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Cottage food laws in Virginia

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
I am having difficulty finding any information on the cottage food law in Virginia. I have called the places in Richmond, but they have not returned my calls yet. I just had a few basic questions if anyone wouldn't mind helping me out. Also I have already sent away for and paid for my business and sellers license as well as a DBA.
1. How much money are we allowed to make under the cottage food law.
2. Do we have to get health inspected as long as our food is labeled correctly.
3. Do we pay any fees aside from taxes.
Thank you ahead of time for any input! : )
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post #2 of 26
There is a home-based baking law in Virginia, I had a copy of it but I can't find it now. I was talking to the inspector about it the last time he was here and he gave me a copy.

I don't remember there being any kind of income threshold associated with it, but you do have to limit the things that you make to non-perishables, and everything has to be labelled that it came from a non-inspected facility.

Getting an inspection here is really easy, so I'd recommend that you go ahead and get inspected. It's a good selling point. I personally wouldn't buy anything from a non-inspected facility since I know that the inspections are an option.

I'll look around and see if I can find the copy of the bill...
post #3 of 26
Here it is... http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?081+ful+SB272ER+pdf


Section three is the one that pertains to home baking. This is just the manufacturing part of it, I don't know about any income limits.
post #4 of 26
Thread Starter 
Thank you so much. I will get an inspection, as it will hopefully help gain more customers.
post #5 of 26
I don't know who you've been calling, but you need to talk to the Dept of Agriculture about licensing. They do tend to be hard to get in touch with, but once you do they're helpful.
post #6 of 26
Be aware that there are certain conditions your kitchen and home must meet to be certified. I have an indoor pet, so my kitchen does not meet the specifications. That's not the only thing, just enough reason for me to stop pursuing it.
"Begin at the beginning and go on till you come to the end; then stop." Alice in Wonderland
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"Begin at the beginning and go on till you come to the end; then stop." Alice in Wonderland
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post #7 of 26
When I spoke with the Dep. Of Agriculture, they told me having an indoor pet doesn't disqualify me. They said I would just have to make sure the dog is not on the same floor (or maybe it was the same area) when I am baking. I spoke to a supervisor about it but I really hope I received the right info!! icon_redface.gif
I am a scratch baker working towards becoming a decorator, too Man, I hope practice really makes perfect
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I am a scratch baker working towards becoming a decorator, too Man, I hope practice really makes perfect
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post #8 of 26
Well, I live in a one floor house, but they did not give me the option of keeping him out of the area when I was baking. They just said it was a no go. Perhaps the enforcement varies by area.
"Begin at the beginning and go on till you come to the end; then stop." Alice in Wonderland
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"Begin at the beginning and go on till you come to the end; then stop." Alice in Wonderland
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post #9 of 26
Aww, I really hope that is the case! I kind of went through an emotional rollercoaster because I read the packet from the Dept. of Agriculture and gathered that I could not have an indoor pet. Then after reading otherwise in another thread here, I called them, confirmed that I could do it and it seemed that the clouds opened up for me.

Now, I have to deal with zoning because I live in a townhome and may not qualify to have a home based business icon_cry.gif (even though I would not have anyone come to my home). I think they said I would have to pay $2-400 (and an at least 6 month wait) icon_eek.gif to go before the board for special consideration.

This is a great topic and we can share our experiences as Virginians. thumbs_up.gif
I am a scratch baker working towards becoming a decorator, too Man, I hope practice really makes perfect
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I am a scratch baker working towards becoming a decorator, too Man, I hope practice really makes perfect
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post #10 of 26
Thread Starter 
Oh man, I didn't know there were zoning procdures. I live in a trailer and that may disqualify me and I also have an indoor pet. Goodness. I hope it all works out!
post #11 of 26
I have a cat, and the inspector told me that they can't tell people not to have pets. You have to keep them out of the kitchen area, and it's best to keep them out of the area entirely, but it shouldn't disqualify you unless there's a specific local regulation.

As far as the townhouse thing goes, that sounds like a homeowner's association rule rather than a state rule. I had a friend who had a cake business in an apartment, and she had two cats on top of that. The inspector came to her apartment and gave her a passing grade, so just because you're in an apartment shouldn't disqualify you. If you move into a house that has a homeowner's association and you signed their contract that says you can't run a business out of your home, though, that's a separate issue.
post #12 of 26
I am considering starting a home bakery and trying to figure out what all I need to do to be legal. This has been really helpful in terms of the inspection. Just out of curiousity, where to do I go/contact to be legal in terms of taxes and licenses? We just moved to VA a few months ago and am still trying to figure this state out! Thanks for the help! icon_smile.gif
post #13 of 26
Thread Starter 
You can call the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services at 804/786-3501 : )
post #14 of 26
This post is incredibly helpful! I've called the number and am waiting for my packet. In the meantime, I'm a bit nervous because the lady on the phone asked me if I had 2 sinks. I live in an apartment with only one kitchen sink. Does anyone know if the bathroom sink counts as one of 2 or do they want you to have a special sink just for commercial baking? Thanks!
post #15 of 26
You should check the Arlington rules. I have a friend who lived there, I was under the impression she moved out of Arlington in order to bake out of her house.
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