Skip to main content

Vermont

Vermont was the first state to create laws specifically for home bakers, and they still lead the way as one of the only states to allow almost any food item to be produced and sold from the home.  Like most states, Vermont has a specific Home Bakery license for those that only want to sell low-risk baked goods out of their standard kitchen.  They even allow those that sell less than $125 of goods per week to skip the licensing and inspection process altogether.  There is also a special Home Caterer license (section 5-202-2) for sellers that produce on-demand or prepackaged foods and have standard home kitchen equipment.  However, home cooks that are willing to update their kitchen with commercial equipment can sell almost any type of food. There are a lot of different laws, but this page focuses on the requirements for getting a Home Bakery license.  Although Vermont is very friendly to home-based operations, there are still some limitations.  A home bakery needs to apply for a license ($55 annually) and then get a kitchen inspection.  Also, as the name implies, the foods allowed are limited to baked goods only, while jarred goods like jams and jellies (common in other states’ laws) require a full food processor license (unless sales are under $10,000 per year).  Sales from a home bakery must be made directly to consumers, preventing bakers from selling to restaurants or retail stores (though there is a separate Small Commercial Bakery license for the bakers that want to).  Fortunately, once the home bakery is setup, there is no limit to the amount of goods it can sell. More information about the any of the licenses can be found on the health department’s food establishment guide.

Selling

Bakers that want to sell at restaurants and retail stores need a Small Commercial Bakery license.

Allowed Foods

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

Bakery License

If sales are less than $125 per week, then no license is required.

If sales are more than $125 per week, the home baker must apply for a license, which costs $55. The application asks basic questions about the baker and their home bakery, including product information, number of employees, and opening date.

The license must be renewed annually.

Home inspection

If sales are less than $125 per week, then no inspection is required.

If sales are more than $125 per week, an official from the health department will visit the home to inspect the kitchen to ensure that it is safe.

The home kitchen will get inspected (unannounced) once a year.

Private well testing

If the home uses a private water supply, then it must get tested, which would incur an additional fee.

Private sewer inspection

If the home does not use the public wastewater system, the home’s septic tank must get inspected, which would incur an additional fee.

Once the kitchen and application has been approved, the baker will get a license and can start selling.

Labeling

Sample Label

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Forrager Cookie Company

123 Chewy Way, Cookietown, VT 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)


Most bakers may apply for a small business exemption from including nutrition information on their labels, unless the label makes a health claim.

Vermont Labeling Guide

Workplace

There are workplace requirements detailed in the regulations for bakeries and the department’s food safety page.

Resources

Contacts

Al Burns

Organization
Agency of Human Services, VT Department of Health
Telephone
802-863-7221
Address
108 Cherry Street
PO Box 70
Burlington, VT 05402

Sara Jelen

Organization
Agency of Human Services, VT Department of Health
Telephone
800-439-8550
Address
108 Cherry Street
PO Box 70
Burlington, VT 05402
Law Dates
March 1976
Section 5-762
May 1978
Section 5-762

This page was last updated on

Is there something wrong on this page? Please let us know! You can submit changes through this form.

Comments

On the Health Vermont. Gov site, it says that pets aren’t allowed in the kitchen while preparing food. It doesn’t say anything about not allowing pets in the home at all.
I’m wondering which one is accurate.

I am curious! Let’s say you have pets on property but you have a separate small building on your land that you do not allow pets inside of. Do you know if this would be permitted?

I am starting a food concession business selling made- on- the- spot donuts and coffee. I will mix my batter and fry my donuts in my trailer, although I also may, at times, prepare dry/wet mixes in my kitchen. Will my trailer operation fall under Vermont’s cottage food laws? I will be dealing with both the both the Ag Department and the Health Department, correct? I am experimenting with various recipes, some with just dry mix and water, some with wet mix(eggs, milk, sugar) combined with dry mix. Look forward to your response.

    No, I don’t think you can use the cottage food law since you’re not using your home kitchen. You’ll probably need to get your trailer inspected and permitted from the health dept, and I think that’s the only dept you’ll need to deal with.

or comment as a guest
* required (your email will not be displayed on the site)
Allowed tags