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West Virginia

West Virginia has one of the best cottage food laws in the country. For many years, they had very specific and restrictive laws which only allowed a few types of food items to be sold at farmers markets.

Then in 2018, they passed a new law which expanded the allowed foods list but still restricted sales to farmers markets.

And in 2019, they passed this law (SB 285) which removed almost all restrictions. West Virginians can now sell almost any type of non-PHF food from any venue within the state (including online sales and mail orders), and there is no sales limit.

In addition, the law exempts home cooks from government regulation, including permits, inspections, or prohibitions. The only time the government can step in is if a customer complains about a food borne illness.

Selling homemade pickled, acidified, or fermented foods is not allowed under this law, but those can be sold at farmers markets under the older law.

Therefore, as long as a producer is making an allowed food and following the labeling requirements, they can start their business immediately, with no extra costs involved.

Selling

Allowed Foods

Prohibited Foods

Please see the Farmers Market Vendors Guide for more information about allowed foods.

You can sell acidified foods (pickled products, sauces, salsas, etc), non-standard jellies (pepper jelly), non-standard fruit butters (pumpkin butter), fermented foods, or eggs at farmers markets by using West Virginia’s older law. You must grow your own produce to use that law. If you are unsure, call the WVDA Regulatory & Environmental Affairs Division at 304-558-2227 to see if you can sell your items outside of farmers markets.

To sell honey or pet food/treats, you must register for a special permit with the WV Department of Agriculture.

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

Labeling

Sample Label

Chocolate Chip Cookies

"This product was produced at a private residence that is exempt from State licensing and inspection. This product may contain allergens."


Forrager Cookie Company

123 Chewy Way, Cookietown, WV 73531


Phone: (123) 456-7890


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)


According to the law, this labeling information must be provided:

  1. On a label affixed to the package, if the homemade food item is packaged;
  2. On a label affixed to the container, if the homemade food item is offered for sale from a bulk container;
  3. On a placard displayed at the point of sale, if the homemade food item is neither packaged nor offered for sale from a bulk container;
  4. On the webpage on which the homemade food item is offered for sale, if the homemade food item is offered for sale on the Internet; or
  5. On a receipt or other document provided to the customer with the homemade food item.

If you sell honey, you must also include the net weight on the label, as well as the statement “Please do not feed to infants under 1 year of age.”

Resources

Contacts

Stacy Hammack

Organization
WV Department of Agriculture
Department
Regulatory & Environmental Affairs Division
Email
[email protected]
Telephone
(304) 558-2227
About
For general questions, farmers market vendor registration, and information about selling acidified and fermented foods outside of farmers markets.

Buddy Davidson

Organization
WV Department of Agriculture
Department
Business Development Division
Email
[email protected]
Telephone
304-558-2210
About
For labeling information
Law Dates
July 2009
Farmers Market Rules
June 2018
SB 375
June 2019
SB 285

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Comments

Can I use my home kitchen to open a catering business? If yes, are there any inspections or other restrictions I need to be aware of? Thank you!

If I decide to start selling cookies out of my home, do I need to fill out the WVDA registration form? And is that the only form I do need to fill out with the state?

We are fixing to move to WV . We are buying a farm that has a few outer buildings , if I convert one into a commercial kitchen can my wife sell her cakes from this location if I have it DEHC approved

    You no longer need to use a commercial kitchen. Your wife can use your home kitchen to make her cakes. BTW, it is possible to convert an outbuilding to a commercial kitchen, but it can be very expensive, and you should work closely with the health dept while doing so.

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