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cottage food community

Texas

Texas passed an amendment (HB 970) to their cottage food law in September 2013, which greatly loosens 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.

Selling

Sales cannot be made at privately sponsored public events (like craft fairs and flea markets).

Only roadside stands that are on farms 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

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. 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.

Labeling

Sample Label

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.

Resources

Law Dates
September 2011
SB 81
July 2012
25 TAC 229.661
September 2013
HB 970
This page was last updated on

Comments

    I’m almost sure that these wouldn’t be allowed. If your product is canned and doesn’t require refrigeration, there may be a slight possibility that the health dept would allow it, but I still think they’d say no.

so I am clear do i have to list the ingredients or just the not inspected by health dept. and does it all have to be on one label. or can the ingredients and not inspected by on a separate label we have several labels already on so I don’t know if I have to relabel or if I can just add an additional

    You don’t need to put the ingredients on your labels, but you can if you want to. You do need to put the statement on your label… usually states allow ingredient info to be on a secondary label, but you might have to put the statement on the primary label. Call your health dept for clarification about that.

Does dehydrated, shelf stable chicken qualify? I’ve come up with a way to process it so it doesn’t need refrigeration and can be left out without spoiling. Thanks!

If online sales are not allowed in Texas how are all the sellers on etsy.com getting by? Are they just listing and taking their chances? Maybe I’m missing something here. TIA.

Hi David – Do you know what the deal is in TX with baked goods & alcohol? I’d be using it in cake frostings. Can’t find literature on this – let me know – thanks!

I am looking at making shagbark hickory syrup in my kitchen. I see that other states, such as Rhode Island and Indiana, (and I’m sure others), allow syrup as a cottage food. Why aren’t syrups permissable in Texas? They are shelf stable due to the high sugar content (like jams and jellies).

Just curious. Thanks!

    Oftentimes they’re listed separately, but I really don’t know what Texas’ take on them is. I assume that they’re not allowed, but you should call the health dept to confirm that.

I am considering starting a cottage food buisness but I do not have a food handlers card at this time. From what I have read you had to have one before January 2014. Do you just have to have one before you start the buisness?

    I’m not familiar with Traders Village, but you can only sell at events that are sponsored by the city, county, or a non-profit. This includes farmers markets, county fairs, etc., but would not include a craft fair.

I have been looking through several websites and still have been unable to find out if infused simple syrups are allowed. There are not mentioned in lists of either permissible or prohibited products. I mean, it’s just dissolving sugar into boiling water, and they do not need to be refrigerated, so it seems like they would be allowed, but I do not want to make that assumption and break the law.

    Because syrups are not in the list of allowed foods in the law, they are not allowed, even though they may be non-perishable.

    German pancakes can have a lot of egg in them and some could even be considered a custard. If your pancakes would classify as a “potentially hazardous” baked good (meaning they require refrigeration after a few hours), then they would not be allowed. Otherwise, it still might be borderline and you should contact the health dept to make sure you can make them.

What will I have to do to give my customers the opportunity to order appetizers (empanadas and arepas) and also smoothies online in Texas? This business will be ran (operated) at home?

Thanks much!

    Wait – that’s not necessarily true. As long as there is a face to face / personal interaction during the transaction then you should be ok. The way I interpret the law is that if you sell your appetizer online and then deliver it yourself or they come pick it up you should be ok – possibly the additional effort of collecting the money at delivery would be required – but you could still do it with paypal or swipe a credit card then with the right tools.

    Jason — the main issue with Bridget’s business is that none of her products are allowed under this law.

    However, the law states that a CFO “may not sell… through the internet”, and the interpretation the health dept has taken is that all transactions must happen in-person.

Are you required to follow all the laws of the Texas cottage food law if I’m operating. the business from my home but have established an actually business using a DBA and an EIN?

Either you are wrong, or texascottagefoodlaw.com is wrong. Which is it? You say it is impermissible to sell at farmers markets; they say it is permissible. You say the health department cannot inspect even if a consumer complains; they say “If DSHS or your local health department has reason to believe your operation poses an immediate and serious threat to human life or health, they may take action, including getting a warrant to enter your home, and shutting down your operation.” So, which is it? Thanks!

    The law is going to change in two days. That is when this page will change to reflect the amendment. Hope that clarifies things!

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