Since this page was last updated, Delaware has changed their cottage food law. Please see the cottage food regulations to learn more.
For over a decade, Delaware’s cottage food law was only available to farmers. In September 2016, the health department created and enacted some new rules that allow many more people to start a “cottage food establishment” (CFE) from their home kitchen.
Although the cottage food law is much more expansive than it used to be, it is still restricted in many ways. For one, the setup process and initial requirements are quite complex and lengthy, but fortunately, registration with the health department only costs $30. Sales are limited to $25,000, and only direct (in-person) sales are allowed. The list of allowed foods is fairly extensive, but some types of food may need to be lab tested.
If you are a farmer (or grow the main ingredient in your products), it may be more advantageous to get an on-farm home processing license. With that license, you can sell up to $40,000 of goods per year (as opposed to $25,000), and the setup process is easier overall. However, the on-farm license requires a home inspection and an 8-hour food safety training course, and it does not allow pets to ever be in the home.
You need to have your registration on display at your sales venues.
The only foods that the law specifically allows are baked goods, candy, jams, jellies, and other fruit preserves. However, other non-PHFs (AKA non-TCS) may be allowed, and you should contact the health department to determine if a certain product can be produced. Some types of food products must be tested in a lab before they can be approved.
When you register, you will need to fill out an application. The registration fee will be $30 and the registration must be renewed annually.
The registration needs to be displayed at sales venues.
When you first register, you will need to submit a plan review, which includes:
- Personal and business information
- List of foods and ingredients used/produced
- List of sales venues
- Proof of training
- Product tests (if needed)
- Sample label
- Water source and sewage system info
- Kitchen facility and CFE checklist
- Kitchen floor plan
- Recall plan (see below)
If you remodel, add to, or change your home kitchen, you will need to submit a new plan review, which is free.
The health department will conduct a kitchen inspection before you start your business.
You must take an approved food safety training course.
You need to maintain records for production and sales, and the records must be kept for at least three years.
You need to write a contingency plan for how you will recall products in the event of a public health hazard.
If you have a private water supply, you need to get it tested to ensure its safety. Tests must occur within 60 days of the date on your registration application.
If you have a private sewage system, you need to get it tested to ensure its safety. You can get a test by contacting the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control. Tests must occur within 60 days of the date on your registration application.
Chocolate Chip Cookies
"This food is made in a Cottage Food Establishment and is NOT subject to routine Government Food Safety Inspections" (10-point type)
Forrager Cookie Company
123 Chewy Way, Cookietown, DE 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 9/27/2023
NET WT 2 lb 4 oz (1.02 kg)
If some of you ingredients need to be stored in the refrigerator (like eggs), you must keep a thermometer in the fridge.
There are many workplace requirements listed in the regulations.
- Division of Public Health, DHSS
- 417 Federal Street
Dover, DE 19901