Oregon has multiple options to open a homemade food business. Since 2016, when a residential food establishment law took effect, entrepreneurs can annually sell up to $20,000 of homemade candies, cookies, cakes and other baked goods with no license or inspection. Oregonians who want to sell a wider range of products or more than $20,000 a year can obtain a Domestic Kitchen license. Finally, Oregon’s Farm Direct program lets people sell a variety of canned goods, so long as they grow the primary ingredient used in their products.
|Grades For Homemade Food Laws||Oregon Home Baking||Oregon Farm Direct||Oregon Domestic Kitchen|
|Food Varieties Grade||F||D+||B+|
|Sales and Venue Restrictions Grade||D+||B-||A|
|Regulatory Burdens Grade||B-||C||F|
Oregon Homemade food types
|Food Varieties||Oregon Home Baking||Oregon Farm Direct||Oregon Domestic Kitchen|
|What Shelf-Stable Foods Can I Sell in Oregon?||Only baked goods and confectionary.||Canned fruit, chutney, flour, nuts, jams jellies, popcorn, preserves, and syrups.||No restrictions|
|Can I Sell Refrigerated Baked Goods in Oregon?||No||No||Yes|
|Can I Sell Meat in Oregon?||Yes, under 1,000 personally-raised poultry.||Yes, under 1,000 personally-raised poultry.||Yes, under 1,000 personally-raised poultry.|
|Can I Sell Acidified or Pickled Foods in Oregon?||No||Yes||Yes|
|Can I Sell Low-Acid Canned Goods in Oregon?||No||No||No|
|Can I Sell Fermented Foods in Oregon?||No||Yes||Yes|
Many states regulate “cottage food,” meaning food made in a home kitchen for sale. Oregon’s Home Baking law is one of the nation’s most restrictive, only allowing the sale of baked goods and confectionary. Meanwhile, the Domestic Kitchen license is one of the most permissive in the country, allowing the sale of not just any shelf-stable food, but also refrigerated baked goods, like cream-filled pies, pickles, and fermented food. However, low-acid canned goods as well as almost all meat products (aside from small-scale poultry farmers) are banned across the board.
Oregon Homemade Food Venues
|Sales and Venue Restrictions||Oregon Home Baking||Oregon Farm Direct||Oregon Domestic Kitchen|
|Annual Sales Cap||$20,000||$20,000||No limit|
|Where Can I Sell Homemade Food Direct to Consumers in Oregon?||No restrictions||No restrictions||No restrictions|
|Can I Sell Homemade Food to Retail Outlets Like Restaurants and Grocery Stores?||No||No||Yes|
To qualify for either the Oregon Home Baking and Farm Direct exemptions, a homemade food business can sell no more than $20,000 a year. Homemade food businesses can sell directly to consumers at farmers’ markets, events, roadside stands, and from home, though retail sales are banned under the Home Baking and Farm Direct exemptions. Meanwhile, the Oregon Domestic Kitchen license doesn’t have a sales cap and allows sales at retail outlets like convenience stores, restaurants, and supermarkets. However, anyone with a Domestic Kitchen license cannot have any pets inside their home: “No pets allowed – ever – in the same building that houses the domestic kitchen.”
Getting Started in Oregon
|Regulatory Burdens||Oregon Home Baking||Oregon Farm Direct||Oregon Domestic Kitchen|
|Inspections Required Before Starting||No||No||Yes|
|Are Local Ordinances Preempted or Overridden?||No||No||No|
|License, Permit or Registration Required||No||No||Yes|
|Recipe Approval or Lab Testing Required||No||Yes||Only for acidified food.|
|Food Handler Training Required||Yes||Yes||Yes|
So long as yearly sales are kept under $20,000, Oregonians operating under the Home Baking or Farm Direct laws do not have to submit to a preoperational inspection or obtain a license or permit from the state. Localities may impose additional regulations though.
Oregon 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.
Oregon 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.
Oregon raw milk
Prior to 2014, Oregon farmers could sell unpasteurized milk as long as they did not talk about it. An advertising ban on the legal product meant they could not post fliers at local health food stores or list prices on their own websites. Following a First Amendment lawsuit from the Institute for Justice, the director of Oregon’s Department of Agriculture issued a directive ordering state personnel not to enforce the advertising ban. Oregon lawmakers officially repealed the ban in May 2015. Read more about the Institute for Justice lawsuit…
Tell your Oregon story
Is government violating your homemade food freedom in Oregon? Do you have a potential case for IJ? Get started here…
Support Oregon legislation
Help expand cottage food laws in Oregon 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.