Food producers who want to sell food under South Carolina’s Cottage Food Law must follow the guidelines set forth by the Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC). A cottage food operation is a home-based food operation that operates out of an individual’s home that prepares, packages, stores, and distributes non-potentially hazardous baked foods and candy to the end consumer. The text of the full Cottage Law (SC 44-1-143 H) can be found at: http://www.scstatehouse.gov/sess119_2011-2012/bills/4689.htm
There is no application for producing a cottage food. All food production must be in the home kitchen. Once you move out of your home kitchen to prepare products, a permit issued by SCDHEC is required. Additionally, you may only sell to the end consumer (i.e. the person who intends to eat the food). You may not sell to a retail food establishment or sell your products at a retail food establishment (this includes permitted mobile food units). You may sell your product at venues such as farmer’s and flea markets.
The Cottage Law covers non-potentially hazardous baked goods and hard candy that are sold directly to the end consumer. These foods cannot be sold for re-sale. Note that moist quick breads like zucchini, pumpkin, and banana may be potentially hazardous and may require product analysis. Canned and jarred foods are not covered by the law and are not eligible for exemption.
If a product is not listed, the person can determine if it is non-potentially hazardous by contacting Dr. Kimberly Baker (email@example.com) or Adair Hoover (firstname.lastname@example.org). A product analysis to determine the interaction of pH and/or water activity (Aw) is required to exempt any product not listed above. Analysis will be at the expense of the cottage food operation.
To sell non-potentially hazardous baked goods and hard candy under the cottage law, the producer is required to follow all regulations as stated under the law and enforced by DHEC. However, registration with DHEC is not required to sell these items under the cottage law.
Products for sale under the Cottage Food Law must be labeled. Labels must include:
Additionally information on labeling is available at http://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/GuidanceDocumentsRegulatoryInformation/LabelingNutrition/ucm2006828.htm .
Question regarding the Home Baked Food Production Law (i.e. The “Cottage Law”) should be directed to DHEC Division of Food Protection (803-896-0640)Sources
Prepared by Tabetha Woodside, Food Science Intern, Adair Hoover, HGIC Food Safety Specialist, and Kimberly Baker, Food Safety Extension Associate, Clemson University. (New 06/16.)
This information is supplied with the understanding that no discrimination is intended and no endorsement by the Clemson University Cooperative Extension Service is implied. All recommendations are for South Carolina conditions and may not apply to other areas. Use pesticides only according to the directions on the label. All recommendations for pesticide use are for South Carolina only and were legal at the time of publication, but the status of registration and use patterns are subject to change by action of state and federal regulatory agencies. Follow all directions, precautions and restrictions that are listed.