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cottage food community

South Carolina

South Carolina’s cottage food laws are very basic and are intended to get someone started before opening a full-scale commercial operation. They only allow operators to make baked goods and candy, which is more restrictive than most other states. However, the main limitation is that they only allow $15,000 of sales per year. Sales must be made directly to the consumer, so while selling to retail stores or restaurants is prohibited, most other venues are permitted.

Although there is no license for cottage food operations, all home-based food businesses in South Carolina must get a business license for tax purposes. In addition, they must apply for a simple exemption from registration and inspection, and certain product may require lab analysis. All in all, the process to get setup with these laws is quite minimal.

Selling

Allowed Foods

Only “candy and baked goods that are not potentially hazardous foods” are allowed. Moist breads like zucchini, pumpkin, and banana bread may not be allowed. Candy-coated nuts, dried fruits, and popcorn are all considered “candy”. Here’s some more detailed info about allowed foods.

Lab testing may be required on certain types of food products (see Business section).

To sell custom-order baked goods, like wedding cakes, you must contact the DHEC at 803-896-0640.

You can sell under 400 gallons of honey directly to the consumer by applying for an exemption.

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
Sales are limited to $15,000 per year

Business

Application For Cottage Exemption

Each operation must apply for an exemption from registration and inspection, which does not cost anything.

State business license

While there is no license specific to the cottage food laws, each operation must be licensed as a business by the state for tax purposes, which costs $50. The code for this license is 445291. Operators must file taxes every month (even if they make no sales).

Product Analysis

Lab testing may be required on certain types of food products, like moist quick breads. More information about product analysis can be found at the bottom of the first page of the application.

Labeling

Sample Label

Chocolate Chip Cookies

"NOT FOR RESALE – PROCESSED AND PREPARED BY A HOME-BASED FOOD PRODUCTION OPERATION THAT IS NOT SUBJECT TO SOUTH CAROLINA'S FOOD SAFETY REGULATIONS"


Forrager Cookie Company

123 Chewy Way, Cookietown, SC 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)


More labeling info can be found in the Cottage Foods Labeling Guidance document.

Workplace

Ingredients for the business must be kept separate from those for personal use.

Resources

Contacts

Angie Culler-Matthews

Job Title
Program Coordinator
Organization
SCDA Food & Feed Safety
Email
[email protected]
Telephone
803-734-7321

Alicia Attaway

Job Title
Administrative Assistant
Organization
SCDA Consumer Services
Email
[email protected]
Telephone
803-737-9700
Address
123 Ballard Court
West Columbia, SC 29172

Kimberly Baker

Job Title
Food Safety Associate
Organization
Clemson University Cooperative Extension
Email
[email protected]
Telephone
864-986-6014
About
Handles product approval and testing

Adair Hoover

Job Title
Food Safety Agent
Organization
Clemson University Cooperative Extension
Email
[email protected]
Telephone
864-656-9986
About
Handles product approval and testing
Law Dates
June 2012
H4689
This page was last updated on

Comments

Can marshmallows be produced by a SC Cottage Food Operation?
On 8.9.2015 it was listed here as prohibited. Now I don’t see it on
the prohibited list. When I contacted locally I was told plain was
allowed but any toppings would be prohibited.
Do you know where I might get the full copy of the cottage food law as it pertains to South Carolina?

    I removed it from the prohibited list because I realized that it could be considered a non-PHF candy. I’m still not sure if they are allowed, and any marshmallows containing eggs would probably not be allowed, but you should ask the ag dept or a food safety associate. The cottage food law is the first link in the resources section, but it doesn’t specify exactly what foods are allowed.

Hi David with home bakery dThanks Crystal all our products must have a labeling tag?
I was told about an exemption labeling somewhere we are not require to have labels. Can you clarify this for me. I really appreciate it.

T

    All of your products need labels. Sometimes, when it isn’t reasonable to box and label the product (like a wedding cake), you can provide the label separately.

I make a sweet potato pound cake. Would I be able to sell it from my house? I understand the restriction for the pie. But what about sweet potato used in a cake?

re: whole naval orange boiled and pureed and used as an ingredient in a flourless cake.
I combine a whole boiled pureed orange with sugar, eggs, and almond flour then bake
for 1 hour to make a cake. Is using a whole boiled orange pureed an allowed ingredient
under SC Cottage Food Laws?
Where can I obtain a complete list of allowed and prohibited foods in print?
Why are homemade marshmallows prohibited? or is it just marshmallows in general that are prohibited whether homemade or store bought?

    My guess is that using an orange in that way would be fine, as long as your cake is thoroughly baked and doesn’t require refrigeration. There is no “complete list”, and such a list would be impossible to create since any non-PHF baked good or candy is allowed. Borderline products are considered on a case-by-case basis by the ag dept, so you need to call them about certain items.

    I’ve never thought of homemade marshmallows as a “candy”, but now that I think about it more, I suppose they are and they could be allowed. You might not be able to use raw egg whites in them though.

    I’m still trying to understand what is or is not allowed. With marshmallows containing gelatin I can totally understand why they should be on the prohibited list now. In researching I also see one may produce marshmallows using egg whites or not. In either case they are stored in a cool dry place for up to 3days. Then add to that some of the toppings such as candied bacon etc… What are your thoughts?

    Deborah, you can read my reply to your other message (I’m really not sure about marshmallows), but I do want to mention that bacon (or any kind of meat) would definitely not be allowed in any form.

This says pets are restricted; cannot be in the food prep/kitchen area while making the products. Does this mean you are allowed to have pets in the home and still be under the Cottage Food Law?

    Yes, they can be in your home as long as they are not in the area while you’re doing food prep. In addition, they cannot have access to the food storage areas for your business.

    I have not heard of any age requirements imposed by the state. It’s possible that the market would impose a minimum age requirement for vendors.

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