Cottage Food Vs. Licensing

Business By chelley325 Updated 1 Jul 2008 , 4:27pm by cakelady15

chelley325 Posted 19 Jun 2008 , 8:33pm
post #1 of 24

I live in Ohio and was researching licensing for home-based bakeries. It looks like there is a Cottage Foods Production operation that doesn't require a license, but limits you to not selling foods that require refrigeration (cheesecakes, pumpkin or cream pies, etc.). Am I understanding this correctly? Can anyone provide any additional details and insight into the different between cottage and licensing? Thank you! icon_smile.gif

23 replies
peg818 Posted 19 Jun 2008 , 8:39pm
post #2 of 24

contact your states department of agriculture, it may be just that easy if your local zoning laws will allow it.

MichelleM77 Posted 19 Jun 2008 , 9:21pm
post #3 of 24

Yes, Ohio Department of Agriculture has a cottage foods law and you have that correct about what you can and cannot sell. You also cannot sell outside of the state of Ohio and have to provide an ingredient list (samples on the DOA website) for all of your items to your customer.

If you want a license, they will inspect your house/kitchen/whatever and you are not allowed to have any pets in the house or carpet in the kitchen.

Have you been to the Ohio DOA website? You also have to make sure your local city/county allows this, and also any neighborhood/homeowner's association rules are okay with it too, if that applies.

icon_smile.gif

kansaswolf Posted 19 Jun 2008 , 9:35pm
post #4 of 24

Also, remember you can't use refrigerated FILLINGS in your cakes either... Or whipped cream as icing, etc., if the laws are similar to what they are here in Iowa. Iowa also has a cottage foods provision, but the licensing fee is so minimal ($25) that I'll probably get licensed sometime after I have this baby... icon_biggrin.gif So you might at least consider licensing if it's minimally invasive! Good luck!

The one question *I* haven't been able to find that maybe someone else knows is if there is a difference in one's ability to ADVERTISE under a cottage foods rule. Can I advertise that I sell cakes (posters, business cards, ads in the paper) without being licensed? (Granted, I think I'd RATHER be licensed, but *CAN* I advertise beforehand, is what I'm wondering...)

MichelleM77 Posted 19 Jun 2008 , 10:08pm
post #5 of 24

We are allowed to advertise in Ohio. Licensing is only $10, but we have a little four-legged son who is preventing me from getting it.

chelley325 Posted 19 Jun 2008 , 11:05pm
post #6 of 24

I am in the same boat - we have a dog so I cannot get licensed, so that's why I was checking out the cottage laws.

MichelleM77 Posted 19 Jun 2008 , 11:09pm
post #7 of 24

Are you the Sugar & Spice with a bakery in Cleveland?

chelley325 Posted 19 Jun 2008 , 11:14pm
post #8 of 24

I'm not. That is my incredibly generic blog name that I created when I knew next to nothing about food and baking! I thought it was cute icon_wink.gif Soon to be changing though!

MichelleM77 Posted 19 Jun 2008 , 11:17pm
post #9 of 24

You know what, I was thinking of Cream 'n Sugar Bakery in the Galleria. oops!

chelley325 Posted 20 Jun 2008 , 3:33am
post #10 of 24

Michelle - not sure what kind of pet you have, but just wondered if you are ever afraid stray hairs may make their way into your baked goods? This is something my husband is worried about.

MichelleM77 Posted 20 Jun 2008 , 1:49pm
post #11 of 24

He is a small dog, kept out of the kitchen when baking, and he doesn't shed. Honestly, I lose more hairs than he does. He isn't tall enough to reach anything and I keep all of my supplies in Rubbermaid containers.

There is a thread going around right now about fibers in fondant, etc. Those aren't animal or people hair, just those crazy fibers that float around in the air all the time.

Yes, I worry about it, but I can't do anything about it and the DOA is okay with it, so........ Hubby and son adopted him without my permission and now I get to take care of him. icon_smile.gif

cakesbycathy Posted 20 Jun 2008 , 11:07pm
post #12 of 24

I just became licensed last month. IMO (and this is not meant to offend anyone in anyway) I feel that if you are going to do this as a business (not just a hobby), then it is more professional to be able to say that you work out of an inspected and licensed kitchen.

Plus it was only $10 and the only pets we have are fish.

3GCakes Posted 1 Jul 2008 , 3:18pm
post #13 of 24

Hello! I am happy to have found other Ohio decorators! I am a little confused, maybe one of you can help me? Without the license, you cannot sell refrigerated stuff, but with it you can? Is that the difference? Also, did you guys have any local hassles? I appreciate your help!!

MichelleM77 Posted 1 Jul 2008 , 3:21pm
post #14 of 24

Yes, that is the difference. You can also sell out of state, whereas with just cottage foods you are limited to in Ohio only.

3GCakes Posted 1 Jul 2008 , 3:24pm
post #15 of 24

Thank you Michelle! I emailed my county's health Dept. and my local health dept. so I am hoping they just go by the state laws. I am in the Cincinnati area, so hopefully I can get licensed asap. Even if I only sell 2 or 3 a month, I want to be legal.

jen1977 Posted 1 Jul 2008 , 3:31pm
post #16 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by chelley325

Michelle - not sure what kind of pet you have, but just wondered if you are ever afraid stray hairs may make their way into your baked goods? This is something my husband is worried about.




I'm not Michelle, and we don't have a dog, but it would be something that I would worry about! As a customer, I wouldn't order from someone who had a dog or cat. even if you keep stuff away, that fur gets everywhere, and you'll find it for months even after getting rid of the pet!

MichelleM77 Posted 1 Jul 2008 , 3:44pm
post #17 of 24

I'd rather deal with a dog or cat than buy from a bakery where the problems with rats/mice/cockroaches are sometimes severe....and you wouldn't even know it. I worked in a grocery store bakery and the cockroaches were unbelievable. I'm sure there were mice, but I only ever saw the roaches....in and around the proofer. I know I don't have those at my house!

Do you guys watch Kitchen Nightmares? I don't think I want to eat out anymore seeing what goes on behind the kitchen doors of some restaurants!

I honestly don't see a lot of dog hair from him. I lose more hairs than he does. I mean, would a turtle be a better pet for a home baker? No, because they can carry salmonella, like a lot of reptiles which some people have and get around the "no pets in the house" rule for licenses. Of course I would rather not even deal with the pet situation, but it was thrown on me and I'm dealing with it. Gotta love men.

cakelady15 Posted 1 Jul 2008 , 3:53pm
post #18 of 24

I'm so glad that I found this post. I'm in Akron, Ohio and I have been looking into getting licensed. I don't really sell a lot of cakes right now (I have had 3 paying customers to be exact), but I would feel better about selling cakes to people if I can tell them I am licensed. Plus like someone else said, it's only $10icon_smile.gif Luckily I don't have any pets to worry about, but I do have carpet in my kitchen so I'm working with my landlord on getting that changed. MichelleM77 you sound like you have looked into this a lot. I would love anymore tips that you might have on what the state is looking for so I don't get in trouble.

cakelady15 Posted 1 Jul 2008 , 4:02pm
post #19 of 24

Michelle,
You can e-mail me if you want instead of posting on here. It's [email protected] I would love to have someone in the area to talk to about cakesicon_smile.gif

DoubleA Posted 1 Jul 2008 , 4:06pm
post #20 of 24

Does anybody know about Georgia? I have been doing cakes out of my kitchen, but not licensed, yet. I am thinking about renting my church's kitchen at night in order to get around the inspection part...

MichelleM77 Posted 1 Jul 2008 , 4:13pm
post #21 of 24

hey cupcake! Nice to meet you!

I only know what I've read on the DOA website and from emailing a DOA rep with labeling questions. Here is a link to the info on the DOA website:

Cottage Food: http://www.ohioagriculture.gov/pubs/divs/food/curr/cottage/food-cottageindex.stm

Home Bakery: http://www.ohioagriculture.gov/pubs/divs/food/curr/cottage/food-homebakeryindex.stm

smoore Posted 1 Jul 2008 , 4:18pm
post #22 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by kansaswolf

Also, remember you can't use refrigerated FILLINGS in your cakes either... Or whipped cream as icing, etc., if the laws are similar to what they are here in Iowa. Iowa also has a cottage foods provision, but the licensing fee is so minimal ($25) that I'll probably get licensed sometime after I have this baby... icon_biggrin.gif So you might at least consider licensing if it's minimally invasive! Good luck!

The one question *I* haven't been able to find that maybe someone else knows is if there is a difference in one's ability to ADVERTISE under a cottage foods rule. Can I advertise that I sell cakes (posters, business cards, ads in the paper) without being licensed? (Granted, I think I'd RATHER be licensed, but *CAN* I advertise beforehand, is what I'm wondering...)




When I first started up, I wasn't sure about the advertising either, but I didn't see anything that said I couldn't. One way I comforted myself was by putting the required tag line on the ingredients label on my business cards/flyers, etc... The bottom of my business card actually states "All Products Are Home Produced" on it, so there's no question. Also, when I first was getting approached about doing cakes for others, I flat out told them I'm not licensed and I've got a dog -- not once did anyone even care ... in fact, they didn't care at all! They loved my cake and wanted more. Those that pick up cakes at my house not only see that my kitchen is clean and organized, but the rest of my house is pretty much the same. I've worked in restaurants through high school and college and can honestly say that my kitchen is 100 times cleaner than those kitchens, even with the dog!

MichelleM77 Posted 1 Jul 2008 , 4:21pm
post #23 of 24

According to this thread, Georgia is a no for home bakeries.

http://forum.cakecentral.com/cake-decorating-ftopict-32550.html

Here is a link to the GEorgia DOA:
http://agr.georgia.gov/02/doa/home/0,2473,38902732,00.html

cakelady15 Posted 1 Jul 2008 , 4:27pm
post #24 of 24

Thanks Michelleicon_smile.gif

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