Ok seeing these posts about starting illegally have me a little worried. Am I correct that VA is a cottage Food Law state? The last thing I want to do is put my family in a bad situation. Especially since I am doing this for fun and its not "needed". I have intentions on eventually becoming inspected and insured... but only if I turn out to be any good
I am just wanting to make sure that in VA it is ok to sell cakes baked in my home. I tried googling it but ended up confused
Yes, but it's still not legal everywhere in VA. I do believe, and I may be wrong, but cottage law, means you can get a business license without a having to get a kitchen inspection. There's some wording that you're also supposed to put on each of your cakes that say something about coming from an uninspected kitchen. You can google it and it's here on the forum somewhere.
ANDaniels, this is the information that I received from the VDACS:
Home Food Processor Exemption (SB272)
Legislation modifies section 3.2-5130 of the Virginia Food Laws in that it grants an exemption from inspection for home operations that process certain foods. The exemption applies to candies, baked goods that do not require time or temperature control after preparation, jams, and jellies not considered to be low acid or acidified food products. These products may only be sold to an individual for his own consumption and not for resale. This exemption applies only to foods sold from the processors private home or at a farmersâ market. In addition to the required âstandard labelingâ (name of product; name and address of the manufacturer, distributor, or packer, net weight statement, and ingredients statement), the product label must state exactly âNOT FOR RESALE-PROCESSED AND PREPARED WITHOUT STATE INSPECTION.â If all of the requirements above are not met you will be subject to state inspection.
The way this is worded seems like it is a state-wide exemption, but check with the local Dept. of Ag to be sure.
Look for further discussions here on VA cottage law. I've looked in the past and believe that others have said that Virginia Beach allows cottage law, but Hampton doesn't. I can't remember the lady's name, but she's from Richmond and quite knowledgeab;e on the subject as well as getting certified.
The state has a cottage food law that was passwed a few years ago, but there are rules about what ou can prepare, how it has to be labelled, etc. There are also laws that vary between counties abotu whether or not you can bake from home, so even with the cottage food law your area might not allow home businesses. You also have to collect sales tax even if you're not inspected, so I'd assume that you have to get a business license and file for a sales tax ID. When I filed for my LLC I had to get the license, then get the sales tax ID, then go back to the business license office to complete the process.
Where are you in VA? You should probably call your county's Dept of Agriculture office and ask them what any restrictions are. Make sure you have a copy of the cottage food law on hand to read to them when they tell you it isn't a cottage food law state, because depending on who you talk to they won't know that you can bake form home now.
Make sure you're not using anything that's perishable or needs refrigeration, and that might include butter in your icing depending on how they define that. Again, you'd have to ask the Dept of agriculture what the restrictions are. I'm inspected and they gave me a hard time about meringue buttercreams, I had to explain the whole process of making it and assure them that everything is refrigerated.
You also have to label everything with something that says "This product was produced in a non-inspected facility" or something to that effect. Ask them if there's specific wording for that.