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Cottage Food Operations

Food Preparation in a Private Home

A Cottage Food Operation (CFO) is an enterprise at a private home where low-risk (non-potentially hazardous) food products are prepared or packaged
for sale to consumers.

AB 1616 -  California Homemade Food Act for Cottage Food Operations goes into effect January 1, 2013.

All individuals engaged in a Cottage Food Operation must be Registered/Permitted by the County of Lake, Department of Environmental Health.

California Homemade Food Act
Cottage Food Operator Overview
Cottage Food Operator Approved Food List (updated 2017)

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has established a list of current approved foods that meet the definition as non-potentially hazardous. Additional foods may be added and removed through a 30-day process. The list of current approved foods includes the following:

Baked goods without cream, custard or meat fillings, such as breads, biscuits, churros, cookies, pastries,  and tortillas
Candy, such as brittle and toffee
Chocolate-covered nonperishable foods, such as nuts and dried fruits
Dried fruit
Dried pasta
Dry baking mixes
Granolas, cereals, and trail mixes
Fruit pies, fruit empanadas, and fruit tamales
Herb blends and dried mole paste
Honey and sweet sorghum syrup
Jams, jellies, preserves, and fruit butter that comply with the standard described in Part 150 of Title 21 of the Code of Federal Regulations  * see below
Nut mixes and nut butters
Vinegar and mustard
Roasted coffee and dried tea
Waffle cones and pizelles
Cotton Candy
Candied Apples
Confections such as salted caramel, fudge, marshmallow bars, chocolate covered marshmallow, nuts, and hard candy, or any combination thereof
Buttercream frosting, buttercream icing, buttercream fondant, and gum paste that do not contain eggs, cream, or cream cheese
Dried or dehydrated vegetables
Dried vegetarian-based soup mixes
Vegetable and potato chips
Ground chocolate
Seasoning salt

*Jams, jellies, preserves, and fruit butter: Cottage food operations which produce jams, jellies, preserves, and other related products must be sure that their products meet the legal established standards of identity requirements for those products as set forth in  21 CFR Part 150.  The purpose of the regulation is to maintain the integrity of the food product to ensure consumers consistently get what they expect.  The product name and ingredients listed on the label must be factual and comply with the legal definitions and standards of identity or the product may be considered misbranded.  Products made with other ingredients that are not defined in 21 CFR 150 cannot be produced by cottage food operations.  Addition of other ingredients or alteration of ingredient profiles changes the chemistry of the food, which can allow the growth of various bacteria and toxins under the right conditions For example, addition of peppers (i.e. jalapeno pepper) to make pepper jelly is not supported by 21 CFR 150 and the addition of this low acid ingredient could cause the formation of botulism toxin in the product if the proper controls are not used.

Cottage Food Operator Registration / Permitting Form
Cottage Food Operations Self Certification Checklist
CDPH Processed Food Registration Application

California Department of Public Health - Processed Food Registration Information