All across the United States, Americans are making food at home to sell in their communities. Together, they form a small but growing industry—the homemade or “cottage food” industry. The movement fits within a larger trend toward healthy eating and responsible sourcing, as consumers take greater interest in where their food comes from and who makes it. Louisiana expanded opportunities for cottage food producers in 2013 with the passage of Louisiana Act 542, creating rules for the preparation of “low-risk foods” in the home for sale. The state amended the law in 2014 with the passage of Louisiana House Bill 1270. Louisiana cottage food producers now may sell a wide variety of foods in the state, albeit with a few restrictions.
|Grades For Homemade Food Laws||Louisiana|
|Food Varieties Grade||C-|
|Sales and Venue Restrictions Grade||B|
|Regulatory Burdens Grade||B+|
Louisiana cottage food types
|What Shelf-Stable Foods Can I Sell in Louisiana?||Baked goods, candies, cane syrup, dried mixes, jams, jellies, sauces, syrups, and spices.|
|Can I Sell Refrigerated Baked Goods in Louisiana?||Yes|
|Can I Sell Meat in Louisiana?||No|
|Can I Sell Acidified or Pickled Foods in Louisiana?||Yes|
|Can I Sell Low-Acid Canned Goods in Louisiana?||No|
|Can I Sell Fermented Foods in Louisiana?||No|
Many states regulate “cottage food,” meaning food made in a home kitchen for sale. Louisiana allows the sale of “low-risk foods,” which generally refers to shelf-stable foods that do not require time or temperature controls for safety. The law specifically permits the sale of homemade breads, cakes, cookies, pies, cream or custard-filled pastries, candies, dried mixes, honey and honeycomb products, jams, jellies, preserves, pickles and acidified foods, sauces, syrups and spices.
Louisiana cottage food venues
|Sales and Venue Restrictions||Louisiana|
|Annual Sales Cap||$20,000|
|Where Can I Sell Homemade Food Direct to Consumers in Louisiana?||No restrictions|
|Can I Sell Homemade Food to Retail Outlets Like Restaurants and Grocery Stores?||Yes, but not breads, cakes, cookies and pies.|
Louisiana cottage food producers may sell their products almost anywhere without restriction. The state allows direct sales, including online sales, for all Louisiana cottage foods at private residences, roadside stands, special events and farmers’ markets. The state also allows retail sales in businesses like restaurants, grocery stores and coffee shops for all products except breads, cakes, cookies and pies. Once a Louisiana cottage food operation is running, the state caps annual gross revenue at $20,000.
Getting started in Louisiana
|Inspections Required Before Starting||No|
|Are Local Ordinances Preempted or Overridden?||No|
|License, Permit or Registration Required||No|
|Recipe Approval or Lab Testing Required||No|
|Food Handler Training Required||No|
Louisiana cottage food producers do not need government inspections, permits or training to get started. However, the law requires Louisiana cottage food producers to obtain a general sales tax certificate from the Louisiana Department of Revenue and a local sales tax certificate from the local taxing authority of any jurisdiction where they intend to sell foods. The state also bans Louisiana cottage food producers from employing assistants.
Louisiana cottage food labels
Louisiana cottage food producers must attach a disclaimer on all their products. The instructions are fairly simple: Any individual who prepares low-risk foods in the home for sale “shall affix to any such food offered for sale a label which clearly indicates that the food was not produced in a licensed or regulated facility.”
Louisiana 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.
Louisiana 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 Louisiana story
Is government violating your homemade food freedom in Louisiana? Do you have a potential case for IJ? Get started here…
Support Louisiana legislation
Help expand cottage food laws in Louisiana 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.