Many states regulate the sale of homemade foods, also known as “cottage foods.” These regulations are often regarded as necessary for food safety. Indiana has been loosening its laws in this area over the last 15 years, so let’s look at where we stand now after the enactment of Indiana House Bill 1149.
First, let’s look at regulations on the production of these foods. Indiana does not require any registration or inspection of your home kitchen before you may begin producing cottage foods. In localities (towns, cities, or counties) that might have local ordinances requiring such, Indiana law overrides those ordinances and allows home kitchens to proceed without inspections or registration. Indiana also does not require any licensure or permitting to produce homemade foods for sale. While some states require government approval of the recipes or even lab testing, Indiana does not. What Indiana does require is for at least one person who works in the home kitchen to have a food handler’s certification. These can be obtained through vendors such as ServSafe, NRFSP, Always Food Safe, or another approved provider.
Next, we will address sales regulations. There is no annual cap on how much homemade food you may sell in Indiana. That said, you may not sell homemade goods to retail outlets. This includes grocery and food stores as well as restaurants. However, cottage foods may be sold direct-to-consumer in any location in Indiana. This can be from your own store or stand, such as at a local farmer’s markets, or even through mail order from an online website.
Finally, what kinds of foods may a cottage food maker sell? For one, you can sell any shelf-stable food. These are foods that do not require refrigeration and include baked goods, jerky, etc. Refrigerated baked goods is another class of food that homemade kitchens are allowed to produce. Fresh and frozen meat is not allowed except for poultry or rabbit that the producers have raised themselves. Cottage food providers may not sell canned goods in Indiana, nor may they sell acidified or pickled foods. However, they may sell fermented foods.
If you have any questions about the new law or you would like legal advice for your homemade food business, please contact the Indiana small business attorneys at McNeelyLaw LLP for all your legal needs.
This McNeelyLaw LLP publication should not be construed as legal advice or legal opinion of any specific facts or circumstances. The contents are intended for general informational purposes only, and you are urged to consult your own lawyer on any specific legal questions you may have concerning your situation.