Texas passed an amendment (HB 970) to their cottage food law in September 2013, which greatly loosened the restrictions of Texas’ previous laws.
The biggest change with the new law is that cottage food operations can now 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, and the sales limit per year is still $50,000. Although no licenses are required, cottage food operations now need to take a food handler’s training class.
A new bill (HB 2600) was introduced in the 2015 legislative session, which would create a new type of home food business, termed a “home food processor”, and it would not affect the current cottage food law. It aims to let home food processors sell from any venue, ship within Texas, and make more food items (including perishable baked goods, like cheesecakes). In exchange for the improvements, the bill would require a permit and inspection from the health department, as well as add a number of processing and sanitary requirements that processors would need to follow. Although setup differently, the passage of this bill would result in a cottage food law that’s very similar to California’s tiered system for direct and indirect sales. If passed, this bill would become law on September 1st, 2015.
Sales cannot be made at privately sponsored public events (like craft fairs and flea markets).
Only roadside stands that are on farms 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. A simple and inexpensive option is the online course for $5. Please note that you do not need to buy the cottage food course on that website (though that course does contain a good amount of useful information) — the basic course is all that’s required. Also, you do not need to register your food card with your city.
Chocolate Chip Cookies
The label must contain any statement that the food is not inspected by the health department 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 ingredients.