The “Colorado Cottage Foods Act” began in 2012 and was amended in 2013, 2015, and 2016 (read about the history of the act). 2016’s amendment (SB 16-058) added all non-PHF foods to the approved list (including pickled items) and enabled internet sales within the state.
The current law restricts producers to direct sales only, but no license from the health department is needed. However, producers must take a training course before they can start selling.
One thing that differentiates Colorado from other states is that rather than limiting overall sales per year, they limit the sales of each product ($10,000 per product/flavor). This allows producers to sell an unlimited amount of food, as long as they keep creating different products.
A sign must be displayed at the point of sale with this statement: “This product was produced in a home kitchen that is not subject to state licensure or inspection. This product is not intended for resale.”
Interstate sales are not allowed. Your products may be sold online and shipped/delivered within Colorado.
Although your products cannot be resold, you can assign a “designated representative” to sell on your behalf.
Although your products cannot be sold through stores or restaurants, you can ask the health department about selling directly at those locations, which they may allow on a case-by-case basis.
Here is more information about selling.
Pickled fruits and vegetables must have a finished pH level of 4.6 or below. Whole, fresh peppers cannot be used to make pepper jellies/jams/preserves, but dried spices can be used instead. The health department offers free pH testing as well as information about best practices for producing these items.
Freeze-dried produce is allowed.
Whole eggs may only be sold under certain conditions, including a 250 dozen per-month limit.
You must take a food handler training course, which can be taken online for $10 – $15 at statefoodsafety.com.
If you would prefer to take a course in-person, the CSU Extension’s Food Safety Works program offers classes around the state which usually cost between $5 and $30. For more information, contact your county extension office or local health department.
CSU is also developing a comprehensive online course for those interested in learning about starting a cottage food operation. It satisfies this training requirement, but the course takes 3 weeks and costs $170.
You should contact your local city and county offices to determine if you need a business license.
You are not required to collect state sales tax, but you may be required to collect local sales taxes. To see if this could apply to you, check out this page and click on “View Sales Rates and Taxes”, then click on “View Local Sales Tax Rates”. Even if your county does require sales tax, you may still be able to get an exemption because you’re selling food that won’t be consumed on your premises (you need to check with your city and/or county about that).
Here is more information about starting a cottage food business.
Though not required, the health department recommends getting private water systems (like wells) tested once a year.
Chocolate Chip Cookies
"This product was produced in a home kitchen that is not subject to state licensure or inspection and that may also process common food allergens such as tree nuts, peanuts, eggs, soy, wheat, milk, fish, and crustacean shellfish. This product is not intended for resale."
Forrager Cookie Company
123 Chewy Way, Cookietown, CO 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 6/1/2020
In addition to the labeling requirements, a sign must be displayed at the point of sale with this statement: “This product was produced in a home kitchen that is not subject to state licensure or inspection. This product is not intended for resale.”
Alternatively, an email address can be substituted for a phone number on the label.
If a baked good or confection contains alcohol, it is recommended to include “This product contains alcohol” on the label.
Beyond your home kitchen, you can also make your products at other private, public, or commercial kitchens.