However, in 2021, Arkansas replaced their cottage food law with the Food Freedom Act (SB 248), and it is now one of the best laws in the country!
Under the food freedom law, producers can sell their homemade food almost anywhere, including sales through grocery and retail stores. Even interstate sales are allowed.
Producers can sell almost any type of nonperishable food, though producers who sell acidified foods (e.g. pickles) must follow additional requirements.
There is no sales limit, and a producer does not need to get a permit from the health department. The food freedom law specifically prevents state and local governments from restricting home food producers.
You cannot sell your products in food service establishments (restaurants, cafes, etc).
Your products must be sold to an informed end consumer. For instance, a grocery or retail store could sell your products to their customers, who are end consumers and can see your product labels. But you could not sell your products to a business that intends to use them to create a gift for their clients. The goal is that the person who consumes your products is informed that they are homemade.
See this guide for an extensive list of allowed and prohibited foods.
If you want to sell pickles or other acidified foods, you must ensure that the final pH level of the product is 4.6 or below by doing one of the following:
- Use a recipe from an approved source
- Get your product tested in a lab
- Test each batch with a calibrated pH meter
In addition, you must label your acidified foods with a unique batch number, and maintain records that include:
- The batch number
- The recipe that you used
- The recipe source or testing results, if needed
- The date you produced the batch
Chocolate Chip Cookies
"This product was produced in a private residence that is exempt from state licensing and inspection. This product may contain allergens."
Forrager Cookie Company
123 Chewy Way, Cookietown, AR 73531
Phone: (123) 456-7890
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)
Produced on 1/28/2023
In addition to the above, you must label acidified foods with a unique batch number.
If you do not want to put your name, address, and phone number on your labels, you can get an ID number from the ag department to use instead.
If you sell your products online, you must put this labeling information on your website.
If you sell products from a bulk container (not individually pre-packaged and labeled), you must put this labeling information on:
- The bulk container
- A placard at the point of sale, and
- A separate document provided to the customer
The former cottage food law was somewhat limited. It only allowed nonperishable foods in five categories (baked goods, candy, jams/jellies, fruit butters, and chocolate-covered fruit), and only allowed direct sales from home, online, and at farmers markets, fairs, and events. Indirect sales (retail stores & wholesale) were not allowed. However, there was no sales limit nor permitting process from the health department.