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Georgia

Georgia’s cottage food laws are pretty good, though it takes some effort for cottage food operators to get setup initially.  Operators must have a business license, take a training course, send in an application, and get their home inspected before they can get their cottage food license.  However, once setup, they are not limited to a certain amount of sales per year, and the list of foods they can sell is fairly comprehensive.

Georgia has more workplace and labeling requirements than most state’s cottage food laws, which are described in detail in the bill.  Indirect sales of goods are not allowed.

Selling

Operators must conspicuously display their cottage food operator license at the point of sale.

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

There is no sales limit

Business

Business license

First, an operator must apply for a business license from their county’s permits department, which costs $50.

Private well analysis

If the cottage food operator’s water comes from a private water source, the water must be analyzed and approved before a license will be given, which costs $100.

Private sewer inspection

If the operator uses a private sewage system, they must get their septic tank checked ($125) and then pumped ($300-$500).

ANSI-accredited food safety course

Next, the operator must get trained in an ANSI-accredited food safety course, like the ServSafe Manager Online Course, which costs about $125.

Cottage food license

Each operator must then apply for a cottage food license by filling out a form on the cottage food website for Georgia. The fee for the cottage food license is $100 (or $50 after June 30th of the year). On the application, the operator must list the products they intend to sell. If they want to create new products after they have a license, that will require a new application and incur another fee.

Home inspection

Before getting a license, the Department of Agriculture or Environmental Health Department will setup an appointment for the cottage food operator to get their kitchen inspected, and there is no additional fee for that.  There are a number of items that the inspector must check in the inspection, which are listed in the cottage food bill.

All in all, the total startup costs for an operator could be as low as $275 or as high as $1000.

Here is some great info about collecting sales tax.

Labeling

Sample Label

Chocolate Chip Cookies

"MADE IN A COTTAGE FOOD OPERATION THAT IS NOT SUBJECT TO STATE FOOD SAFETY INSPECTIONS" (10-point type, in Times New Roman or Arial font)


Forrager Cookie Company

123 Chewy Way, Cookietown, GA 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)


If a nutritional claim is made on the label, then the federal requirements for nutrition info must be followed.

There are some specialized requirements for items that are not individually wrapped or packaged, which may be found in the cottage food bill.

The scale used to weigh cottage foods must be checked for accuracy by the Department of Agriculture once every year.

Workplace

All ingredients for the cottage food operation must be placed in a permitted area, which is separated from ingredients for personal use.

Resources

Law Dates
September 2012
Cottage Food Regulations
This page was last updated on

Comments

I am a member of a non-profit related to homesteading. We sell elderberry syrup kits which contain dried elderberries, a cinnamon stick, and cloves with directions on how to make the syrup. These are packaged in an 8 oz canning jar. The non-profit no longer allows us to sell these at a farmer’s market or at our meetings but does allow us to sell these privately and then donate to the non-profit. If I sell these out of my home using an online site like NextDoor what liabilities should I be aware of as an individual?

I am inquiring about BBQ sauces. I see under condiments, vinegar based items are allowed. Does this mean if I make a BBQ sauce with a vinegar base, I can label it under as such? Otherwise, would this mean I need a commercial kitchen to produce this product or is this completely off limits?

I want to sell cotton candy at private events and farmer’s markets all of which would be prepared on site. There would be no use of a home kitchen. What kind of license would I need and would there be any inspection of the cart from which I produce it?

Are chocolate covered strawberries against the rule. I see several people selling these items in a cottage law setting. May you please advice on if this is allowed? Thanks so much!

I live in an apartment and my landlord does not permit cottage food. But my friend is willing to let me use her kitchen and storage space. Can I get a license for her kitchen?

Thanks.

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