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New York

Cottage Food Law

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.

Selling

You can sell online and ship within New York, but you cannot ship to other states.

Starting a cottage food business?

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Top 10 Mistakes To Avoid When Starting A Cottage Food Business

(Some of them just might surprise you!)

Allowed Foods

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.

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 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

Limitations
There is no sales limit

Business

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

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)


Resources

1 CRR-NY VI F 276 -- go to sections 276.3(b)(3) & 276.4(b)Official Home Processing RulesHome Processor Registration Form

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.

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

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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

I understand not sending completed baked goods. However, I am looking to send kits. Meaning, if someone wanted to make one of my cakes, they would buy the kit and I would send them all the ingredients premeasured out (butter, oil, flour, sugar, etc.). How does the apply to all of New York’s laws?

    Ironically, you can ship completed and baked cakes to someone in New York with this law, but you cannot sell and ship the individual ingredients. You can sell dry baking mixes, as long as the ingredients for the mixes are commercially-processing (store-bought). To sell a kit with butter, you need to get licensed by the health department and use a commercial kitchen to prepare them.

Assuming I follow labeling, packaging and safe handling requirements.
Am I allowed to advertise cookies on FB?
Custom decorate said cookies with a design or logo?
Meet buyer at a specified location for “delivery”?

    You can advertise in any way (including Facebook) and you can deliver non-custom cookies, but custom-ordered and decorated cookies cannot be sold with this law. You’d need to get licensed by the health department.