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District of Columbia

Cottage Food Law

Washington D.C. passed the “Cottage Food Amendment Act of 2013” (B20-0168) at the end of 2013. The law allows cottage food operations to make a wide variety of food, but unfortunately they are only allowed to sell at farmers markets and other public events. Furthermore, CFOs are limited to $25,000 per year of sales.

Selling

Products may only be sold at public events.

Starting a cottage food business?

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Top 10 Mistakes To Avoid When Starting A Cottage Food Business

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Allowed Foods

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 $25,000 per year

Business

Registration

Before selling any products, a cottage food operation must register with the “Cottage Food Business Registry”. The application to register is not yet online, so you should call the health department for both the registration and the inspection (Food Safety Dept: 202-535-2180).

Home inspection

CFOs also need to get a Home Occupation Permit for a one-time fee of $72.60.

Labeling

Sample Label

Chocolate Chip Cookies

"Made by a cottage food business that is not subject to the District of Columbia's food safety regulations." (10-point type)



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)


The cottage food business identification number must also be on the label.

If a nutritional claim is made (such as “low fat”), a nutrition facts panel must be added to the label.

Resources

Contacts

Department of Health

Department
Food Safety
Email
foodsafety@dc.gov
Telephone
202-535-2180
Fax
202-535-1359
Address
899 North Capitol Street NE
Washington, DC 20002
Law Dates
November 2013
Cottage Food Act of 2013

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Starting a cottage food business?

DOWNLOAD THIS FREE GUIDE

Top 10 Mistakes To Avoid When Starting A Cottage Food Business

(Some of them just might surprise you!)

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