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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.

Starting a cottage food business?


How To Start A Cottage Food Business

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?

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


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?

Inspections and Appeals
Department of Inspections and Appeals
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?


How To Start A Cottage Food Business

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Are wedding mints, commonly known as cream cheese mints, allowed to be sold at the Farmers Market? They do not require refrigeration. Under the cottage food law in Minnesota I know that they are. But I do not know if they are or are not in Iowa. Please let me know. Sincerely Debra Nightingale

Hi, can I make and sell Hot Pepper Jelly here in Iowa? I am interested in making it from my home, but the information stated that low acid/sugar jellies may not be permitted.
Thank you!

What are the requirements for selling home boiled maple syrup out of my home ?? Can I legally sell it without any license ?

Why are roadside market is not allowable under the cottage.? The farmers market’s will be finished but I will have wonderful produce well after the season to be sold and now I have no venue to sell it… Are there alternatives?

I want to sell federally inspected beef that I raise by the frozen package, out of my home how can I find out what the minimum requirements are for the facility to get inspected? Want to start with just freezer space basically, no processing of raw will be done.

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