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Ohio

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 and 2016, the allowed foods list is now fairly comprehensive.

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

Selling

The only “retail stores” that can sell your products are grocery stores and restaurants. Restaurants can 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.

Interstate sales are not allowed, but shipping within the state is allowed.

Allowed Foods

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

Doughnuts must be baked and unfilled.

Although you cannot dry your own fruits and vegetables, you can incorporate commercially-dried produce into items like soup mixes and granola.

Honey can be flavored, and at least 75% of the honey must come from your own hives.

The only syrups allowed are maple and sorghum syrup. Syrups cannot be sold in stores or restaurants, and at least 75% of the syrup must come from your own trees. You can also produce and sell maple sugar.

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

Your kitchen may only have one oven or double oven.

Business

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

Labeling

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)

Resources

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Comments

Hi! I’m starting a cake business on the side and I was wondering if I was allowed to have a website and/or facebook page to advertise my business. I know I cannot sell outside of Ohio and the baked goods would be either picked up at my home or I would deliver them directly. Thank you

For the prohibited food items such as mayo or sauces, if I produced it in a commercial kitchen could I still sell it out of my home? Thanks

If one were to obtain a Home Bakery license, would the provisions of the license extend to being able to produce potentially hazardous candies (dairy-based chocolate truffles / pralines) while still remaining under the Cottage Food Law? Also, are there any food handling certifications necessary to accompany the license?

Thank you so much!

So, definitely selling tacos out of my home would be illegal? But, I could sell tortillas and salsa? And similar to other comments, what can happen if you get “caught”? Thanks!

    You can sell tortillas, but salsas are on the prohibited list, so no to the salsa. Abide by the law and you won’t have to worry about what happens if you get caught. What if someone gets sick from eating your illegal salsa and sues you?

    You need to use a commercial kitchen to produce tacos. If you were to get caught, you might be given a warning or get fined. The penalties increase for repeat offenses.

Looking to start event planning business. If food is part of the event I plan, can I provide the food myself if made in my kitchen?

    I believe that would be considered catering and wouldn’t be allowed, but you should check with the ag dept. You would need to produce the food in a commercial kitchen with the appropriate license.

I was wondering, if someone is selling homemade smoothies (which judging by this is against the law) at a business. What would be the ramifications to the business who allowed this vendor to sell their product?

    Penalties are highly variable depending on the area it is in, and what the local officials decide. Sometimes all of the responsibility would fall to the vendor, and sometimes the business (especially a food establishment) would be penalized as well. And sometimes, the health dept won’t bother to stop the illegal activity. It just depends on where you are.

Would it be correct that smoking cheeses would not fall under the Cottage Food regulations? What Ohio agency would govern smoking cheeses?
Thank you!

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