By: Cristina N. Hyde, JD
Two weeks ago, on October 4, 2021, New Jersey home bakers celebrated as the new rules creating a cottage food operator permit went into effect. An attempt to reconcile the right to run a business out of one’s home with important food and safety precautions, the rules establish a regulatory scheme for permitting, food preparation and sale.
In order to obtain a Cottage Food Operator Permit, small business owners must submit a completed application to the Public Health and Food Protection Program (PHFPP). The application, new regulations, and additional information can be found on the Department of Health’s Website. The fee for a Cottage Food Operator Permit and biennial renewal is $100.
Once cottage food operators receive a valid permit they must tailor production and sales to meet several guidelines including the following:
- Cottage food products must be non-TCS. Non-TCS foods are foods that do not support the growth of disease-causing bacteria; not needing time and temperature controls to remain safe for consumption. Examples of approved foods include baked goods, candy, chocolate covered nuts and dried fruit, dried herbs and seasonings, dried pasta, jams, jellies, preserves, fudge, nut butters, popcorn, and roasted coffee.
- Foods that do not appear on the enumerated list of approved foods, can only be produced after permission is granted through the submission of a written application to the PHFPP.
- Homemade products are subject to specific labeling instructions and home bakers must conspicuously display an operator’s cottage food permit if the point of sale is somewhere other than the home baker’s residence.
- Gross annual sales generated from the sale of cottage food products shall not exceed $50,000.
- The health authority shall be permitted access to a cottage food operator’s kitchen for compliance inspections or to investigate a complaint.
As we stated previously on August 24, 2021 , these regulations are a long overdue step to align New Jersey with the rest of the nation in supporting local small businesses and providing alternatives to unemployment.
If you would like assistance realizing a sweet dream of joining the cottage food industry or have questions about how the new regulations affect your existing business, Contact Us.