Selling homemade food is relatively easy in Florida, thanks to a series of legislative reforms. The first big change came in 2011, when lawmakers expanded the Florida Food Safety Act to allow the sale of non-perishable food prepared in home kitchens without a permit. With support from the Institute for Justice, the state amended the rules in 2017 to allow online sales, while tripling the revenue cap on homemade food sales to $50,000 per year. The changes were good, but the law did not protect homemade food businesses from local interference. The result was a patchwork of regulations with heavy restrictions in places like Jacksonville and Miami-Dade County. State lawmakers ended the confusion with the Home Sweet Home Act and other reforms that took effect on July 1, 2021. Besides creating statewide standardization, the new rules raised the revenue cap on homemade food sales to $250,000, legalized mail delivery, and allowed homemade food entrepreneurs to have business partners.
Florida cottage food types
Many states regulate “cottage food,” meaning food made in a home kitchen for sale. Florida cottage food producers may sell food that is “not potentially hazardous,” meaning food that presents a low risk of foodborne illness. Approved cottage food products in Florida include breads, rolls, biscuits, cakes, pastries and cookies, candies and confections, honey, jams, jellies and preserves, fruit pies and dried fruits, dry herbs, seasonings and mixtures, homemade pasta, cereals, trail mixes and granola, nuts, vinegar, popcorn and popcorn balls. The Florida Department of Agriculture provides additional guidance…
Florida cottage food venues
Florida cottage food producers may sell their products directly to consumers at a variety of venues and events, including weddings and birthday parties. They also may sell their products online and, starting in 2021, they may deliver their products by mail order. Florida cottage food may not be sold wholesale at retail outlets.
Getting started in Florida
Setting up a Florida cottage food business is easy. Homemade food producers do not need a license or permit, and the state requires no inspections. All a person needs to get started is a home kitchen and entrepreneurial spirit.
Florida cottage food labeling
Florida cottage food must include a label with the name and address of the cottage food operation, the name of the product, the ingredients in descending order of predominance by weight, the net weight or net volume of the cottage food product, and allergen information. If any nutritional claim is made, the label also must include appropriate nutritional information. The following statement must be printed in at least 10-point type: “Made in a cottage food operation that is not subject to Florida’s food safety regulations.”
Florida cottage food facts
Myths about cottage food abound. Here are the facts:
- Cottage food is safe. Critics who talk about the risk of food-borne illness give hypothetical examples of what could go wrong because real-world cases are rare or nonexistent.
- Cottage food is local. When neighbors trade with neighbors, money stays in the local economy.
- Cottage food is transparent. People who buy from a cottage food producer know what they get. If they have questions about ingredients, sourcing or safety, they can ask.
- Cottage food creates jobs. Many homemade food producers use their income to provide for their families. Others seek a secondary or supplemental income.
- Cottage food empowers women. IJ cottage food research shows that most cottage food producers are women, and many live in rural areas with limited economic opportunity.
- Cottage food expands consumer choice. Some stores simply don’t sell what you want. This is especially true if you have a gluten-free, peanut-free, halal, kosher or vegan diet. Cottage food fills market gaps, giving consumers more options.
Florida cottage food resources
As part of its Food Freedom Initiative, the Institute for Justice provides a variety of resources for home bakers and other food entrepreneurs. These include:
- Model Food Freedom Act from the Institute for Justice guides activism efforts at state capitols nationwide.
- Flour Power: How Cottage Food Entrepreneurs Are Using Their Home Kitchens to Become Their Own Bosses surveys 775 cottage food producers in 22 states about what their businesses mean to them.
- Ready to Roll highlights nine lessons from the Institute for Justice’s cottage food victory in Wisconsin.
- The Attack on Food Freedom examines the impact of regulations on farmers, chefs, artisans, restaurateurs, food truck operators and others.
Tell your Florida story
Is government violating your homemade food freedom in Florida? Do you have a potential case for IJ? Get started here…
Support Florida legislation
Help expand cottage food laws in Florida by teaming with the Institute for Justice. Send an email with your name, background information and availability to get started…
Defending homemade food freedom nationwide
People have a right to earn an honest living without arbitrary and excessive government interference. Since 2013, the Institute for Justice has defended home bakers and chefs as part of its Food Freedom Initiative. Read about IJ’s nationwide food freedom advocacy…
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All information, content, and materials available on this site are for general informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Statutes, regulations, and processes are subject to change at any time, and specific facts and circumstances could alter how they are applied. If you have questions about the regulation of cottage foods in your jurisdiction, we recommend consulting a lawyer who can help you navigate the process.