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Indiana Can you legally sell food from home in Indiana?

Cottage Food Law

LAW UPDATE

In 2021, Indiana passed a new bill (SB 185) that may improve their cottage food law in 2022.

This bill creates a working group which is tasked with determining recommendations for cottage food businesses. Most likely, the group’s findings will be used to try to pass a bill in 2022 to improve the law.

To learn more, and to help, please see this Facebook group.

Indiana’s laws are very restrictive in they only allow sales at farmers markets and roadside stands.

Aside from that, however, the laws are quite lenient.  Home based vendors can sell any types of nonperishable foods, and there is no limit for how much they can sell. Also, there is no registration, fees, or process to get setup.

Selling Where can you sell homemade food products?

You may take pre-orders (over the internet, for instance), but customers must pick up their products from your farmers market booth or roadside stand.

Starting a cottage food business?

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How To Start A Cottage Food Business

Allowed Foods What food products can you sell from home?

You can only sell fermented produce, if it is not stored in an oxygen-sealed container.

If you can to sell honey, see this document.

You can sell whole chickens or rabbits that you raised, if you meet certain requirements.

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 How will your home food business be restricted?

Limitations
There is no sales limit

Labeling How do you label cottage food products?

Sample Label

Chocolate Chip Cookies

"This product is home produced and processed and the production area has not been inspected by the State Department of Health." (10-point type)


Forrager Cookie Company

123 Chewy Way, Cookietown, IN 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)


Produced on 1/28/2022


NET WT 2 lb 4 oz (1.02 kg)


In addition to net weight, the label must also include the volume of the product.

If a labeling a product isn’t practical (e.g. the product isn’t packaged), you may place a placard with the same information up at the point of sale.

Resources Where can you find more information about this law?

Department
Health
Contacts

Lisa Harrison

Job Title
Training Specialist
Organization
Food Protection Program
Department
Indiana State Department of Health
Email
lharriso@isdh.in.gov
Telephone
317-234-8569
Address
100 N. Senate Ave. Room N855
Indianapolis, IN 46204
Law Dates
July 2009
HB 1309
July 2021
SB 185

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Starting a cottage food business?

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Indiana Forum Got questions? Join the discussion

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This forum contains 20 topics and 29 replies, and was last updated by  David Crabill 11 months, 3 weeks ago.

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Comments

I am a baking hobbyist not a professional, but some of my friends have asked if I will sell my goods. I won’t sell outright, but I am thinking about offering for them to come and make whatever they want WITH me as a sort of private lesson/session, and with the understanding that they are responsible for purchasing the ingredients or for at least covering their cost. Assuming the first couple went well, I would charge a small lesson fee. Since I’m not mass producing anything and I’m not actually selling the food, just my assistance and the use of my equipment, do you think the cottage food laws apply? I’m not sure, but I wouldn’t want to find out by getting into legal trouble.

    I’m really ignorant about this and I’m afraid I can’t really direct you to where you should look to learn more. But I can tell you that the cottage food laws would not apply to you. And it is quite possible that there would not be a legal way for you to do what you are trying to do. Probably similar kinds of lessons are held in a commercial food facility, which makes them legal.

    But if you are only doing this with friends, I don’t think you need to worry too much. The legal issues in this industry usually stem from customers, not the government. The health dept probably isn’t going to come to your home to stop you unless they hear a complaint.

    It’s because the law only allows sales to take place at a farmers market or roadside stand. If food is getting handed from the seller to the consumer at any other venue, then it does not fall under this law. I don’t know why they decided to make the law so limited… that’s just the way it is right now.

David, you seem really to know this subject. I have a few questions I was hoping you could answer. First, just double checking, but cajeta and regular caramel chews are legal in Indiana along with other candies, aren’t they? Second, this next question will likely make you think. Is it legal to sell candy and fudge made with raw goat’s milk? I’ve heard it both ways at this point. Some claim the temperatures involved in cooking make it safe; others say no. I really can’t find a clear law that addresses that directly (or at least one that does and that I can understand). Abiding by our HBV laws seem to be much more complicated than I ever expected, so any advice you can provide would be appreciated. I haven’t sold any food or candy items and don’t plan to until spring, that is if it is legal.

    Thanks — I did the research for this website so that’s why I understand the industry pretty well.
    1) Those candies should be fine.
    2) True, I haven’t heard that question before. But I think I can definitely say that this would not be allowed. Your products cannot be potentially hazardous and anything made with raw goat milk would be a PHF. You seem like someone that likes to check their sources, so check out IC 16-18-2-287.8(b)(1) (page 68).

Are the fines and penalties for any violations listed anywhere? I have looked at various health department websites and cannot find anything. Before I get into this, I want to make I won’t lose my house or anything if I make a mistake.

    I highly doubt you’ll find that info online. Sometimes laws give a maximum fine amount, but not Indiana’s. But regardless of whether you are legal or not, you still could lose your house if you made a big enough mistake and someone sued you, and that’s why many operations get insurance. But, you won’t be able to get insurance without a business license, and you won’t be able to get a license without approval from the health department. So it is definitely a risk you’re taking, which you need to calculate. You should also know that it is very common for people to run these kinds of businesses illegally, but that doesn’t make it any more secure.

I have made cakes and cupcakes for family and friends for free. And they have been a huge hit. I have been asked to make cakes for party’s for people and would love to do so out of my home but sometimes this would require me to deliver and set up a cake. What would I need to do to be able deliver cakes.

    Unfortunately, the kind of business you are describing requires a commercial kitchen. It is possible to add a commercial kitchen to your home, but it is prohibitively expensive. If you don’t want to build one or rent one, you would have to run your business illegally.

Regarding label making, does date produced need to be printed or can I hand write that in, since the production days will vary.? Also, how do I obtain net wt?

Okay so I was asked by a local restaurant, after bring some cupcakes in to a bday party of a friends and them trying them, if I would be willing to make cupcakes for sporting events there for them because they enjoyed them so much. Personally I am in college, have no want for a cupcake business, but suggested me charging them purely for the cost of the cupcakes themselves (not time, profit, or anything of that nature). Does this mean that I need to be licensed? The cupcakes would be in a box and I could easily do the labeling on the large box if needed as well. Please help.

    Yes, you need to be licensed and the cupcakes need to be made in a commercial kitchen. Normally I’d say that you can get away with selling them to family and friends illegally, but in this case you are potentially putting both yourself and the restaurant in jeopardy by selling them the cupcakes (even non-profit). It is especially bad because you don’t know who will be eating the cupcakes. Since you are in college and probably don’t want to setup a business, my advice to you would be to respectfully decline their offer. But the fact that they are impressed with your cupcakes is a good sign! Under this cottage food law, it wouldn’t be very difficult for you to start selling from farmers markets and potentially make a bit of money on the side.

if i am making a sauce and make to much can i sell it to some friends and people i know just outright? not doing it for a full thing, just made to much, not a buisness.
am i allowed to bring it to them?
do i still have to have a full on lable in it if it is just over made amount from my house, not a buisness?
and as renae asked, is a roadside stand just a set-up in front of your house?

    The technical answer is that you would need to have a label and follow all of the requirements listed on this page and in the law. However, it sounds like what you’re doing is pretty small — it sounds like if you are only selling to family and friends, you probably don’t need to worry about the law. It just depends on if you feel like you need to do everything by the letter of the law.

    I looked more into this, and I came across the definition of a roadside stand: “A place, building, or structure along, or near, a road, street, lane, avenue, boulevard, or highway where a home-based vendor sells their food product(s) to the public.”
    The law also says that “A roadside stand… should not be operated in violation of other… laws and ordinances, such as those related to… zoning/planning…”. It also says a roadside stand “…should be located where the land owner has given permission for the home-based vendor to operate at the site.”
    To me that means that you can sell in front of your house, IF you call your planning division and make sure that it is okay for the zone that you live in. If you live in a neighborhood, it will probably not be allowed.

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