Skip to main content

New Jersey Can you legally sell food from home in New Jersey?

Cottage Food Law

New Jersey was the last state to adopt a cottage food law. After many unsuccessful attempts to pass a cottage food law, including many bills and a lawsuit, the health department finally created rules to allow cottage food businesses, which went into effect in October 2021.

New Jersey has a good cottage food law. It explicitly allows many types of nonperishable foods, and producers can request approval to sell even more types of nonperishable foods.

Producers can only sell their products directly to the end consumer, so they can’t sell through stores or wholesale. Shipping is not allowed, and producers can only sell up to $50,000 of products per year.

Producers needs to apply for a permit and take a food safety manager’s training course, which costs about $200 total. The permit must be renewed every two years.

New Jersey’s journey to a cottage food law was long and complicated. See the resources section of this page to learn the whole story.

Selling Where can you sell homemade food products?

When you are selling outside of your home (at farmers markets, events, farm stands, etc.), you must display your cottage food permit along with a sign which states “This food is prepared pursuant to N.J.A.C. 8:24-11 in a home kitchen that has not been inspected by the Department of Health”.

Starting a cottage food business?

TAKE THE FREE MINI COURSE

How To Start A Cottage Food Business

Allowed Foods What food products can you sell from home?

Prohibited Foods

In the “syrups” category above, only sweet sorghum syrup is explicitly allowed.

In addition to the above allowed foods, you may be able to sell other nonperishable foods, but you need to first get approval from the health department.

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?

Sales are limited to $50,000 per year

Business What do you need to do to sell food from home?

Food Safety Manager Training

Before you can apply for a permit, you must take a food safety manager training course, such as Learn2Serve’s Food Safety Manager Training, which can be completed online for $99.

Cottage Food Operator Permit

You must apply for a cottage food operator permit, which costs $100 and must be renewed every two years.

The application requires you to list each product that you will produce, along with the major allergens that they contain.

Private Water Source Testing

If your home uses a private water source, like a private well, you must get it tested before you can apply for your license.

Labeling How do you label cottage food products?

Sample Label

Chocolate Chip Cookies

"This food is prepared pursuant to N.J.A.C. 8:24-11 in a home kitchen that has not been inspected by the Department of Health"


John Baker

Forrager Cookie Company

Permit #: 12345

Issued in Cotton County


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


When you are selling outside of your home (at farmers markets, events, farm stands, etc.), you must display your cottage food permit along with a sign which states “This food is prepared pursuant to N.J.A.C. 8:24-11 in a home kitchen that has not been inspected by the Department of Health”.

Workplace Are there any home kitchen requirements?

You can find workplace requirements in the cottage food permit application.

Resources Where can you find more information about this law?

Department
Department of Health
Contacts

Public Health and Food Protection Program

Organization
Consumer, Environmental and Occupational Health Service
Department
NJ Department of Health
Email
phfpp@doh.nj.gov
Telephone
(609) 826-4935
Address
PO Box 369
Trenton, NJ 08625-0369
Law Dates
October 2021
53 N.J.R. 1711(a)

Many cottage food bills were introduced in New Jersey over the course of about 10 years, which were all shut down by Sen. Vitale. A few of them were A 2354, S 671, & A 4580.

New Jersey first started trying to pass a cottage food bill in 2009. The same bill (A1244 / S136) moved from one session to the next from 2009 to 2015, and it passed the assembly in later years.

There are many factors that could prevent a bill from passing, but in NJ there was only one: Senator Vitale, the Chairman for the Senate Health Committee. He single-handedly prevented bills (that otherwise had unanimous support) from being put up for a vote in the senate. Why? Because he did not personally agree with the bills, and he did not want bakeries to face increased competition.

Despite this, 2016 was a breakout year for cottage foods in New Jersey. Vitale’s solo mission to stop cottage foods in his state stirred up considerable controversy and media attention. A new cottage food bill (A3618 / S3292) was written, which was more specific and restrictive than the former ones. It would have allowed the sale of home-baked goods from home or at events, with a $50,000 annual sales limit. Because of the extreme circumstances, the group behind this bill got the former Red Tape Review Commission involved to help resolve the issue with Vitale. However, like the bill before it, this one passed the assembly unanimously, only to be stopped again by Vitale. The bill appeared again in 2018 as A2354 / S671.

After so many failed attempts, supporters (in particular, the New Jersey Home Bakers Association & the Institute for Justice) shifted gears and tried following in the footsteps of Minnesota and Wisconsin, by starting a petition and filing a lawsuit to allow the sale of homemade baked goods. Ultimately, the lawsuit didn’t come to a resolution, but likely influenced the eventual passage of their law.

In 2020, in addition to the lawsuit and yet another bill (A 4580), the health department published proposed rules to allow cottage food businesses. Because Sen. Vitale was concerned that the proposed rules would pass, he added some restrictions to A 4580 and for the first time, he let a cottage food bill come up for a vote in the Senate Health Committee. It easily passed through his committee, but it was not to be, because this time, the cottage food supporters strategically prevented the bill from moving forward, in hopes that the better health department rules would eventually get passed.

Over the course of a long process that lasted over a year, which included dozens of submitted comments and hundreds of official supporters, the health department’s rules were finally passed on July 12th, 2021, and they were published into law on October 4th, 2021.

Sen. Vitale did succeed in preventing legal cottage food businesses in his state for many years, but in the process, he unintentionally created massive awareness about the cottage food industry, which resulted in a ton of interest from home bakers in New Jersey to start their own cottage food businesses.

This page was last updated on

Is there something wrong on this page? Please contact us to let us know!

Starting a cottage food business?

TAKE THE FREE MINI COURSE

How To Start A Cottage Food Business

New Jersey Forum Got questions? Join the discussion

Home Forums New Jersey

This forum contains 11 topics and 18 replies, and was last updated by  Bella 3 years ago.

Viewing 10 topics - 1 through 10 (of 11 total)
Viewing 10 topics - 1 through 10 (of 11 total)

You must be logged in to create new topics.

or to ask a question or create a new discussion topic

Comments

Can I sell food online without health department permit if I only become like a drop shipper?
I would like to buy food from the business and let food sell under my online account. The foods are going to stored in the another business entity storage rather than my home where they also do shipping. I am NJ residency and those storages are in NJ and some other states.
What license do I need?

    So it sounds like you would not be producing, storing, or handling the product at all? In that case, you almost certainly wouldn’t need a commercial processing license. However, the sale of food products are highly regulated, and I assume there would be some license you’d need, but my guess is that you could run the business from home as long as you’re not coming into contact with the food product. Unfortunately, I don’t know enough about this side of the food industry to guide you more… you should contact your health dept for assistance.

With the understanding that there is currently no cottage food law in NJ that would cover home roasted coffee, do you know which bodies regulate coffee roasting (as a dry commodity) even in a commercial kitchen: Dept of Health, Dept of Agriculture, or both?

    The health dept would probably regulate packaged coffee, and the ag dept would probably regulate coffee sold at events, including brewed coffee. But it really depends on where you live.

If I am understanding all of your responses correctly…baked goods can be sold for a profit as long as they are made in a commercial kitchen with a copy of their certification?

I’ve been asked by my employer to make the deserts for our Thanksgiving buffet for the restaurant I work for. The problem is there is no time for me to make them in our kitchen. Do you know if I can make them in another commercial kitchen and transport the deserts to my job?

    Sorry, I only know about the rules for using a home kitchen (which wouldn’t be allowed). Commercial licensing and kitchens are fairly complex and county-specific… you’ll need to talk to your health dept to get a final answer. My guess is that there is a way that you can do it, but it may require an extra permit.

Good morning
My 55+ community would like to have a bake sale for our community only. The public will not be invited. We live in New Jersey. Is this permitted. Thanks

    I really don’t know, but I don’t think it’s technically allowed, even though it’s a private event. However, these kinds of events are common. If you want to make sure you’re not breaking the law, you can call the health dept and ask about it.

Hello, I was wondering if I could sell chocolate lollipops on an Etsy site online. I wouldn’t be making the chocolate they would be the premade chocolate melts. My family owns a restaurant in PA so I could do all my work there. How do I go about this. Do I need a license and if so where so I go?
Thank you

    All restaurants and many larger churches have them. You could ask around and eventually ask your health dept, who should have a list of all the commercial kitchens in the area.

    David,

    I am a little confused with all of this. Maybe you can help clear up my concerns. If I was to purchase in bulk dried spices and re-jar them mixed together, and sell at a craft show, is this permissible without needing a commercial kitchen. I am not a “retail food establishment”, NJAC 8.24 doesn’t seem to apply, temperature doesn’t affect the integrity or quality of the product either. I just wanted to see if people like how I blend some spices on my own for taste.

    Your thoughts… Thanks

    I believe that if you’re handling any kind of food item in your own kitchen, you can not sell it, so you would need to use a commercial kitchen. Your health dept might be more lenient, though.

I understand about having to sell out of a certified kitchen. But what about packaging? Where might I find the info containing the requirements for NJ?

Comments are closed. Please use the forum above to ask a question or leave a comment.