Iowa has two different laws for home cooks, which combine to form possibly the best cottage food laws in the nation. Iowa has been allowing sales of homemade food for longer than any other state (since at least the 1980s).
The cottage food law (described on this page) allows producers to sell almost all types of nonperishable foods directly to consumers, including online sales and shipping products.
There is no sales limit, license, or inspection needed, and the law prohibits local governments from adding these things and/or prohibiting homemade food sales.
Iowa also has a law for home food processing establishments, which allows producers to sell almost any type of food (including perishable foods) at any venue (including indirect sales through retail stores).
You can sell items indirectly through retail stores by becoming a Home Food Processing Establishment.
You can sell almost any kind of non-perishable food.
If you want to sell acidified foods (pickles, salsas, etc), you must test each batch with a pH meter or water activity meter, and you must include the production date on your product labels.
You can sell perishable food items by getting licensed as a Home Food Processing Establishment.
Chocolate Chip Cookies
"This product was produced at a residential property that is exempt from state licensing and inspection"
Forrager Cookie Company
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
You need to put your email address, phone number, OR home address on your labels. You only need to include one of those three contact methods.
If you want to sell acidified foods (pickles, salsas, etc), you must include the production date on your labels.
- Department of Inspections and Appeals
- Lucas State Office Building, Third Floor
321 East 12th Street
Des Moines, Iowa 50319-0083