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Louisiana

Cottage Food Law

Louisiana’s cottage food law (Act 542) was started in 2013 and amended in 2014. The amendment (HB 1270) greatly increased the number of foods allowed, and it also increased the amount of regulations CFOs must follow. There is a sales limit of $20,000 per year.

Unlike every other law, Louisiana imposes specific restrictions on preparers of breads, cakes, cookies, and pies. Those odd restrictions indicate that other items would be relatively unrestricted in how they are produced and sold.

Selling

Breads, cakes, cookies, or pies may not be sold indirectly, which suggests that the other allowed food items can be sold indirectly at stores and restaurants.

Starting a cottage food business?

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Allowed Foods

Unlike most other states, custard or cream-filled bakery products are allowed, but only if pasteurized milk products are used.

Limitations

Limitations
Sales are limited to $20,000 per year

Preparers of breads, cakes, cookies, or pies must follow these special rules:

  • They cannot employ anyone to help them in the production of those items
  • Pets must be excluded at all times from preparation areas
  • If there are ingredients that require refrigeration, the refrigerator must stay at 45 degrees or below

Business

Sales Tax Certificate

A CFO needs to apply for a Louisiana General Sales Tax Certificate from the Department of Revenue, plus a local sales tax certificate (from any region it will sell in), before selling products.

Labeling

Sample Label

The label must have a statement that "clearly indicates that the food was not produced in a licensed or regulated facility."


Resources

Law Dates
August 2013
SB 18
August 2014
HB 1270

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Starting a cottage food business?

DOWNLOAD THIS FREE GUIDE

Top 10 Mistakes To Avoid When Starting A Cottage Food Business

(Some of them just might surprise you!)

Comments

    This sounds like a chocolate nut butter shaped into a cookie. The law authors probably did not intend for this item to be allowed, since there are a lot of references to baking, but the law is actually unclear in this regard, since it does not specify that the item needs to be baked. I guess a good question to ask would be if your cookies need to be refrigerated, or could they sit in a cookie jar for a week? If they need refrigeration, then they would probably not fall under the spirit of the bill.

    I would think so, but I don’t know labeling laws well enough to give a firm answer. I’d recommend you call the Health Department and ask to speak to their labeling specialist.

Hi,
I would need more detail on this new law that just passed. What paper do I need to fill out at the city hall? Can I sell out of my house? Can I sell through internet?
Thank you so much for your help.

    Flore, you don’t need to fill out anything — you can just start selling! This law only applies to food you make at home and sell directly to the consumer — the buyer of your food can’t resell it. So yes, internet sales are allowed. You should call your planning division and make sure there aren’t any zoning requirements for where you live.

David, can you clarify what type of food stands we are allowed to sell our product.? I tried to research Louisiana food stand laws and regulations and really didn’t find much. Thanks

Is chocolate dipping allowed bc I do tons of chocolate covered items. People have been anxiously awaiting for it to be legal for me to sell them. I don’t see why not bc melted chocolate is always used on cakes and cookies. Thank you!

    No, that wouldn’t be allowed because candy or chocolate is not an allowed item. If you sold chocolate-covered cookies or cakes, then that could probably be a gray area, since the law isn’t too specific about what kinds of cakes and cookies are allowed. But aside from cakes and cookies, it doesn’t sound like this law would apply to your items (I know it doesn’t make sense). You would need to be making your products from a commercial kitchen to sell them legally. Or you could work on amending the law next year to include chocolate-covered goods.

    Bart, I haven’t checked into Louisiana specifically, but you probably wouldn’t have to collect sales tax, because your goods are being consumed off of the premises where they were produced. At least this is the case in other states. We might hear more info about this when the law goes into effect.

    Where did you get your information about the sales tax? Is there any state statutes to back that up? The ACT doesn’t have anything about sales tax.

    David, thanks for your information. I do see that the state tax is exempt provided that the sellers do not provide facilities for on-premises consumption of their foods. This doesn’t apply to local parish/city sales tax though. You should definitely check with your local office to make sure.

    Good point — that exemption is only for state tax. You should definitely check, but it seems pretty common for goods consumed off-premises to be exempt. Do you usually get charged sales tax when you buy goods in a grocery store?

    I’m in Louisiana, Webster Parish. You pay local sales tax on any food products in the store. Only state sales tax is exempt. So, if you sell cakes & cookies out of your home, you are required to collect local sales tax and pay it to the local tax office.

    I am in Louisiana and sell cake pops. I got a business license, zoning certificate, and a local sales tax certificate. I pay sales tax monthly. There were some venues (art & culture) that allowed me to not charge sales tax but that is no longer the case.

Hi, I am THAT woman you speak of. I do not have a cake and cookie business. I bake for friends and family since October, 2012 when a local home baker had me shut down by the BOH. I have never sold a cookie before. The reasoning behind the “LIMITED” amount of goods to be sold was determined by the Senator and the attorney that met with Health and Hospitals. That was not determined by myself at all. We have a hearing this wednesday, April 17th with the Health and Welfare Committee. Decisions will be made at that time on what adjustments, deletions, additions, etc will be made to the bill. Happy to answer any questions pertaining to SB18. Thanks a bunch! Roxane

    Thanks Roxane! Sorry for the misinformation and thanks for correcting me… I’ll be sure to change that! I do hope for you and for others in LA that the bill can be amended to include more items. “Baked goods” seems to be a common standard in almost all states. You’re doing a great job of updating your Facebook page, and that’s so helpful!