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cottage food community

Texas

Texas passed an amendment (HB 970) to their cottage food law in September 2013, which greatly loosened the restrictions of their original cottage food law (SB 81).

The biggest change with the amendment is that cottage food operations can sell outside of their homes, such as at farmers markets or other events. Indirect sales to retail stores are still not allowed, but it is a huge step of progress. Texas also now has a good number of foods that are allowed to be made from home, but the sales limit per year is still $50,000. Although no licenses are required, cottage food operations need to take a food handler’s training course.

A new bill (HB 2600) was introduced in 2015, but it died in its legislative session. It would have created a new type of home food business, termed a “home food processor”, and it would not have affected the current cottage food law. It was a fairly ambitious bill, aiming to let home food processors sell from any venue, ship within Texas, and make more food items (like perishable baked goods). A version of this bill will probably be reintroduced in 2016.

Selling

“Events” only refers to municipal, county, or nonprofit events (including fairs and festivals). Sales cannot be made at other events, such as state fairs or privately sponsored public events (like craft fairs and flea markets).

Only roadside stands that are on farms (aka “farm stands”) are allowed.

Allowed Foods

Only traditional cucumber pickles are allowed. Some types of chocolate-covered items (like chocolate-covered graham crackers and rice krispie treats) are not allowed.

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

Sales are limited to $50,000 per year

Business

Food handler training program

Cottage food operators must take an accredited training program for food handlers. There are many options to choose from, including online courses that usually cost $10 – $15.

Sales and Use Tax Permit

With the exception of candy or candy-coated items, most cottage food products are exempt from sales tax if they are not sold hot or with utensils. To learn more, read this document, and for further clarification, contact the Comptroller.

Zoning laws cannot prohibit a cottage food operation. If your municipality says you cannot operate from your home, you should dispute it.

Labeling

Sample Label

Chocolate Chip Cookies

"This food is made in a home kitchen and is not inspected by the Department of State Health Services or a local health department."


Forrager Cookie Company

123 Chewy Way, Cookietown, TX 73531

Although a specific allergen list is not required, any major food allergens in your products must be listed in the ingredient list or somewhere else on the label.

Resources

Law Dates
September 2011
SB 81
July 2012
25 TAC 229.661
September 2013
HB 970
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Comments

David, I know that vinegars are allowed – but are flavor infused oils allowed? They don’t need to be refrigerated so I’m not sure because I have not seen them listed on any allowed (or disallowed) list so far.
Thanks for any info you can share!

    Vinegars and oils typically go hand-in-hand, so I was also surprised that they were not included on the list. I assume that they’re not allowed.

Hi David
Is possible to sell typical Indian fresh prepared meals like Curries, Rice, tortillas, Lentils, Samosas etc from home kitchens?

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