All across the United States, people 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. Oklahoma expanded opportunities for cottage food producers in 2017 with an amendment to the Oklahoma Home Bakery Act. Cottage food producers gained additional freedom with the passage of the Oklahoma Food Freedom Act, which took effect in November 2021. Oklahoma is now one of the freest states in the nation for homemade food sales.
|Grades For Homemade Food Laws||Oklahoma|
|Food Varieties Grade||A-|
|Sales and Venue Restrictions Grade||A|
|Regulatory Burdens Grade||A|
Oklahoma cottage food types
|What Shelf-Stable Foods Can I Sell in Oklahoma?||No restrictions|
|Can I Sell Refrigerated Baked Goods in Oklahoma?||Yes|
|Can I Sell Meat in Oklahoma?||No|
|Can I Sell Acidified or Pickled Foods in Oklahoma?||Yes|
|Can I Sell Low-Acid Canned Goods in Oklahoma?||Yes|
|Can I Sell Fermented Foods in Oklahoma?||Yes|
Many states regulate “cottage food,” meaning food made in a home kitchen for sale. Cottage food sales in Oklahoma are governed by the Oklahoma Food Freedom Act, which defines “homemade food products” as foods or beverages produced or packaged at a residence.
Oklahoma distinguishes between two categories: Food that is “time- or temperature-controlled for safety” and food that is not. “Time- and temperature controlled for safety” refers to perishable foods that require refrigeration to stay safe for consumption. This includes foods like dairy products. Food that is not “time- and temperature controlled for safety” refers to shelf-stable products like cookies, jams, jellies, candy and dried spices. Homemade food producers may sell both types of food in Oklahoma, but the rules differ for product delivery.
The only products not permitted for sale under the law are alcoholic beverages, unpasteurized milk, marijuana products and anything containing seafood, poultry (as defined in the federal Poultry Products Inspection Act) and meat (as defined in the Code of Federal Regulations).
Oklahoma cottage food venues
|Sales and Venue Restrictions||Oklahoma|
|Annual Sales Cap||$75,000|
|Where Can I Sell Homemade Food Direct to Consumers in Oklahoma?||No restrictions|
|Can I Sell Homemade Food to Retail Outlets Like Restaurants and Grocery Stores?||Yes, but only for shelf-stable foods.|
|Mail Delivery||Yes, but only for shelf-stable foods.|
People may sell all homemade foods directly to consumers in Oklahoma, either in person or by remote means, including by telephone and over the internet. People may sell shelf-stable homemade foods through designated agents and third-party vendors, including grocery stores. Food that is time- or temperature-controlled for safety cannot be sold by designated agents or by third-party vendors. Regardless of the category type, annual homemade food sales may not exceed $75,000.
Getting started in Oklahoma
|Inspections Required Before Starting||No|
|Are Local Ordinances Preempted or Overridden?||Yes|
|License, Permit or Registration Required||No|
|Recipe Approval or Lab Testing Required||No|
|Food Handler Training Required||Only for time and temperature-controlled-for-safety food.|
Oklahoma does not require any kind of licensing or registration to sell shelf-stable homemade food. To sell homemade food that is time- or temperature-controlled for safety, producers must pass an food safety training course approved by the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry. One such course is the ServSafe Food Handler Training.
Oklahoma cottage food labels
All homemade food must be labelled with the following information:
- The producer’s name and phone number.
- The physical address where the food was produced.
- A description of the food product.
- The ingredients of the food, in ascending order of proportion.
- A statement indicating the presence of any of the eight most common allergens (milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, wheat, fish, and shellfish).
- The statement: “This product was produced in a private residence that is exempt from government licensing and inspection.”
When someone other than the producer sells shelf-stable homemade food, the seller must display the following disclosure: “This product was produced in a private residence that is exempt from government licensing and inspection. This product may contain allergens.” If homemade food is packaged and distributed across state lines, it must be sold and labelled in accordance with federal law in addition to Oklahoma law.
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, especially in states with rigorous labelling requirements like Oklahoma. 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’s own 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.
Oklahoma 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:
- Oklahoma Food and Cottage Food Law Group are two online communities that can help you get started navigating cottage food laws and selling homemade food in Oklahoma.
Tell your Oklahoma story
Is government violating your homemade food freedom in Oklahoma? Do you have a potential case for IJ? Get started here…
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.