Since this page was last updated, New York’s ag department has changed the rules to improve their cottage food law.
Most importantly, indirect sales through retail stores are now allowed.
Please read the ag department’s website for the current rules.
New York’s law for home food processors comes with some restrictions, but for those who fall within the law’s requirements, it is fairly easy and inexpensive to start a home food business.
Homemade food can be sold directly from home and at events (like farmers markets), but it cannot be sold indirectly through stores and restaurants. Items can be sold online and shipped in-state. 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. For instance, custom-ordered baked goods, like wedding cakes or custom decorated cookies, are not allowed under this law. New York is also 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.
You can sell online and ship within New York, but you cannot ship to other states.
Custom bakery items are not allowed, like custom-ordered cakes/cupcakes/cookies for weddings/birthdays/graduations/anniversaries. This is because the health department regulates custom bakery items. You need to contact your state, county, or local Department of Health to get licensed for these items.
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, baking mixes, soup mixes, dried fruit, dried vegetables, 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.
You can find the law for selling honey and maple syrup here: 1 CRR-NY VI F 276.4(a)
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.
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.
If your home’s water comes from a private well, it must be tested for Coliform.
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)
- Food Safety and Inspection
- (518) 457-4492
- 10B Airline Drive
Albany, NY 12235
NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets
New York used to prohibit sales from home and online sales, but in May 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.