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Iowa Can you legally sell food from home in Iowa?

Cottage Food Law

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).

Selling Where can you sell homemade food products?

You can sell items indirectly through retail stores by becoming a Home Food Processing Establishment.

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Allowed Foods What food products can you sell from home?

Prohibited Foods

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.

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 was produced at a residential property that is exempt from state licensing and inspection"


Forrager Cookie Company


Email: cookies@forrager.com


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.

Resources Where can you find more information about this law?

Department
Inspections and Appeals
Contacts
Department
Department of Inspections and Appeals
Telephone
515-281-6538
Address
Lucas State Office Building, Third Floor
321 East 12th Street
Des Moines, Iowa 50319-0083
Law Dates
July 1988
SF 356
January 1999
HF 2166
August 2000
ARC 9996A
July 2001
SF 62
May 2002
HF 2620
January 2019
SF 2390
July 2022
HF 2431

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Starting a cottage food business?

TAKE THE FREE MINI COURSE

How To Start A Cottage Food Business

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