Skip to main content
Logo for Forrager
cottage food community

Oregon

Oregon’s laws for domestic kitchens are not the easiest when it comes to getting licensed, but they give producers a lot of freedom once they are setup. However, there are some strict requirements, like never allowing pets in the producer’s home.

Oddly, there are two different licenses: one license is for bakeries, and the other is for producers who want to make other items. Either way, an annual kitchen inspection is required, and both annual licenses are over $150 each.

After getting a license, there are few restrictions. Producers can sell anywhere, with no sales limit, and almost all types of food are allowed, if they don’t contain meat or dairy.

Some types of food are completely exempt from agriculture department licensing, like candy and honey (see Product section).

Oregon’s Farm Direct Bill allows farmers and growers to bypass many of these licensing requirements.

Selling

Allowed Foods

If you want to produce certain acidified foods, your products must be tested by a process authority, and you must be trained by a Better Process Control School (see Business section).

Almost any kind of food is allowed, including products that require refrigeration. There are three main types of food that cannot be produced at home:

  • Low-acid canned goods
  • Processed dairy products (ice cream, cheese, etc.)
  • Products with meat

Some products are exempt from ag department licensing:

  • Candy, candied apples, and other non-PHF confections
  • Coffee, tea, and other non-PHF drinks (does not include fresh fruit juice)
  • Honey
    • All direct sales to a consumer are exempt
    • Indirect sales (wholesale) are exempt if the producer owns no more than 20 hives, but the producer must apply for the exemption
  • Pet food that does not contain meat

Limitations

Limitations
There is no sales limit

Business

Kitchen inspection

Before getting a license, a representative from the Oregon Department of Agriculture must inspect your kitchen. Here is a list of requirements they look for before approving it. Once approved, your inspector will give you an application for a license.

Your kitchen should get inspected each year.

Domestic Kitchen License

There are actually two different types of licenses — one for a bakery and the other for a food processor. If you only make baked goods, you need to apply with license type 11, with an annual fee starting at $152. If you make other items, like jams and jellies, you need license type 16, which has a flat rate annual fee of $189. If you make both baked goods and other items, you only need license type 16.

The application is not online — you will receive one after you have completed your approval inspection.

Licenses expire on June 30, and they must be renewed each year. The fees are not prorated if you start later in the year, so July is the most ideal time to start your business.

Business License

You must obtain a business license before you get inspected.

Better Process Control School Training

If you want to make certain acidified foods, you must attend a course at a Better Process Control School. Contact the Food Science Department at Oregon State University at 541-737-3131.

Acidified Foods Testing

If you want to make certain acidified foods, you must get them tested by a process authority.

Private well testing

If you have a private well, it must be tested before you get inspected.

Private sewer testing

If you do not use a public sewage system, you must have your septic system checked before you get inspected.

Labeling

Sample Label

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Forrager Cookie Company

123 Chewy Way, Cookietown, OR 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 product is perishable, the label must also include an expiration date.

If a nutritional claim about the product is made, a nutrition facts panel is required.

Oregon Labeling Information

Workplace

The supplies for the operation must be kept separate from those used for personal use, and medical supplies may not be stored in the domestic kitchen.

Non-employees are not allowed in the kitchen during preparation.

Resources

Contacts
Department
Department of Agriculture
Email
fsd-manager@oda.state.or.us
Telephone
530-986-4720
Address
635 Capitol St. NE
Salem, OR 97301
This page was last updated on

Comments

I’m thinking of packaging and selling Mustard. I’ll probably rent commercial Kitchen time to prepare and package. I’m confused about how to package/can it. How do I figure out the best method for shelf life/safety/legality? Will the Food Safety Program be the place to start?

    If you contact the health or ag dept, they should be able to guide you to some courses that teach you best canning methods. You could also contact OSU’s food science dept.

I’m wondering what the rules are for taking existing items, dividing them up, and selling them as a delivery service from home. For example, let say I want to sell and deliver fruit baskets , so I buy various local fruits, honey, jams, etc, I divide them up, put them in smaller packages, mix and match, and sell the baskets. This might include disassembling packaged food by other producers. Any info you could provide would be great.

    It usually isn’t too difficult to resell things, as long as they stay packaged. You may need a sellers permit or something similar.

    If you open commercially-packaged foods, then at that point you are processing, and you would need to operate under the same guidelines of any processor for that type of food. So if you opened a package of honey roasted nuts, and moved them into a different bag, you would have to get the same license as if you roasted them yourself.

    It sounds like you have a somewhat unique case, and you’d probably be best to contact the ag dept.

HI i am working on an OMMP medicated honey. do you think this is something that i need to do in a certified kitchen?

Hi, I was thinking of starting my own baking business from home. The “pet” I have is a service dog. Would I not be Able to get a license?

    I don’t know for sure, but that is probably an exception. I’d recommend you contact the ag dept for confirmation on that.

I am trying to sell some kind of desert(ingredients:flour, cheese, sugar,oil ) . will I get licensed? taking into consideration I have children in my rented apartment.

    I don’t think you can do this from home, since your product contains cheese. You can call your ag dept to confirm, but you will probably need to use a commercial kitchen to produce your dessert. Either way, you will need to get some kind of license before starting your business.

I was wondering about beverages? I am not seeing anything about craft soft drinks. I envision making and bottling in a commercial kitchen (rent by the day) to get started, but what about licenses, and labeling?

BTW, thanks sooo much for doing this….

    Because Oregon allows almost any kind of food product, you should be able to start this business from your home kitchen. However, you will need to follow the steps above, including licensing and labeling.

    If you want to use a commercial kitchen, you should contact the ag or health dept about the process to become a commercial food business, which falls under completely different rules.

Our Lodge would like to have a tea to raise scholarship money, what are we required to do to be legal. We would be serving tea , dessert and sandwiches.

    Many of the legal requirements can probably be bypassed if it’s just a fundraiser (in fact you probably don’t need any approval), but you can call the health dept for clarification. The sandwiches and refrigerated desserts should be purchased ready-made.

I just moved here and am a cake decorator & want to start my own business from home then eventually commercial when it’s affordable! Since I have a labradoodle which is a non-shedding hypo-allergenic dog it sounds like there are no exceptions. Can I rent a whole separate home outside the home I live in for just my business if the landlord approves?

    I haven’t heard of any exceptions yet. Usually a law like this requires you to use your primary kitchen only, but Oregon also allows other licensed facilities to be used. Therefore it’s possible that the ag dept would be okay with you using another kitchen, so long as it’s inspected. I really don’t know, so you’ll need to talk to them for a final answer.

Hi – Great site, thanks for doing this! I would like to sell my home pressure-canned pinto and black beans. They aren’t meat or dairy, but I don’t see them on the allowed list. Are they allowed? If you can’t tell me, who should I ask? Thank you!

This is really helpful! Maybe you can help me understand this exemption I found on the ODA website:
Under “Retail food license exemptions” it includes “Selling the following, in individual-sized portions for immediate consumption only (not wholesale): Candy, candied apples, and non-potentially hazardous (not requiring temperature control for the safety of the food product) confections.”
Does this mean that I could sell individually-packaged candy without a license?
http://www.oregon.gov/ODA/programs/FoodSafety/FSLicensing/Pages/WithoutLicense.aspx

    It’s not worded well, but I think it’s referring to what you can do without a “retail food license”. It’s not suggesting that no license whatsoever is required. If you look at the resources they’ve listed below, you’ll see they’ve linked to the domestic kitchen laws, which are the same ones overviewed on this page. But I can see how that link would be very misleading.

    I believe that you can use the Farm Direct Bill for honey that you sell directly to the final consumer. If you want to sell indirectly to restaurants and stores, you should contact the ag dept to see what the requirements are, and if it’s even possible from a small operation like yours.

If I am a beginning baker and just wanted to offer to make free cakes for people, they just need to purchase materials to make cake, would that be illegal?

    As far as I know, that would not be legal. If you were not asking customers to pay anything, then it wouldn’t really fall under the jurisdiction of the ag dept anymore, and that gets into a really gray area (probably possible). Even though you are only asking your customers to cover the cost of materials, this would still technically be a sale and would require proper licensing. You should call your ag dept to see if they will make an exception.

I am told by many that I make a mean salsa. I am seriously considering making it to sell. I would like to do it in my home kitchen but could probably find a restaurant kitchen who would allow me to do it there. Is this allowed? I have no idea how I would know what the expiration date on something like that would be. How do I find that out?

    It’s quite possible that you will be approved to make this from home, but you may need to get your product tested in a lab to verify that it’s safe without refrigeration. You’ll need to contact the ag dept to learn how to get your specific product approved.

    Labs can also help out with expiration dates, but realize that this date is usually related to the freshness of a product, not its spoilage. I’m not really familiar with the process of determining an expiration date… it may be something you can do yourself.

If you’re trying to earn money for an event and you want to sell baked goods and lemonade as a one time thing, will you need a license?

    Where are you trying to sell them? Talk to your health dept about getting a temporary event permit. You wouldn’t be able to sell lemonade, and I think you would still need a license to sell baked goods for a short time period. A good alternative for you may be to buy a commercial product and then resell it.

I’d like to bake cheesecakes and sell them to restaurants made to order. I’m going to need to rent a kitchen, either restaurant or commercial. What liscense do I need? I saw your posts about non-refrigerated items only. Is there any other type of license that would allow me to proceed? What are my options?

Hello I am trying to start a cake cupcake buisness. I was planning on using a rented kitchen. But I am confused on how to go about it? And no t sure about how u label them I F I use box cskes

    If you are renting a commercial kitchen, then you need a commercial license through the health dept. You wouldn’t be using the law above.

I see dried pasta on the Allowed Foods list, what about fresh pasta; is it allowed under the Cottage Food Law? If not, what direction should I pursue?

I recently made a cheese danish, that my husband brought into work. A coworker of his said that it was so great, that he was wondering if he could pay me to make 6 of them, for a family get together he’s having next weekend. I have no plans (not at this point anyways), of doing it again, so I wasn’t sure if I would end up breaking the law or not, if I accepted his offer. Mind you, this is just a one-time thing.

    By what do you mean that the “Water level activity is too high?” I would think salt water and herbs is about as safe as anything. Please explain if you can. John.

    Water activity is a technical term that can be measured in a lab. Generally speaking, items with a water activity level above 0.85 are consider potentially hazardous foods. But technicalities aside, the only liquid items that are allowed are certain ones that are highly acidic (vinegars) or highly sweet (syrups). But really, a syrup is mostly sugar and actually doesn’t have a high water activity level, although it is a liquid.

I want to sell baked goods, prepared in a commercial kitchen, where I will rent space. I want to be able to sell in OR and WA. Questions:
1) do I need to ensure the commercial kitchen has been inspected?
2) what sort of license do I apply for, to cover baked goods that cross state lines?
Thanks!

    You should contact your health dept about these questions. I don’t believe a kitchen would be considered commercial if it wasn’t inspected.

Are non profit organizations allowed to have a fundraiser with a pastry auction if members donate the pastry and what types of pastry are not allowed other than cream pies, pumpkin, pecan and lemon meringue? Is this all due to refrigeration?

I currently sell baked goods to friends and family. I have an online site where they can log in and place an order. Can I get in trouble for this? If I wanted to take this to the general public, I would need a permit? I also wanted to clarify that any pets I have would have to be removed from the house permanently to obtain a license- even if they’ve been part of the family for over a decade?

Can cottage kitchen be run from rented home/apartment? Or does the operator need to own the premises. Thanks for the help.

    What you are currently doing is actually illegal, and yes you can get in trouble for it. You do need a license to be legal and you do need to have your pets stay outside all the time (it’s an allergy concern). You can run the business from a rental if you have the landlord’s permission. If you want your pets to stay inside, then the only way for you to legally run your business would be to make your products in a commercial kitchen. http://forrager.com/faq/#commercial

I sell cakes, cupcakes and frostings. I have a recipe for shelf stable frostings and cakes but how do I determine the shelf life/expiration date? Where does the expiration date go i didn’t see it on the nutrition label? Thank you for your help!

    You’re not required to put an expiration date on the label, and for the sake of simplicity, I’d say to leave it off. But if you really want to add it, then you can just use your best judgment from experimentation to determine when you feel like the consumer should toss it. With cottage foods, it should be self-apparent when the product goes bad — for instance, bread will get moldy. If your product is truly shelf-stable, it shouldn’t grow dangerous bacteria over time.

    You should be able to. I’m not sure if shipping is allowed, but even if it was, you probably would not be able to ship out-of-state.

So which license would be required for buying Wilton’s chocolates and melting them into chocolate molds and selling them?

    This is a incorrect statement. A WSDA processors license is reciprocal in Oregon. Once a product is prepared and packaged in a WSDA food processing facility, once it crosses state lines it can be sold to anyone, public, private, wholesale, retail. ANYWHERE just so long as it remains in its original state from when it left the licensed facility. Some non potentially hazardous items are exempt from any special licensing at all and can be sold to the public, regardless.

    Added comment. If you were to apply for a Cottage food license, then, yes, you are not allowed to sell product across state lines. A Dept. Of AG license is the best way to go as it offers many more benefits vs. Cottage food license. It just depends on your individual needs.

    Thanks for amending that Carol. This site is only focused on cottage food info, and there are very few instances where cottage food products may be sold interstate.

The OR farm direct law (or cottage food law) is only direct to end user, NOT restaurants and retail stores. “Farm Direct rules do not change licensing requirements for selling through stores, restaurants and institutions. Licensing is still required for wholesale activities. “

    Here is our page for Farm Direct (it’s an inconspicuous link at the top — sorry).

    This page is for the rules about domestic kitchens, and I can’t find any information about venues, so I think I assumed that all were allowed, especially since it appears that domestic kitchens are considered to be food facilities. Do you have any info that shows that sales at retail stores and restaurants by domestic kitchens are not allowed?

If I am preparing medibles in my home kitchen for dispensaries or OMMP patients do I need to be licensed? These items are not for sale, they are reimbursement only.

    I am not completely sure in Oregon, but usually medically-related products are excluded from cottage food laws and require special licensing. You should definitely check with the health department about this, as I’m pretty sure the cottage food law will not apply to you — but there may be some other exemption for preparing these items at home.

Hi I want to do middle eastern sweets like Backlava, middle eastern cookies etc.. Would I need a license to start from my home kitchen?

    These items should be allowed and yes, you do need a license… see the Business section above to determine which one — probably license type 11.

Would I need to be licensed if I was offering homemade baked goods in return for donations for the Humane Society or other charities not actually “selling” the goods?

    The cottage food law would not apply to you in this case. There is actually a special exemption for these kinds of fundraisers, and you wouldn’t need a license to do this. You only need to put out a sign notifying people that these are homemade goods, and the items should be individually wrapped in your kitchen beforehand (i.e. you shouldn’t be handling the food onsite).

    Low-acid canned foods are not allowed, and I believe that sauerkraut would fall under this category, so it’s not allowed. But you can call the ag dept to make sure.

    Lori, sorry for the confusion. Those would definitely not be allowed under any cottage food law. The term “treats” (which I know I should change) is meant to refer to baked goods like Rice Krispies treats. Cottage foods cannot require any temperature control, either hot or cold.

or comment as a guest
* required (your email will not be displayed on the site)
Allowed tags