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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

Prohibited 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

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Comments

Hello, I wanted to prepare my own tea blends from home. Basically, I would be purchasing already dried and prepared tea leaves and all other ingredients (none that need to be refrigerated) and then simply putting them together in new packaging in my home kitchen and then selling them online.

Do I need to get a license and inspection for this? Thank you very much!

    Yes, I believe you would need to get the food processor license and get your kitchen inspected, in addition to the other requirements of this law.

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.

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