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.
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.
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.
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:
- On a label affixed to the package, if the homemade food item is packaged;
- On a label affixed to the container, if the homemade food item is offered for sale from a bulk container;
- 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;
- 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
- 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.”
- WV Department of Agriculture
- Regulatory & Environmental Affairs Division
- (304) 558-2227
- For general questions, farmers market vendor registration, and information about selling acidified and fermented foods outside of farmers markets.
- WV Department of Agriculture
- Business Development Division
- For labeling information