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.
“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.
Only traditional cucumber pickles are allowed. Some types of chocolate-covered items (like chocolate-covered graham crackers and rice krispie treats) are not allowed.
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.
Zoning laws cannot prohibit a cottage food operation. If your municipality says you cannot operate from your home, you should dispute it.
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.