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, certain products may require lab analysis. All in all, the process to get setup with these laws is quite minimal.
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 caramel corn are all considered “candy”. Here’s some more detailed info about allowed foods.
Lab testing may be required on certain types of food products, like fruit pies (see Business section).
You can sell under 400 gallons of honey directly to the consumer by applying for an exemption.
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).
If you are only selling your products from your home, you don’t need this exemption.
However, if you are selling outside of your home, such as at a farmers market, roadside stand, flea market, or other event, you will need to apply for an exemption from inspection and labeling.
Lab testing may be required on certain types of food products, like fruit pies and moist quick breads. More information about product analysis can be found at the bottom of the first page of the exemption application.
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.
Ingredients for the business must be kept separate from those for personal use.
- Department of Health and Environmental Control
Food Protection Division
- June 2012