For new food entrepreneurs, the home kitchen is where most products are born. However, a transition to production at contract manufacturing facilities allows for commercial-scale production of packaged goods and the safety requirements and quality assurance protocols required for food products. But what if you want to manage production? Can you manufacture legally in your home kitchen? Are there special guidelines or restrictions for producing food products in a residential location? Do I need special equipment within my home for production?
Maureen Lee, of Food Service Solutions, sat down with our FBU team to discuss “Cottage Food Laws” and how they affect startups. Simply speaking, a Cottage Food Law is a state law that allows you to produce food from your home. In the early 1990s, it was recommended nationally that all food made in a home residence not be sold in a commercial food establishment. Over the next 10+ years states across the country have overturned that earlier recommendation and have adopted Cottage Food Laws. Lee stressed that entrepreneurs use a resource such as Forrager (http://forrager.com/laws) to determine what laws are on the books in your local area.
Once you determine if you’re legally allowed to produce in your state you will then have to find out what additional regulations you must follow. Lee discusses some of the equipment that you will need for your home kitchen and sanitation requirements. While Lee’s comments are geared for Massachusetts residents, her comments give a great foundation for all startups across the country. Watch the following video — which we have made available for free — and then continue on with the rest of her teachings from our interview (subscription required).