After many years of consistent effort, Connecticut finally created a usable cottage food law (PA 18-141 or SB 193) that went into effect on October 1st, 2018. Before then, only farmers could sell homemade food. Farmers can still use the Residential Farm law to sell certain types of canned goods.
This law allows the direct sale of many types of non-perishable foods. The DCP has a very good website and easy-to-read manual to guide cottage food operations. Unfortunately, sales are limited to $25,000 per year. Producers need to apply for a $50 license, get a home inspection, and take a $15 food safety training course. Products may be sold in-person or online, but cannot be shipped (local delivery is allowed).
Connecticut struggled for years to create a cottage food law. After an unsuccessful attempt in 2013, things seemed promising with the passage of HB 5027 in 2015, a cottage food bill that was supposed to go into effect on October 1st of that year. However, the bill required the health department to create additional rules before it could be used. It took over a year (Nov 2016) for the new rules to be finalized, but they got stuck in a back-and-forth approval process that never led to a resolution. Finally, in 2018, a slightly amended version of the rules were placed directly into a new bill, and once approved, the law went into effect quickly thereafter. For more info on how this long process played out, check out the Facebook page.
Only you or your designee can deliver your products within the state. You cannot ship your products or use a delivery service (like Postmates).
Whenever you are selling your products, you must have your license on display.
In addition to the above prohibited venues, you cannot sell at long-term care facilities, group homes, day care facilities, or schools.
If the food item you want to sell is not on the approved foods list, you can submit an application to request an addition to the list. Keep in mind that if your product requires refrigeration, it will not be accepted.
Frostings and fillings must be dairy and egg free. Therefore, no meringue, ganache, cream cheese frosting, custard, etc. You may use milk and/or eggs in your baked goods, if they are well-incorporated into the batter before baking.
Fruit pies are allowed, except for pumpkin pie.
If you are a farmer, you can sell acidified foods by using the Residential Farm law.
You can only sell products that you listed when applying for your license.
You cannot also operate a food service establishment, a retail establishment (that sells food), or a food manufacturing establishment.
Before starting your business, you must apply for a license, which you need to renew annually (licenses expire on February 28 each year).
The license fee is $50 (the law specifies that it cannot exceed $100).
You must specify each of your products and its production method, and you can only make the products that are approved. If the product you want to sell is not on the list, you can submit an application to request an addition to it.
Before you get your license, your home will be inspected to make sure that it is compliant with this law.
The commissioner also has the right to inspect your kitchen at any time.
You should check with the department that manages zoning in your area, and make sure you are compliant with all municipal and zoning laws.
If you have a private well, you will need to submit a recent water test. You should do this before submitting your license application, and you can get the test completed from an approved drinking water lab.
You should also get your water tested annually.
More info about well testing can be found on page 12 of the manual.
If you have a private sewage/septic system, you may be asked to have it inspected.
More info about septic concerns can be found on page 13 of the manual.
Depending on your municipality, you may be required to get a business license or DBA (Doing Business As).
Chocolate Chip Cookies
"Made in a Cottage Food Operation that is not Subject to Routine Government Food Safety Inspection." (10-point type)
Forrager Cookie Company
123 Chewy Way, Cookietown, CT 73531
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)
Contains: milk, eggs, wheat, soy
NET WT 2 lb 4 oz (1.02 kg)
You must use your physical home address on the label, not a PO box.
For large items that are not easily packaged (like a wedding cake), you must include the label when you deliver the invoice.
You may only prepare, store, handle, and package food in your home kitchen.
You cannot use a kitchen in a group or communal residential setting, or in an outbuilding, shed, barn, or similar structure. Your kitchen must be in your home.
There are more workplace requirements listed in Sec. 19 of the law.