People love fresh-baked cookies and cakes right out of the oven, but setting up a business to sell homemade food is not easy in Georgia. According to Georgia’s homemade food law, applicants must get a business license, complete an accredited food safety program and pass a home inspection before selling their first loaf of bread or cookie. Once established, a home-based business must follow strict food labeling guidelines.
|Grades For Homemade Food Laws||Georgia|
|Food Categories Grade||D-|
|Sales and Venue Restrictions Grade||A-|
|Regulatory Burdens Grade||F|
Georgia cottage food types
|What Shelf-Stable Foods Can I Sell in Georgia?||Limited to a select list by the Department of Agriculture.|
|Can I Sell Refrigerated Baked Goods in Georgia?||No|
|Can I Sell Meat in Georgia?||No|
|Can I Sell Acidified or Pickled Foods in Georgia?||No|
|Can I Sell Low-Acid Canned Goods in Georgia?||No|
|Can I Sell Fermented Foods in Georgia?||No|
Many states regulate “cottage food,” meaning food made in a home kitchen for sale. Georgia cottage food producers may sell “non-potentially hazardous food,” or food with a low risk of foodborne illness. These include breads, rolls, biscuits, cakes, pastries, cookies, candies and confections, fruit pies, jams, jellies, fried fruits, dry herbs, seasonings and mixtures, cereals, trail mixes, granola, nuts, vinegar, popcorn and cotton candy. A complete list of accepted foods is available from the Georgia Department of Agriculture.
Georgia Cottage food venues
|Sales and Venue Restrictions||Georgia|
|Annual Sales Cap||None|
|Where Can I Sell Homemade Food Direct to Consumers in Georgia?||No restrictions|
|Can I Sell Homemade Food to Retail Outlets Like Restaurants and Grocery Stores?||No|
Georgia cottage food producers may only sell directly to the consumer, whether at nonprofit events, for-profit events like farmers’ markets, or online. Georgia cottage food producers may not sell cottage food wholesale to retail establishments, restaurants or any other venue. Georgia cottage food producers also may not distribute cottage food across state lines.
Getting started in Georgia
|Inspections Required Before Starting||Yes|
|Are Local Ordinances Preempted or Overridden?||No|
|License, Permit or Registration Required||Yes|
|Recipe Approval or Lab Testing Required||No|
|Food Handler Training Required||Yes|
All cottage food producers who wish to operate in Georgia must complete one of Georgia’s approved food safety training programs. The home kitchens where cottage food is produced must also be subject to state inspection. Finally, cottage food operators must obtain a Cottage Food License to operate, and can apply using an online form…
Georgia cottage food producers are subject to home business regulations for operation, which vary by county. However, local laws do not typically regulate what kinds of products that cottage food producers may sell, or how they may sell them.
Georgia cottage food labeling
All cottage foods in Georgia must be labeled with the business name and home address of the cottage food producer, the common name of the cottage food, the ingredients in descending order of prominence by weight, allergen labeling according to FDA requirements, and the statement: “MADE IN A COTTAGE FOOD OPERATION THAT IS NOT SUBJECT TO STATE FOOD SAFETY INSPECTIONS” in at least 10-point Times New Roman or Arial font. If a nutrition claim is made about the food, the food must be labeled according to the FDA requirements for nutritional claims. Cottage food that is individually packaged must be labeled with the net weight of the packaged food. Producers that sell cottage food from bulk containers must provide labeling information at the point of sale by a sign or carriable notice.
Georgia 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.
Georgia 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 Georgia story
Is government violating your homemade food freedom in Georgia? Do you have a potential case for IJ? Get started here…
Support Georgia legislation
Help expand cottage food laws in Georgia 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.