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

Cottage Food Law

Before 2018, New York had a fairly restrictive law. Unlike other states that pass bills to improve their cottage food law, New York’s ag department improved the law themselves by creating rules, first in 2018 and again in 2020.

Homemade food can now be sold anywhere within the state, including selling indirectly to stores and restaurants. Items can also be sold online and shipped in-state.

Producers need to register with the ag department, but registration is easy and free. Also, there is no sales limit for those selling under this law.

A number of food products are allowed to be sold, but New York has specific restrictions that other states do not have. New York is the only state to allow candy without allowing chocolate or chocolate-dipped items. Also, some dry items must use commercially-processed ingredients, like spices, soup mixes, and nut mixes. All of these restrictions are unique to New York and are not found in other states’ cottage food laws.

After being hit the hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic, New York saw a massive spike in interest in selling homemade food in 2020. The ag department publishes a list of registered processors, which included over 8,000 processors in 2021.

Selling Where can you sell homemade food products?

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Allowed Foods What food products can you sell from home?

Even though candy (toffee, caramels, hard candy) is allowed, chocolate is not allowed. Products covered/dipped in chocolate or candy melts are also not allowed.

Baked items containing fruits or vegetables (banana bread, blueberry muffins, etc) are not allowed.

You must use commercially-processed ingredients for the following dry items:

  • Herbs
  • Spices & seasonings (except seasoning salt)
  • Baking mixes
  • Soup mixes
  • Dried fruit & dried vegetables (freeze-dried foods are not allowed)
  • Dried pasta
  • Roasted nuts (raw nuts are not allowed)

In other words, you cannot use your home kitchen to dry pasta, dehydrate produce, or roast nuts, but you can buy these items already dried/processed and use them in your products.

For more information about allowed foods, see the ag department’s official list of approved and prohibited foods. Also read their FAQs about why certain items are not allowed.

You can find the law for selling honey and maple syrup here: 1 CRR-NY VI F 276.4(a). You cannot sell fruit syrups.

You can use your home kitchen to make pet food or pet treats, but not under this law. You must complete a different registration process, which costs $100/year per product.

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

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

Registration

You must submit a registration form to the Department of Agriculture and Markets.

Registration is free and does not expire (unless you move).

On the form, you must list all types of products you intend to sell, but you can add products to your registration at any time for free.

Private well testing

If your home’s water comes from a private well, it must be tested for Coliform.

Labeling How do you label cottage food products?

Sample Label

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Forrager Cookie Company

123 Chewy Way, Cookietown, NY 73531


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


NET WT 2 lb 4 oz (1.02 kg)


In addition to the above requirements, the ag department recommends adding a statement to your labels like “Made at Home by XYZ” or “Made in the Home Kitchen of XYZ” or “Made in a Home Kitchen”

Resources Where can you find more information about this law?

Department
Department of Agriculture and Markets
Contacts

NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets

Department
Food Safety and Inspection
Email
agr.sm.hpregistrations@agriculture.ny.gov
Telephone
(518) 457-4492
Address
10B Airline Drive
Albany, NY 12235
Law Dates
April 2018
Rule Change
April 2020
Rule Change

New York used to prohibit sales from home and online sales, but in April 2018 the ag department changed the rules to accommodate more allowed foods and sales venues, including in-state shipping. They did not need to change the law to do this, and they did it without any official published documentation to accompany the change.

Around April 2020, the ag department improved the rules again, this time with no official announcement, aside from listing the changes on their website. For this update, they allowed indirect sales (through retail stores, restaurants, etc) and removed restrictions on custom-ordered products (wedding cakes, birthday cakes, custom cookies, etc).

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