Selling Homemade Food in Oregon

Selling homemade cookies, cakes and other products became easier in Oregon in 2016. That’s when a residential food establishment law took effect, allowing entrepreneurs to sell up to $20,000 in food produced in residential kitchens with no license or inspection. The only startup requirement is completion of food handlers training. Home-based business owners who want more flexibility can apply for the Oregon Domestic Kitchen program or, if they grow their own ingredients, the Oregon Farm Direct program. 

Oregon cottage food types

Many states regulate “cottage food,” meaning food made in a home kitchen for sale. Unlicensed homemade food producers in Oregon may sell baked goods like breads and cookies, along with candy, honeypastries, granola and other snacks. The Forrager Cottage Food Community provides a more detailed list of allowable Oregon cottage foods… 

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 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 Oregon lawmakers officially repealed the ban in May 2015.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… 

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: 

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. 

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