil and salt)

    I don’t think so. Ohio is pretty specific about what it allows, and nut butters are not listed, but you should still double-check with the ag dept

    Yes, typically anything with cream cheese is considered to be something that requires refrigeration. I’m not sure if a cream cheese icing would even be allowed with a home bakery license, since the cream cheese isn’t baked. You can check with your ag dept for more info.

    I’m not sure… I think it would be allowed if you didn’t puncture the apple. It may even be allowed if you puncture it. The ag dept determines what’s allowed, so you need to call them.

I was wanting to find out if under the Ohio cottage food law you are aloud to make fruit empanada pies? Does that fall under the fruit pie category? Also, we are able to make fresh apple and cherry pies, as well as fresh raspberry and blueberry muffins, correct? Thanks!

    As long as your empanadas do not need to be refrigerated, they should be allowed. Everything else you mentioned is allowed. If any of your baked products require refrigeration, you need to get the home bakery license.

My husband and I have been selling baked goods (not requiring refrigeration) made in our home kitchen under the cottage law at local farmers markets. There is a small storefront space located in one of the small towns where we do a good amount of business. We are considering leasing the space as a small storefront to sell our baked goods. We would continue to bake in our home kitchen as the space does NOT have a kitchen. Would this still be covered under the cottage rules???
Thanks so much!

    Ok, so is a bakery considered a restaurant and if so wouldn’t that be covered?
    If not, would a home kitchen license cover us? Thx so much :)

    Typically, a bakery is a type of food establishment and is not considered a restaurant. There are a lot of technicalities about what the definition of a restaurant is, but usually it mostly has to do with whether or not the products sold are intended to be consumed on the premises of an establishment. Bakeries usually intend for their products to be consumed off the premises. You should ask your ag dept where they draw the line… they may allow you to sell at the bakery.

Would it be allowed to put a sign in our yard advertising my breads for sale? I’ve sold baked goods at a local farmers market & sell holiday goodies, but would love for it to be more constant. Thanks for your time! {~Kelly~}

    Even though you can sell your breads from home, I doubt that your planning division will allow you to display a sign for your business outside your house, especially if you’re in a neighborhood. Zoning laws have been created to prevent something like that from happening.

Hi, I am a chocolate maker, and I have been selling in relatively small quantities at farmer’s markets and street festivals. However, I am taking steps to sell chocolate bars online, under cottage laws I cannot sell outside the state of ohio. What is necessary to be able to sell and ship to other states?


My wife and I are interested in selling homemade potato chips. I haven’t been able to find much online about this. It’s not on the Foods Allowed list, but it’s such a basic food I can’t imagine it would be very controversial. Do you have any insight on this? Thank you!

I saw that chocolate was covered under the license but what about truffles they do not require refidgeration are they covered?

I have a transient vendor’s license from the state of Ohio for our product which is popcorn. We sell prepackaged flavors of gourmet popcorn. We sell at farmers markets and other venues. We have been told for an upcoming event that we need to have a temporary mobile food unit license but this is the first time we have been told we need this and our health department in our county said we do not need it. The upcoming event is in another county though. Not sure who I should talk to or where I may find the written rules. Thanks so much,

    Rules are typically different for each county. However, an event manager can require whatever they want to, even if it’s more restrictive than what the ag or health depts require. So if they are telling you that you need a mobile food unit license, then you need to get one regardless of what the dept says. Basically, events can make their own rules.

I would like to sell my food at an upcoming event. I just officially registered an LLC, but do not have a venders license, or food license. Im not sure which I would need to sell my food. I make the food out of my home. It consists of meat, vegetables and some baked goods. Can you help me with this?

    Can you please elaborate more on the juicing and selling of that product made in your home? Is it because it’s perishable or just not on the list? I am thinking about starting that up but now unsure with this new info! Is this just in OH as I know you can do this in many other states such as Fla. Thank you.

    It is both because it’s perishable and because it’s not on the list. Alaska is the only state I’m aware of that allows a very limited number of juices. Pennsylvania also appears to allow a limited number of beverages, which may include juices. In both cases, the juice would need to be non-perishable in order to be sold in those states.

I am thinking of selling some jams that contain a few hot peppers and vinegar, but they are mostly fruit and would not be considered pepper jam. Is this allowed? For example, 5 half pints have 3 jalapeños and a cup of vinegar. Thank you! This site is very helpful.

    The vinegar should be okay since that’s acidic. The peppers still may not be allowed, even though there aren’t many in a jar. You should call your ag dept to learn more.

Thank you for all of the great information and the links/instructions to the Ohio Agri website. I was having issues navigating the Agri website until I read your page. You must get tired of repeating the same answers over and over again for so many of the same asked questions! Thank you for all of your patience and for the fantastic information! I have an odd unrelated question; do you participate in ICES? Ohio is supposed to have a nice ICES convention in Columbus twice a year, and I think the organization would be a fantastic asset, but I have never been. I only ask because it seems the majority of the Cottage businesses are sugar-craft based. If you have been, or have first-hand knowledge, I would love to hear about it! Thanks again! ~~Kelly~~

    When I get a question too many times, I just stick it on the FAQ page. :-)
    Your question, however, is a first. In fact, I’ve never heard about ICES until now, so I think that answers it.

I am beginning this wonderful stage of baking from home and wanted to know if having an iphone card reader for credit card purchases, but in person would be okay… i know cash is a given but more sales are derived from credit cards. Thank you so much for your time

I had a few questions about producing on Ohio. We have a coffee roaster and want to start selling the coffee. I know that roasted coffee is allowed per the Ohio Cottage Producers code, however our roaster is based off a grill. The code doesn’t specifically say that you can’t have a grill but it does state that the kitchen can only contain one oven. Are we still ok or will they somehow consider the grill an oven?

One other question was if we are allowed to setup as an LLC in Ohio being a Cottage Producer.

I’m going to start making various pickled products this summer and will be selling them at flea/farmers markets. I won’t be making them at home, but at a culinary school commercial kitchen…that would qualify correct? It has all the various health inspections done……

Great info and thank you for taking the time to answer so many questions. I myself have 3 of them. how would one go about being able to sell Canned goods like pickled scapes, peppers, quail eggs? Would dry uncooked homemade pasta if packaged correctly fall under cottage industry? Can quail meat be sold under cottage industry law? Quail isn’t one of the domesticated poultry meats prohibited in the statute. Thank you in advance!

I wanting to start selling my gluten free protein bars. they are mainly nuts, oats, chocolate, whey protein. Do i have to do somthing special if I’m saying my bars are gluten free? and if I understand correctly, to sell online I have to have a commercial license?

    Yes, you need a commercial license to sell online. Making the claim of “gluten free” requires that you follow the federal labeling laws, which includes a nutrition facts panel.

    No — your jams and jellies need to be cooked and be able to sit at room temperature for months without spoiling. Freezer jam usually involves little to no cooking, and therefore requires refrigeration.

I just need to clarify a few things. Can I sell my cottage foods (no license needed) at gas station mini marts where they sell groceries? Also I would be baking in my home which I rent. Is this ok? Or do I need permission from my landlord? Or do I actually need to own the home. Thanks much for your help.

    You can use a kitchen in a rented home if you have permission from the landlord.

    I really don’t know if a mini-mart would classify as a grocery store. You can call the ag dept with your question: 800-282-1955

I know this has got to be a silly question, that you’ve probably answered a million times, but if I plan on selling cakes out of my home, am I allowed to have a dog?

The cakes would not include anything fancy. I would also be doing, someday, cupcakes, cookies and brownies.

Also, I’m a little confused about the licensing. I see there are two types. I’m not technically a “home bakery” correct? So what type of licensing should I apply for? (Just what you’re suggestion would be.)

Thank you, in advance, for your help in explaining this to a silly girl.

Would you be able to further explain ‘internet’ as a sales type? Does no internet sales mean I am not able to make the order and payment online even if the transaction of the product takes place at the home?

Would salsas fall under the cottage industry laws? I know of several people who have gone retail with theirs and I’m assuming it started as cottage industry, but I didn’t see salsas listed, unless it was under another category like mixes or seasonings, or something. Thanks.

I am hoping that you can point me in the right direction. I want to start selling baked goods and handmade candies at the farmers market. I have a commercial kitchen that I can use. What licensing do I need to sell my goods? And because I am using a commercial kitchen, can I sell at craft shows and to places like coffee shops, restaurants and food trucks? I am in Wood County.

So if I want to vend at a farmers market and sell pre-brewed iced herbal tea by the cup, would that be legal? What about giving out free samples? I would be serving it from a pitcher with a spicket and brewing it the night before the market.

Thanks so much for all of the info that you have shared David!

I was wondering if you knew if an Ohio Food Vendors License is still required under the Ohio Cottage Food Law?

Hello, I just began operating a home bakery business under the cottage food laws and have a friend starting a food truck business. He’d like to buy my products to sell from his truck. But in the above sales venues category, would his business be considered a food stand? Thanks!

    It would not be considered a food stand and he can’t sell your product for you. You would also not be able to sell the items yourself from his truck.

    Thanks so much for your response. I’m not quite sure I understand, though. I don’t want him to sell my products for me. He is asking to buy my cakes for resale alongside his own food. Is that an important distinction? And if not, this would be different if I were to sell my products to a restaurant for resale, solely because of the type of establishment? Thanks!

    Yes, it is an important distinction. The only places that can resell your items are grocery stores or restaurants. The food truck would not be considered a restaurant. I know that he would buy them and then you’d no longer be involved in a future transaction, but you must sell to the end consumer, unless it’s a grocery store or restaurant.

Are products for sale allowed to contain alcohol (ie: wine or beer) when produced at home? I wasn’t sure if there were regs concerning alcohol, even if it’s a small quantity. Thanks so much!

First time here. You all seem friendly. What are the regs on doing things such as parties? Making the food at home and having parties/business as in (showers, weddings, birthdays). Would that fall under cottage? And could I serve teas and coffee? I seem to be in a grey area with some people.

    You can make products at home and then sell them to someone hosting a party. If you are planning on actually serving the food, then that would likely fall under catering and the products couldn’t come from your home kitchen. Serving hot coffee or tea is also not allowed under the cottage food law. I’d recommend you call the health dept to learn the best way for you to move forward.

My daughters and I are discussing doing the cake decorating, cookie bouquets, etc from my home kitchen.Thanks David you answered many of my questions and even those I never even thought of !!! :-D

I’m considering starting a gourmet bakery out of my home. It would include cake, cake pops, cheesecake, and tarts etc. I know if it is refrigerated it’s a no, but cheesecake needs refrigerated. Does that mean I can’t do cheesecakes? And, am I aloud to store things in the fridge even if it does not require it?

    You can do cheesecakes with a home bakery license, listed above. Even without a home bakery license, you can store things in the refrigerator.

Sorry if this has been explained and I have missed it. Under the Cottage food laws for Ohio are pets allowed in the house? Im interested in starting up but I have a dog. I would, of course, keep him out of the kitchen whilst cooking. I saw that no pets are allowed with home bakeries but this technically wouldnt be a home bakery. Would I have to add to the label that a dog lives in my house?

I make perogies at home. Am I able to sell them to local stores and friends and neighbors? Can I use the cottage food law to sell them to stores or do I need a license and a commercial kitchen? If so what site would prepare me to do this?

I live in Ohio. Do I need a license to sell prepackaged dry dip mixes at craft shows or farmer markets that I bought wholesaler?

    If you’re just reselling commercially prepackaged items, then I don’t think you need to follow these rules. Your health dept probably has a simple seller’s permit, which would allow you to sell at craft shows. However, if you are repackaging the dip mix at your home, then that would fall under this law (no ag dept license required). Craft shows would not be allowed, but you could sell at farmers markets. Also, read this:

I am in Ohio and interested in opening a home bakery wholesale operation. I would like to convert my garage to a kitchen, it is separate from the house. I have pets but they would not be able to get into that building. Is that acceptable or would having pets on the property still make it unacceptable?

    This would be completely separate from having a home bakery license. You are trying to start a commercial food business and build a commercial kitchen. If pets aren’t allowed in the building, then it should be fine, but this can get pretty expensive and you should be talking to the health dept to make sure you’re doing everything to code.

I am based in Lexington, KY, where cottage food laws only apply to farmers. Can I make my toffee and nut brittles in Lexington, then sell them in Cincinnati?


We are just starting our gourmet popcorn business and would like to operate under the cottage food laws for a time. We have been asked to do a couple events, both where would be giving products to the public not selling although there would be potential for sales, one event is Rotary club sponsored, and the other by a church. The question is would theses events be Ok for us to go to under the cottage business rules.

    You can do that under the cottage food law on this page. You don’t need licensing from the health dept, but your county may have some requirements you need to fulfill. You can call your planning division to find out.

I’m looking to sell baked goods at shows and festivals. I’m curious how I would label something that someone would come buy and possibly eat on the spot and not need a bag. Would a general sign on the table with the labeling requirements be suffice for that?

    Your products should not be intended to be eaten “on the premises”. Your products are all supposed to be properly packaged and labeled in your home kitchen, even if the customer chooses to open it and eat it at the point of sale.

I first called about an appointment for an inspection to get the home bakery license on Feb 28. Tomorrow is March 28 and I still don’t have an appointment from the ODA. I have not found any info on how long it takes for this to happen. I Called Mar 7 and told them my labels were ready and was told an inspector would contact me (no one did). I called again Mar 14 to find out they forgot to add my name to the inspectors list. I received an email Mar 18 asking for a copies of my labels and sent them that same day. Tomorrow is Mar 28 and I still have not heard back from them with an appointment. It seems like this is taking longer than should be. Is this normal?

    Sounds typical. Unfortunately you are at the mercy of the department, and you just have to be persistent. Some departments are really on top of things, and many are like this.

    I disagree. It sounds like your mixture is a pepper jelly, in which jellies are allowed. This is a rather common home produced product I see at Ohio farmers markets.

    Pepper jellies and other non-fruit jellies are generally disallowed for a variety of reasons. They do not fall under the same classification as high-sugar or high-acid fruit jellies. You might see homemade pepper jellies at farmers markets, but that doesn’t mean they are legal (unless they are produced in a commercial kitchen).

    I do not think that this is a jelly. The OP says “hot peppers and spices mixture in vinegar and oil”. Oil is not allowed as things packed in oil need to be refrigerated (and used within days of being made) to be safe. Pickled peppers (that is peppers canned in vinegar with no oil) are an acidified food and while safe are not allowed under Ohio law for some reason.

Hi, i’m thinking about selling petit fours.. i always make them for family and friends. if i was to use boxed cake mix and butter cream do i list everything thats on the box of the cake mix and butter cream? and also i dip them in chocolate.. do i use all ingredients?. and how would i do the net wt on the labeling if i sell them 4 or 6 at a time?

    If you sell a box of 4 of them, and you only want to use one label, then that label needs to have every single ingredient that’s contained in the box. Yes, you would copy the ingredients off of the cake mix box. That’s all that’s required, but it might be helpful to your customers if you separated out the ingredients for each item, or you could create separate ingredient labels for each one. If the weight of your items vary, then you can weigh them after they’re produced and then write the weight on the label.

I would like to know that if I stated selling items under the cottage food act if having a liabity insurance is something needed? It would be mostly cookie cakes and chocolate suckers etc? As long as ingredients are labeled someone couldn’t sue you for allergies, chocking , etc? Also if sold as a dozen of an item rather than individual but wrapped separate would one label on the box be sufficient?

What about raw cookie dough? It’s made with out eggs, so it’s meant to be eaten raw. Would that be an allowed food or would I need a Home Based license for it?

Are we able to sell cottage goods at craft shows? I always see breads and chocolate covered items there. I was wondering if it was considered an event?

    No — the only events allowed are government-organized festivals or celebrations. The people selling there may be making their products in a commercial kitchen, or they may be unaware of the laws.


I am from Ohio, and I have read so many different things about pets being in a home for a home bakery licence, I saw they are allowed and I saw they are not allowed. Would you be able to help clear the air on wether or not pets are allowed in the home but in different area of the house so lets say the basement?

    There are only 8 major allergens, and it’s usually pretty self-explanatory if one of them is in your product. Any derivative product is included for an allergen: for instance, milk would be listed as an allergen if butter is one of your ingredients. If you use a packaged product, any ingredients or allergens that are listed on that also need to go on your label.

The museum in this town has a small gift shop which I believe would be considered a retail store. They want to sell candy and non-refrigerated baked goods made under the cottage food laws by some of the members. However, I have been told by the health department that the museum would need a food service license from the health department. Is this correct or is the health department in error? Thanks.

    Generally health depts are correct and even if they are not in alignment with state laws, they can usually override those laws. In this case, it looks like they are correct and it looks like the info on this page could be clarified more. Thanks for pointing this out!

I see fruit Butters and Nuts on the list, would nut butters be covered? I’m thinking of getting a load of cashews in and making cashew butter if that’s allowed. If not I’ll just be tossing the cashews in seasonings and packaging them that way.

I am wondering if I can advertise my products as Organic if I use all organic ingredients? I know I can’t use the actual seal without being certified. Thanks!

    ‘Chemical free’, and ‘made with organic ingredients’ would be good. You can also say ‘non-GMO’. You just can’t specifically call the product itself ‘Organic’ without going through the red tape.

Hey, I just wanted to check if you still need to legally register a businessto distribute cottage foods. I noticed that labes require business names. Can that just be the name that you use, or does it have to be official? Any info is useful.

I am planning to start a home bakery to sell (non-refrigerated) decorated cakes. These cakes typically consist of several different elements: cake, (non-refrigerated) buttercream icing, fondant icing, and decorations created with some other medium, like gumpaste or modeling chocolate. My question is about the labeling of the finished product. Would I list the ingredients grouped by the different elements of the finished product, like this:

Ingredients: Cake – enriched flour (wheat flour, …), granulated sugar, eggs…; Buttercream Icing – butter (sweet cream, natural flavoring), granulated sugar…; Fondant – powdered sugar (sugar, corn starch)…

Or would I list them all together like this:

Ingredients: enriched flour (wheat flour, …), granulated sugar, eggs, butter (sweet cream, natural flavoring), powdered sugar (sugar, corn starch)…

And if it’s the second method, is it sufficient to list duplicate ingredients only once? For instance, if granulated sugar is used in both the cake and the icing, I should only list it once.

Thank you so much for your help!

    I’m not a labeling expert, but I think you could do it either way. The point is for customers to be aware of what’s in the product for their dietary needs. Personally, I’d separate out the decorations since those could be removed if the customer wanted. If you combined them all together, you should list duplicate ingredients once, but keep in mind that the ingredients should be ordered from highest quantity (by weight) to least.

I make several chocolate items. I often make up boxes of assorted candies or mugs with suckers. Do i need to label each item or can I put a label/sticker on the bottom or inside. My labels do have all the correct info. Also who and how do I do taxes?

Hello, I am new to this site, you state that I can sell non refrigerated items at farmers markets and other local events. What is the difference between cottage food kitchens and a home bakery. It states to get a Home Bakery License I can not have dogs. I have 2. Can I still make non refrigerated items for the farmers market.

    The difference with the home bakery license is that you can also sell certain refrigerated items, like cheesecakes and custards. With a home bakery license, you can also do everything that a regular CFO can do. You can have dogs with a HBL as long as they always stay outside.

    You shouldn’t need to incorporate, but your local planning division might at least require you to get a business license. I think you’d only need to get an EIN if you’re hiring employees, or incorporating. If you’re considering incorporating for protection reasons, many CFOs have found a DBA with insurance to be sufficient. Filing yearly taxes should be the same whether you’re a food business or any other home business. You’ll need to file standard self-employment taxes, and there are tons of online resources to help with that.

A question if you don’t mind. I have a pet, so a Home Bakery License is out. However, what if I would put a shed-like structure on my property and produce my product in there? The product I would like to sell doesn’t require an oven or refrigeration (well, only 2 of the supplies need refrigeration, not the finished product). Would that be allowed?

Also, am I reading correctly that I can’t vacuum seal my product? I haven’t made it that far into my planning yet, but vacuum sealing the box was something that has crossed my mind. Thank you for your help.

    You would not be able to use the cottage food laws with a separate kitchen like that. You could potentially build a commercial kitchen in a separate building, but that could be prohibitively expensive.

    However, please realize that this page is not an overview of the home bakery license, which you’d only need if you were producing baked goods that require refrigeration. I don’t think there is a pet policy on the cottage food law described above (but you should keep pets out of the kitchen while working).

    If you use the cottage food law, then it’s fine if some of your ingredients require refrigeration (as long as your final product doesn’t). You cannot use vacuum packaging.

Are we able to use boxed cake mixes as long as we list the ingredients off of the package? Also do I weigh the cake separately without icing or weigh the entire cake when I create my labels?

Hi, I am wanting to make cakes from my home. I live in an apartment, and from what I’m understanding I am able to do this under the Cottage Law, as long as the items don’t require refrigeration. The cakes themselves don’t REQUIRE refrigeration, but it does aid in the structure of the cake for purposes such as cutting/sculpting the cakes. Also, some of the fillings may need to be refrigerated. Would the Cottage Law still cover this? Also, if operating under the Cottage Law, how would I go about securing my business name and being able to advertise my business?

    Refrigerating your items is fine, as long as it’s not required for safety. You are not allowed to make and sell anything that requires refrigeration, like a cake with cream cheese frosting.

    There are different ways to create a business name. I’d recommend getting a DBA, which will secure the name for your county (at least). You can avoid getting a DBA by using your personal name in the business name, but this doesn’t provide any security. If you don’t want anyone else in the state using the name, I believe you have to apply for a trademark, or get your business license via LLC or corporation. Usually the latter is not necessary for a CFO.

In the Sample Label, there is an address. Are you required to put your home address on the labels or is PO Box information sufficient?

Regarding selling at Farmer’s Markets and Markets- does the food need to be fully packaged when sold?
I’m interested in selling some breads and muffins but would like to box them when they are purchased.
I’d like to add the label with the required information as a way to seal the box.

    I don’t see anything in the law that explicitly states this one way or the other, but in most states, all preparation needs to be done in the home. I am pretty sure that this would be the interpretation of Ohio’s ag dept too. Many states even require that samples be prepackaged in the home. One thing I’m almost certain the ag dept wouldn’t like is placing the label on the product after the sale. It’s important for the label to be on the product before the sale so the buyer can easily inspect it before making a decision. Those are my thoughts, but you should call the ag dept and see what they say.

    i dont actually see anything specifically saying in Ohio that you cannot have pets… but the federal laws say you cant have pets or kids…

    You’re right that there is no specification about pets, so you can legally sell with them in your home, but I would say that you should make sure they are not in the kitchen while you are preparing your items.

    The Federal Food Code is actually not a law… rather it is a document that is based on a lot of research, and states can choose to adopt it if they want. I’m sure Ohio’s laws are based on some version of it. However, cottage food laws can override certain sections of that law, and in this case, what the Federal Food Code says about pets would not apply to Ohio CFOs.

    When you say “savory”, do you mean filled with meat? Nothing with meat is allowed. Also, any pies that require refrigeration to be kept safe would not be allowed. It is possible that a fruit pie that’s been fried would be permitted, but you really should check with the ag dept to make sure.

I want to start selling my own blended seasonings and will be moving to Ohio due to your Cottage Food Laws. I purchase ground garlic and other like ingredients from a spice house, blend them to create my own seasoning blends. I’ll be renting a house and will have a separate space in the house to store dried herbs and seasonings. Since I won’t own the property, I will get permission from the owner I rent from to do so. Is what I just explained as a completed product to sell allowed in your state under Cottage Food Laws?

    Sounds good to me! You might still want to run it by the ag dept though… there could be more factors to consider than what you described.

Question about home bakery license…The rules state no carpet in the kitchen and no pets in the home. Does this mean no pet ownership period or no pets in the home when preparing product/food under home bakery license? Im coming from California where Cottage license rule was no pets indoors when preparing.

    It means that you can never have pets inside your home (you can have outdoor pets), and yes, it is different from what California requires.

    I have a service dog that MUST be with me 24/7 due to my brittle diabetes. A service animal is NOT a pet, but a working animal. They are exempt from this law.

    There may be an exemption for service dogs, but I’m not sure. The concern with pets in a kitchen is that some people have pet allergies… you wouldn’t want a dog hair accidentally landing in any products!

    I know the beans would be okay, but I’m not sure about the dried onion. I would think that if you bought the dried onion from a store, rather than drying it yourself, then they would allow it. Dried produce isn’t on their list of allowed foods, so you really need to call the ag dept (800-282-1955) to confirm that this is allowed.

I just want to clarify that I am reading this correctly. I am able to make cakes for people (for birthdays, etc) and sell them, without getting some type of license, as long as I label them correctly. I own a party rental business (we rent out popcorn, cotton candy and sno-kone machines) and would love to start offering cakes and cupcakes, but thought it would be more difficult than this.

    It used to be more difficult than this, but yes, that’s all correct and now it’s pretty easy! Everything needs to be prepared in your home kitchen though.

    Yes, that’s it. But you should call your local planning division to make sure that there aren’t any other requirements for your area. You also should know that you can’t sell any items that require refrigeration.

I see that herbs are on the list, is this only fresh herbs or does it allow dried herbs also? I have considered selling my herbs at a local farmers market but the wilt so quickly if not cool and was wondering if I could take both fresh and dried to sell. Thank you

I make cupcakes from home. Is my customer allowed to take them into a venue to be eaten? Exaple, let’s say a bowling alley- who is telling her she cannot bring them in unless I have a permit to sell them. What permit do I need?

    So just to clarify: you are selling someone cupcakes, presumably for a party, and they are carrying them into the bowling alley to eat them with others. Why is the bowling alley caring about what food people are bringing in? Do they have a no-food policy like a movie theater or something? Or am I misunderstanding you?

Hi David,
Are Boiled Peanuts (like you would see at the roadside stands all over GA and FL) considered a “cottage food” in Ohio?

What about if I want to purchase nut and trail mixes from an wholesale company and repackage it in my own decorative boxes is that allowed in ohio. thanks

    Yes, this would be allowed, but I’m not sure if you even need a cottage food operation to do this. It might simply be considered reselling. You should contact your health dept, and if they say you need a CFO to do this, then you can follow the steps on here.

Good day,
I am looking to produce a stuffed pickle & other veggies from home as well as @ festivals & swap meets.
I noticed that there are no veggies on the Cottage list. Could you please direct me to where I would need to go to get all the proper paperwork done to be legal?

    That’s correct — cooked vegetables are not allowed as a cottage food and may not be produced from home. You would need to make them in a commercial kitchen to sell them, and I’d recommend calling your health dept to find out how to get licensed.

Can you just put”ingredient label available upon request” or does it have to be listed on the product?
I make cakeballs and cookies…the cookie ingredients are easy enough, but listing the ingredients for cakeballs and the chocolate coating would require a 4 x 5 label.

    Yes, you really need to label each item, and yes, once you add all the sub-ingredients, the label might be huge. And you’ll want to make sure it’s readable (10-point type) in case a health official walks by.

    Coffee is allowed under the cottage food law, but I’m not sure what you mean by “dedicated building”. Generally speaking, cottage food laws are for products produced in the kitchen in the building where you reside. I’m not sure if this also includes other buildings on someone’s property in Ohio. It is usually easier to convert kitchens in separate buildings to commercial kitchens, which would allow you to be unrestricted in your business venture, though it may be expensive to convert it.

    Thanks for the reply.
    A 5 lb batch roaster is a pretty big piece of equipment and would not fit in most peoples kitchens. There are also some issues regarding noise, venting , electrical requirements to deal with. I would like to build a roast house ( 10 x 12 shed) to house the roaster and associated equipment. Packaging ; labeling and boxing would be done in our residence.
    Thanks again

    This sounds like a special case scenario that you’ll need to run by your health department. Usually cottage food operations are for small-scale businesses that do not require commercial machinery. In fact, many states prohibit commercial equipment in CFOs, but Ohio’s only limit is that the kitchen have one oven. It sounds like you will need to meet the standards of a regular food business, and since it seems like you are willing to invest some money into this, I think that it is doable from your home. If the roasting is happening in a licensed and inspected building (your shed), the department might allow you to do the packaging in the house, but I still don’t think they’d let you be classified as a cottage food operation (that’s a guess though). Sounds like a unique setup and I hope your business goes well.

I was not able to find any specific information on roasting coffee. I understand the oven limitation, but what if an individual is using a coffee roaster? Coffee is a permitted “cottage food,” but are you required to roast it in your oven or can you utilize a separate appliance?

David, I am considering opening up a home bakery. I would be concentrating on products that contain dairy, like cheesecakes and creampuffs. Based on the license it appears that special considerations of no carpet in the kitchen and no pets in the home is a requirement. Could you clarify oven and stove limitations? I have a “back – pantry” area that has a double oven (used for holiday gatherings – like that extra turkey!), but I also have my primary everyday kitchen with a standard stove. Is it possible to use both areas for baking, or would I have to limit my baking to one area or the other? Thanks in advance for your response! LT

    My guess is that because you are still making food from home, then the basic requirements would extend to you, meaning that you can either use the double oven or the single oven for your business. The purpose of limiting the ovens used is to make sure your home business doesn’t turn into something large-scale, at which point you should be using a commercial kitchen.

    I’m not exactly sure what back-pantry means, but if it is not connected to your kitchen, then you may not be able to use that oven, depending on how the ag dept interprets the law.

My daughter has a mobile kitchen, fully licensed. There is some confusion about whether she can sell her baked good through any venue other than literally through her walk-up window. Would the cottage foods law cover her packaging and selling through distribution?

    I do not know about mobile kitchen laws, but I do know that the cottage food law won’t cover her. The cottage food law is only for someone making all of their product out of their home kitchen.

I live in West Virginia; however, I’m also about 5 minutes from Ohio. West Virginia allows home bakeries, but you are restricted to selling the goods at Farmers’ Markets or Events. Therefore, do you know if I would be able to bake in my home at West Virginia under their cottage food laws, but sell in Ohio, such as at a retail location? Thank you!

    The only way you can ship to other states is by starting a regular food business, which means that you would need to use a commercial kitchen (not your home kitchen) to produce your products.

    It means that that is the minimum size of font you should use on your label. But really, it is only in the law to ensure that labels are readable. If you can read your label clearly, you don’t have to worry about it.

Does liquid kefir fall under cottage license sorry new at this. Plus do I have to have separate room from my home kitchen to produce?

    No, drinks are not allowed as cottage foods. If you are producing cottage foods, then you can use your home kitchen — you don’t need a separate one.

Regarding labeling, does each individual spice need to be listed in a label (cinnamon, cloves, etc.) or can they generally be listed as ‘spices’. I’m imagining it’s better to provide more information than less.

    If you consider them a trade secret, there is a way of requesting that you merge them together into “spices”. If you don’t consider them a trade secret, I’d say just list them out.

    I don’t believe you can. Usually pet food is not covered by cottage food laws, but I don’t know about Ohio specifically. If you call the ag dept, they may be able to tell you if pet treats are allowed.

I was under the impression that pure homemade maple syrup fell under the “cottage food” category as well, but I don’t see it on your list above. Are there different requirements for this?

    Syrup is not on the list of allowed foods in the cottage food law. There may be specific laws pertaining to maple syrup, but I couldn’t find them for Ohio. I really don’t know what kind of licenses you would need to produce it. I’d recommend you contact the Ag Dept to learn more.

    Honey, maple syrup and (I believe) sorghum are listed as “unclassified” in Ohio and do not fall under cottage food. You do not need special permits, either. Hope that helps.

Does Oh require a vending license for sales from a mobile truck? And do you know if the addition of hot beverage sales changes anything?

    You can sell from a mobile truck as long as you are preparing and packaging your products in your home kitchen. Hot beverages are not cottage foods, so you would need some sort of vendor’s license to sell those, and it would probably be easiest for you to sell prepackaged drinks that you buy from a store. You can call your health department to learn more about how to do this.

    Are you talking about food safety training? Training is not required to get started, but many cottage food operations choose to take an online class (usually about $15) to make sure they are being safe.

    Usually there are a ton of them and every food worker in every state has to take one. Just look up “food handlers card” and you should find a number of them. They all essentially cover the same material and are a good way to learn the basics of food safety.

Are dried pasta (egg)noodles allowed to sold via the cottage rules? We are thinking of expanding our current sweet-bread part of the business and was thinking of using the kitchen-aid pasta maker to create egg and non-egg noodles.

Thank You

    No, the transfer of the product must happen within the state of Ohio. Well technically, you would be able to sell to someone in another state, if they picked up the product in Ohio, but that would probably be rare.

Are your sure that the summation above is correct? In the opening statement “They allow operators to sell as much as they want, and the products may be sold anywhere as long as they are labeled properly”. According to the link that is provided under resources, 901:3-20-05 Prohibitions. states that you cannot sell cottage products OUTSIDE the state of Ohio. Can you please confirm. Thanks so very much

    Michele, sorry for the confusion. When it says “anywhere”, it means any type of place, like markets, restaurants, or online. It does not mean anywhere in the United States… I will change that to clear that up.

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