Cottage Food Laws In Ohio

Business By amberlee416 Updated 4 Mar 2011 , 6:08am by jason_kraft

amberlee416 Posted 14 Apr 2009 , 5:34pm
post #1 of 78

Does anyone bake under the cottage food laws in ohio?? i actually would like to get licensed but right now i dont have the money to get my kitchen in order for inspection. I would like to bake under the cottage food laws, but i've been trying to get clear and definite answers on what exactly i have to do to stay legal with it. I have had no luck with figuring it out. I know i have to have everything labeled with all ingredients and that it has to say that it is a homemade product, but i need to know if i can advertise, and if i can sell to a retail establishment and they resell my products. also how would i go about my business name? does it cost more to get a name registered? Can i even have a business name with only being a "cottage baker" I'm in desperate need of some extra cash flow right now, so i'm trying to see about selling my cakes, cupcakes and cookies for some extra money.

77 replies
KHalstead Posted 14 Apr 2009 , 6:00pm
post #2 of 78

I do!!!!!
You can do anything any other business would do, except that you can't prepare foods that need refrigeration......so cheesecake is out!! I don't have my bus. name registered so I'm not sure about laws regarding that.............you can definitely advertise as much as you want. You are deemed a "legal" business in the state of Ohio when you operate under the cottage food laws. I contacted the dept. of agriculture and they said a "license" is $10.00 and basically said, "why bother?" unless you REALLY want to be able to tell people you're licensed!
The labeling is the important part, you need to have "Home-Baked" on your labels, along with a list of ingredients, (even if you use a boxed mix)and the weight of the item (I weigh the whole thing when it's boxed and write in the weight). I use avery address labels and have one label with all the home-baked info. and one label with my bus. name, address, phone number, web site addy.
I'll attach a pic. of my labels for ya!

*edited to say: You're more than welcome to use THESE labels that I made too...if you feed in a sheet of Avery #8160 address labels and hit print you'll have a whole page of them!

You can go to avery . com and "design and print" online and make your own too....but you're more than welcome to these if you'd like

amberlee416 Posted 14 Apr 2009 , 6:15pm
post #3 of 78

Thank you sooooo much!! Do you use a business name? or just your name? How do i go about taxes and such at the end of the year? I used to do Pampered chef, would it be like when i did my taxes for that? just need all receipts for deductions. Sorry i'm asking so many questions, i'm just a little slow at the business side, this is my first venture by myself so i want to get all my i's dotted and t's crossed. When i called the state they didnt tell me very much, and in fact that guy told me to contact city hall for more info, that didnt make much sense to me because the parts that i did find on the internet said it was the states. Also one thing i found said the ingredients had to be in descending order by weight, is that how you do it?

KHalstead Posted 14 Apr 2009 , 6:31pm
post #4 of 78

My business name is "Tina's Sugar Shack", I don't have it registered or anything though...but I'm advertising (for free) on just about every place online I could find as well as word of mouth where I live and I'm PLENTY busy!
As for the taxes, the Ohio dept. of taxation told me to just claim the "extra income" like you would any extra income.
Personally I keep an expense log where I keep receipts for cake supplies, etc. that I purchase (I keep them in a big envelope and staple them together by the month ie: everything purchased during March gets stapled together, etc.)
I also have Cake Boss (pc program) and I can go into my reports and check March 1,2009 through March 31, 2009 and it totals up all of my sales
Then I subtract that from all of my receipts and I have a total amount of "money made" during the month of March
I have a new expense report for every month and keep them all in a folder (on my pc)
so at the end of the year, I add up all the m onths and claim it as extra income...but if I'm ever audited I've got all my proof including each individual detailed cake order (on Cake Boss), all my receipts for purchases and a log of everything itemized.

There may be another way of doing it, but this is how I do it!

You'd be amazed at how LITTLE money you make!! lol
I don't have a whole lot to claim at the end of the year only because I tend to buy a LOT of supplies!!
Like extra pans and such, I keep track of everything including greeting cards that I give to my brides!

I can email you my expense report for march if you'd like to see how it's laid out...it's very simple I just made it with Microsoft Office Excel

amberlee416 Posted 14 Apr 2009 , 6:55pm
post #5 of 78

Thank you so much, but i dont have excel, so i wouldnt be able to open the file. You have helped me bunches, thank you thank you thank you!!!

cakelady15 Posted 14 Apr 2009 , 7:28pm
post #6 of 78

You don't have to register your business name to use it, but it would be a good idea to visit the secretary of state website to make sure that nobody else has it registered. If they do and you use it, you could be in a mess of legal trouble. If you decide to register it, it costs $50 and is good for 5 years. The health department only charges $10 for your license. They are mostly looking for a clean kitchen, no pets, and that you have a refrigerator that holds it temperature (you do have to have a thermometer in your refrigerator). Other than that there wouldn't really be any extra equipment or anything that they would be looking for. Khalstead was right when she said you can't sell anything that needs refrigerated if you aren't licensed. You also can't sell to a retail establishment and have them resell your goods if you aren't licensed. One of the best things about being licensed is you don't have to mess with those pesky labels. That was worth getting licensed to me. icon_biggrin.gif

KHalstead Posted 14 Apr 2009 , 8:46pm
post #7 of 78

One more thing I forgot to mention is that you can only sell to people who will be consuming the product in Ohio.....I live right on the Pennsylvania border and I can't sell a thing to anyone across the line. I've had a couple people pick up cakes and take them to Pa. but I didn't know about it at the time......but I can't ship cookies and stuff in the mail to people out of state unless it's for free!

cakelady15 Posted 14 Apr 2009 , 8:49pm
post #8 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by KHalstead

One more thing I forgot to mention is that you can only sell to people who will be consuming the product in Ohio.....I live right on the Pennsylvania border and I can't sell a thing to anyone across the line. I've had a couple people pick up cakes and take them to Pa. but I didn't know about it at the time......but I can't ship cookies and stuff in the mail to people out of state unless it's for free!




Oh yeah that's a good one. I forgot about that. icon_lol.gif

hellie0h Posted 15 Apr 2009 , 9:12am
post #9 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by cupcake900

You don't have to register your business name to use it, but it would be a good idea to visit the secretary of state website to make sure that nobody else has it registered. If they do and you use it, you could be in a mess of legal trouble. If you decide to register it, it costs $50 and is good for 5 years. The health department only charges $10 for your license. They are mostly looking for a clean kitchen, no pets, and that you have a refrigerator that holds it temperature (you do have to have a thermometer in your refrigerator). Other than that there wouldn't really be any extra equipment or anything that they would be looking for. Khalstead was right when she said you can't sell anything that needs refrigerated if you aren't licensed. You also can't sell to a retail establishment and have them resell your goods if you aren't licensed. One of the best things about being licensed is you don't have to mess with those pesky labels. That was worth getting licensed to me. icon_biggrin.gif




I have sold baked goods off and on over the years thru the Cottage Foods. Years ago, at a farmers market, the Dept. of Ag. guy came to my booth, I did not label, he nicely told me that I needed to do that.

I only have a rare paid cake now a days, but wanted to refresh my memory of the cottage regulations. With that said, I just wanted to take note of a couple of things cupcake stated about where you can sell and labeling. Unlicensed persons can sell to retail,this quote was taken from the Dept of Ag page.

Where may a Cottage Food Production Operations Sell their Food Products?

Cottage Food Products may only be sold in Ohio. Cottage Food Products that are properly identified and labeled may be sold directly to the consumer from the site where the products are produced; sold through grocery stores, farm markets, farmers markets, etc.; sold and/or used in preparing food in a restaurant.

Any yes, a Licensed Home baker has to label their food products as well, again taken from the fact sheet.

What is a Home Bakery?

A "Home Bakery" is described in Chapter 911 of the Ohio Revised Code. A person that operates a "home bakery" is a person that:

1.) Bakes products such as cakes, cookies, pies, brownies, breads, and bakery products that require refrigeration (i.e. cheesecakes, cream pies, etc.);

2.) Bakes the products only in their own home;

3.) Is limited to the use of one home-style oven;

4.) Correctly labels the products produced;

5.) Has their kitchen inspected by the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA), and

6.) Obtains a "home bakery registration" from the ODA.

Here is the link if anyone is interested, the fact sheet page.
http://www.agri.ohio.gov/divs/FoodSafety/foodsafety.aspx#tog

amberlee416 Posted 15 Apr 2009 , 3:35pm
post #10 of 78

that is one thing i did get outta the guy i talked to from the dept of agriculture, is that you can sell to retail places and they can resell.

amberlee416 Posted 15 Apr 2009 , 4:03pm
post #11 of 78

ok this one may be a stupid question, but i could advertise on craigslist couldn't i ??

hellie0h Posted 15 Apr 2009 , 4:48pm
post #12 of 78

You can advertise anywhere you want. There is no regulation that prevents you from this. In Ohio, you are legal as Cottage or Licensed Home Bakery. If you are serious about this venture, and don't want to invest a lot of $ CraigsList is a way to start. You can print up brochures, business cards ect. You may even want to contact your local newspaper about doing an article on your business, you never know.
I wish you the very best.

amberlee416 Posted 15 Apr 2009 , 5:06pm
post #13 of 78

Thank you all very much, you have all been very helpful.

amy81 Posted 16 Apr 2009 , 2:40am
post #14 of 78

I am wanting to start selling in Ohio also under the Cottage Food laws. I have a question about listing the ingredients. If I were to use a boxed cake mix or brownie mix, etc, do I need to list all of the ingredients that are in the mix or do I just list that I used boxed cake mix? The same thing with things like flour, shortening, etc...?

Also what do you mean about the weight? Do you mean the total weight of the finished product or the weight of each ingredient?

Sorry if I'm asking too much. I just want to make sure that when I start to sell that I am doing everything the way it should be done.

amberlee416 Posted 16 Apr 2009 , 3:39pm
post #15 of 78

If i read everything correct i believe you have to list all ingredients, as in if you use boxed, you have to list all ingredients in the boxed mix. I just got a fact sheet from the dept of agriculture today and it says that you have to list the net weight or net volume of the food product. It also says the ingredients have to be listed in descending order of predominace by weight. I hope this helps you, i know how confusing this is i'm just starting out too. On a side note here, i posted on craigslist last night and i already have someone interested for a birthday cake in july YAY!!!

amy81 Posted 16 Apr 2009 , 4:39pm
post #16 of 78

Thanks.

That's great that you already have someone interested in a cake. thumbs_up.gif I might have to check about Craigslist when I am ready to get started. I'm kind of waiting until I get a few more of the wilton classes under my belt before I advertise.

amberlee416 Posted 16 Apr 2009 , 4:41pm
post #17 of 78

If you dont mind me asking, what part of ohio are you from?

amy81 Posted 16 Apr 2009 , 5:22pm
post #18 of 78

I'm in Brown County, in southern Ohio. How about you (if you don't care to tell me)?

amberlee416 Posted 16 Apr 2009 , 5:28pm
post #19 of 78

I'm in Auglaize county, Northwestern ohio.

babycakes0022 Posted 16 Apr 2009 , 5:41pm
post #20 of 78

I got my license in 2007 just before the laws changed in Ohio, according to my home inspector. The license costs $10 every year to maintain. He also told me that if I were to sell my cakes to a retail business like Walmart for example I would need to put a label on the box indicating the ingredients and my business name and address. But if I was just selling them myself I did not need to do that. I am lucky because my license will allow me to sell anywhere in the U.S. and I can make cakes requiring refrigeration because I applied under the old laws, per my home inspector.

Brownie1954 Posted 16 Apr 2009 , 5:47pm
post #21 of 78

I have worked out of my home four out of the six years my business has been opened. Contact me with any questions you may have, and I would be glad to try and answer them. I'm from the Dayton area.
icon_smile.gif

sambugjoebear Posted 16 Apr 2009 , 5:54pm
post #22 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by amberlee416

I'm in Auglaize county, Northwestern ohio.





So am I!! We should have a cake-date icon_smile.gif

amberlee416 Posted 16 Apr 2009 , 6:18pm
post #23 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by sambugjoebear

Quote:
Originally Posted by amberlee416

I'm in Auglaize county, Northwestern ohio.




So am I!! We should have a cake-date icon_smile.gif




HA!! Same town even thats too cool

amberlee416 Posted 16 Apr 2009 , 6:21pm
post #24 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brownie1954

I have worked out of my home four out of the six years my business has been opened. Contact me with any questions you may have, and I would be glad to try and answer them. I'm from the Dayton area.
icon_smile.gif




Thank you for the offer, i will more than likely be contacting you, because i know i will continue to have questions come along.

sambugjoebear Posted 16 Apr 2009 , 6:27pm
post #25 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by amberlee416

Quote:
Originally Posted by sambugjoebear

Quote:
Originally Posted by amberlee416

I'm in Auglaize county, Northwestern ohio.




So am I!! We should have a cake-date icon_smile.gif



HA!! Same town even thats too cool




icon_eek.gifthumbs_up.gif Now how bizarre is that?!

Just found out yesterday that there's another cake person here too- haven't met her yet though and don't know if she's on CC. Small world, eh?

amberlee416 Posted 16 Apr 2009 , 6:34pm
post #26 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by sambugjoebear

Quote:
Originally Posted by amberlee416

Quote:
Originally Posted by sambugjoebear

Quote:
Originally Posted by amberlee416

I'm in Auglaize county, Northwestern ohio.




So am I!! We should have a cake-date icon_smile.gif



HA!! Same town even thats too cool



icon_eek.gifthumbs_up.gif Now how bizarre is that?!

Just found out yesterday that there's another cake person here too- haven't met her yet though and don't know if she's on CC. Small world, eh?




Who is it? i know of one other person that bakes from her home. Pm me with her name if you know it i might know her.

Brownie1954 Posted 16 Apr 2009 , 6:48pm
post #27 of 78

You're welcome...I did want to ask you now....In your county, do you need a vendor's license to sell your product? I have one, and I have to show proof of it a lot of times when I want to sell somewhere. I am interested in how things are handled in other counties. I am in Montgomery Count. Have a great day! icon_smile.gif

amberlee416 Posted 16 Apr 2009 , 7:00pm
post #28 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brownie1954

You're welcome...I did want to ask you now....In your county, do you need a vendor's license to sell your product? I have one, and I have to show proof of it a lot of times when I want to sell somewhere. I am interested in how things are handled in other counties. I am in Montgomery Count. Have a great day! icon_smile.gif




I dont know, thats a good question, i have talked to the health dept. and the dept of agriculture, but no one has said anything to me about a vendors license, who would i need to contact about that?

Brownie1954 Posted 16 Apr 2009 , 10:23pm
post #29 of 78

You know, it's weird. I was told six years ago that you didn't have to have one. My original reason for wanting one was so I could purchase taxable items like cake boards etc. and be tax exempt.
There is a rule in the state of Ohio taxing laws that if you use a vendor's license, you have to show that you have had taxable items sold within that tax year. So, for me, I sell Gift Baskets and Boxes. When I had a shop, I also sold pop which has to be taxed. I would ask about you just doing cakes, as you don't tax them. How do hang onto your vendor's license without taxable items to sell?
Later down the road, when I wanted to sell at the Taste of Miamisburg event, and participate in other events, I had to show proof a vendor's license. If you didn't have one for some events, you coudn't participate. I had to have it hung where customers could see it in the shop when it was open.
I got mine down at our County building downtown Dayton. I would imagine that you would have to go to a similar place where you live. Check into an EIN number too as it ties in with paying taxes. I canl send you an email address where you can apply for this.
You can have a name for your business, but be careful. As someone already told you, you have to check to make sure no one already has that name. It can cause big problems if you use that name, and it's taken.
Find out about protecting your business name. If you don't, anyone at any time can take that name away from you and use it. I have information about doing a mess of this stuff. If and when you are ready, email me, and I will give the info you need.
Got to close this "book" Have a good night. Gael

babycakes0022 Posted 17 Apr 2009 , 1:22pm
post #30 of 78

Brownie1954 is correct about requiring a vendor's license to sell cakes at festivals and such. I was told the same thing. If you are selling them from your home business it is not needed.

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