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Oregon’s laws for domestic kitchens are not the easiest when it comes to getting licensed, but they are relatively flexible once a processor is set up.  However, there are some requirements that are much more restrictive than other states, like never allowing pets in the processor’s home, even when food preparation is not occurring.  An annual inspection is required to ensure that the domestic kitchen is following all the rules.

Oddly, they have two different licenses depending on what type of food the domestic kitchen produces.  One is for baked goods only, while the other is for non-baked goods like jams and jellies.  Both annual licenses are over $150 each.

Fortunately, once a processor has their license, they can sell anywhere and sell as much as they want, even though the law is intended to be for small-scale production.  They allow almost any non-perishable food.

Oregon has a Farm Direct Bill that is made for those that grow the primary ingredient in what they sell, and it allows them to bypass licensing requirements.


Allowed Foods

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



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

The application is not online, but it is available by contacting the Oregon Department of Agriculture (click on the “contact us” link on this page).

Home inspection

Before getting a license, a representative from the Oregon Department of Agriculture must inspect the domestic kitchen.  Here is a list of requirements they look for before approving it.  This inspection must happen annually.

Private well testing

If the domestic kitchen uses a private well, it must be tested before getting approved in the inspection.


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)

Contains: milk, eggs, wheat, soy

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


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.

Preparing food in a commercial kitchen, or another licensed facility, is also acceptable.


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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?

    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?

    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.

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.

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