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Iowa Home Food Establishment

Cottage Food Law

Unlike most states, Iowa allows home bakers to sell perishable baked goods, like cheesecakes, cream pies, and cakes with cream fillings. “Home Food Establishments” can sell their baked goods at any venue, but they are limited to $20,000 of sales per year. An annual license and inspection are required.

In addition to this law, Iowa has a cottage food law that allows home cooks to sell almost any kind of non-perishable food without special licensing, but products can only be sold from home or at farmers markets.

A new bill (HF 344 & SF 265) has been introduced in 2015 to amend the home food establishment law. The bill changes some wording without changing much meaning in the bill (like rewording “home food establishment” to “home bakery”). The only significant change is that it would the annual license fee to $50.


To sell at a farmers market, you must get a Farmers Market Potentially Hazardous Food License, which costs $100.

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How To Start A Cottage Food Business

Allowed Foods

Prohibited Foods

Although this law only allows potentially hazardous baked goods (cannot contain meat), other baked goods can be sold using this law, which would allow you to sell non-potentially hazardous baked goods at all venues. To produce other non-PHFs, you can use Iowa’s cottage food law, which only allows sales from home and at farmers markets.


Sales are limited to $20,000 per year

Pets are never allowed in your kitchen or in any room where food for your business is stored.

Sales must be recorded, and the record must be made available if the Department of Inspections and Appeals requests it.


Home Food Establishment License

A Home Food Establishment License from the Department of Inspections and Appeals is required, and it costs $33.75 each year.


A home food establishment must get their kitchen inspected before starting their business. Inspections should happen at least once per year.

Private well testing

If you do not use a public water system, your private well must be tested annually. You must maintain a record of your water tests.

Sales Tax

Some products require the collection of sales tax, while others are exempt. Check out Iowa’s list of taxable and exempt products to learn more.

Farmers Market Potentially Hazardous Food License

If you want to sell at a farmers market, you must get a Farmers Market Potentially Hazardous Food License in each county where you will sell, which costs $100.


Sample Label

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Forrager Cookie Company

123 Chewy Way, Cookietown, IA 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)

NET WT 2 lb 4 oz (1.02 kg)


There are many workplace requirements in the law.


Department of Inspections and Appeals
Law Dates
July 1988
SF 356
June 1991
SF 412
January 1999
HF 2166
October 1999
HF 782
August 2000
ARC 9996A
July 2007
SF 601
January 2014
ARC 1190C

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Starting a cottage food business?


How To Start A Cottage Food Business


    Wondering if u can sell Real Homeade Butter n Flavored Butter from Home Kitchen n Farmers Markets here in Iowa??