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New York

New York’s law for home food processors comes with a number of restrictions, but for those who falls within the law’s requirements, it is fairly easy and inexpensive to start a home food business. Also, there are no sales limits for those selling under this law.

New York only allows homemade food to be sold at farmers markets, food stands, and other similar venues. Homemade food cannot be sold from home (or via delivery), online, or at stores/restaurants.

A number of food products are allowed to be sold, but New York has specific restrictions that other states do not have. For instance, it is the only state to allow candy without allowing chocolate or chocolate-dipped items. Fruit pies are allowed, but breads with fruit in them are not allowed.

New York City might not allow their residents to become cottage food operations.

Selling

The rules state that baked goods must be sold at “wholesale marketing or retail agricultural venues such as farms, farm stands, farmers markets, green markets, craft fairs and flea markets“.

Even though selling over the internet is not allowed, you may use it to advertise your products.

New York City might not allow their residents to become CFOs (check with the Department of Agriculture).

Allowed Foods

Even though candy is allowed, chocolate (including products dipped in chocolate) is not allowed.

Making specialty items is not allowed (like custom-ordered cakes, cupcakes, or cookies).

Herbs, spices, and seasonings can only be made from commercially dried herbs and spices.

Only commercially processed nuts may be used. Raw nuts are not allowed.

Canned fruits and vegetables are not allowed.

To make pet food or pet treats, contact Cory Skier at [email protected]

FAQs from the ag department:

  • Why are Fruit/Vegetable breads prohibited under this exemption? Fruit/Vegetable Breads often contain a high moisture content, which requires refrigeration.
  • Why is tempering Chocolate for candy and/or dipping not allowed? Chocolate and chocolate-like products have been implicated in foodborne illnesses. Melting chocolate is not a thermal process (not a control step). Chocolate melts at very low temperatures.
  • Why can’t I make certain items, such as peanut butter or items requiring refrigeration, from my home? Items where there are concerns for the product safety, including products where there is not a pathogen kill step, products which have been implicated in outbreaks, products considered Temperature Controlled for Safety or Potentially Hazardous Food, among others, are not allowed to be made in an unlicensed and uninspected facility.
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.

Private well testing

If the water for your kitchen comes from a private well, it must be tested.

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)


NET WT 2 lb 4 oz (1.02 kg)


If the home address is listed online or in a phone book, the street address does not need to be included on the label (the city, state, and zip code still need to be included).

Specific Labeling Information

Workplace

More information about food safety can be found here.

Resources

Contacts

NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets

Department
Food Safety and Inspection
Email
[email protected]
Address
10B Airline Drive
Albany, NY 12235

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Comments

Hi, I’m interested in eventually opening up a Custom Cake bakery. I recently saw my local mall advertise doing a pop-up shop and thought this might be a good idea to test the market before I commit to a full lease. I was thinking of doing the popup shop and giving away my product to potential clients as a way to get feedback about some of the products I’d like to see in my retail bakery. Would I be allowed to make the baked goods in my home, instead of a commercial kitchen, being that I’m giving he good away and not charging for them? Thanks!

All I saw listed in this piece about pet products was pet food. I make homemade dog treats. Do treats count as food? They are all natural and human-grade. I would like to sell them at farmer markets, craft-type shows, and online. I make them in my home kitchen. Is this allowed?

What about coffee roasting? Can I purchase unroasted coffee, roast it at home, and then sell it at a farmer’s market?

So I’m confused how this works. If I am interested on selling non-custom made cakes, cookies, cupcakes and or cake pops, I will not be required to have a commercial kitcken? I can do it from my home and sell at the venues allowed in NY?

I make cake balls (dipped in chocolate) for my friends and family, as gifts, and, on occasion, as donations for events. People love them, and often ask if I can make them for their events/parties/holidays on commission. I understand that I can’t start an official business selling these cake balls without submitting for the $400 license, but would it be legal for me to accept these requests on this word-of-mouth, occasional basis? Are there any conditions that would allow me to accept these requests and receive payment perhaps in the form of a suggested donation?

    I don’t know of any loopholes. If you are offering the cake balls to the public and/or accepting payment for them (in any quantity), you need to use a commercial kitchen to produce them. For family and friends, you could have them buy ingredients for you and then you can make them for free.

I’m a tad confused because at the farmer’s markets I attend on Long Island I see all of the following: pickles, salsas, sauces, butters, sweet breads, etc. Why are they allowed to sell those if it’s against the law? Or are there other possible exemptions?

    If those are being produced in commercial kitchens, and the producers have the appropriate licenses, then they would be legal. However, it’s also possible that some of them are selling illegally.

Hi! I wanted to sell vegan desserts at a farmer’s market (so no dairy or eggs or perishable things would be included.) Do I need any kind of permit for that?
And also, would chocolate chip and blueberry / fruit cookies or muffins be okay to sell? (As long as I bought the chocolate chips and fruit from a grocery store.)

    I’m not sure if your vegan desserts would be allowed under this law… you should contact the ag dept to check.

    You can sell chocolate chip cookies or muffins. You can also probably sell blueberry muffins. Some types of fruit muffins, like banana muffins, are not allowed. You can ask the ag dept about your allowed foods when you register your business.

I am interested in starting a specialty cake business. I understand I can’t do this directly from my home. My question is if I rent a commercial kitchen to bake can I decorate at home?

Hi, there! I’d like to start selling homemade tea blends online, in boutique gift shops and events that provide spaces for vendors. I live (and would operate my tea business) in New York City. I’d like to learn more about laws around teas/dry goods. Where can I find the most up-to-date info on restrictions on what I can and cannot do, permits, etc.? Also, if you have any info to share, it would be greatly appreciated. Not even sure where to begin.

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