Oregon’s laws for domestic kitchens are not the easiest when it comes to getting licensed, but they give producers a lot of freedom once they are setup. However, there are some strict requirements, like never allowing pets in the producer’s home.
Those who want an easier setup and fewer requirements (but more restrictions) can use Oregon’s cottage food law. Also, Oregon’s Farm Direct Bill allows farmers and growers to bypass many requirements.
Oddly, there are two different licenses under this law: one license is for bakeries, and the other is for producers who want to make other items. Either way, an annual kitchen inspection is required, and both annual licenses are over $150 each.
After getting a license, there are few restrictions. Producers can sell anywhere, with no sales limit, and almost all types of food are allowed, if they don’t contain meat or dairy.
Some types of food are completely exempt from agriculture department licensing, like candy and honey (see Product section).
If you want to produce certain acidified foods, your products must be tested by a process authority, and you must be trained by a Better Process Control School (see Business section).
Almost any kind of food is allowed, including products that require refrigeration. There are three main types of food that cannot be produced at home:
- Low-acid canned goods
- Processed dairy products (ice cream, cheese, etc.)
- Products with meat
Some products are exempt from ag department licensing:
- Candy, candied apples, and other non-PHF confections*
- Coffee, tea, and other non-PHF drinks* (does not include fresh fruit juice)
- All direct sales to a consumer are exempt
- Indirect sales (wholesale) are exempt if the producer owns no more than 20 hives, but the producer must apply for the exemption
- Pet food that does not contain meat
* must be sold in individual-sized portions, for immediate consumption only
Before getting a license, a representative from the Oregon Department of Agriculture must inspect your kitchen. Here is a list of requirements they look for before approving it. Once approved, your inspector will give you an application for a license.
Your kitchen should get inspected each year.
There are actually two different types of licenses — one for a bakery and the other for a food processor. If you only make baked goods, you need to apply with license type 11, with an annual fee starting at $152. If you make other items, like jams and jellies, you need license type 16, which has a flat rate annual fee of $189. If you make both baked goods and other items, you only need license type 16.
The application is not online — you will receive one after you have completed your approval inspection.
Licenses expire on June 30, and they must be renewed each year. The fees are not prorated if you start later in the year, so July is the most ideal time to start your business.
You must obtain a business license before you get inspected.
If you want to make certain acidified foods, you must attend a course at a Better Process Control School. Contact the Food Science Department at Oregon State University at 541-737-3131.
If you want to make certain acidified foods, you must get them tested by a process authority.
If you have a private well, it must be tested before you get inspected.
If you do not use a public sewage system, you must have your septic system checked before you get inspected.
Chocolate Chip Cookies
Forrager Cookie Company
123 Chewy Way, Cookietown, OR 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 product is perishable, the label must also include an expiration date.
If a nutritional claim about the product is made, a nutrition facts panel is required.
The supplies for the operation must be kept separate from those used for personal use, and medical supplies may not be stored in the domestic kitchen.
Non-employees are not allowed in the kitchen during preparation.