Can I Sell my Home-Canned Jellies & Jams at the Local Farmer's Market?

Adair Hoover, Program Assistant
Home& Garden Information Center

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There are many accomplished home canners in South Carolina. If you are one of them who regularly produces tasty products that are in high demand from friends and family you may be wondering if you should take the next step and sell your products. In the State of South Carolina it is not legal to sell home-canned foods at any type of retail or wholesale establishment. This includes farmer’s markets, roadside markets, flea markets, produce stands and any other retail establishment.

The first step in legally selling jams, jellies and preserves is to confirm that you are producing an acid product that is shelf stable. Most jams, jellies and preserves are acid foods meaning that they have a natural pH of 4.6 or below, they may include small amounts of low acid foods but have a resultant finished equilibrium pH that does not significantly differ from that of the predominant acid or acid food. Canned acid foods receive a thermal process (boiling water bath) for example, which permits the finished product to be stored, distributed and retailed under normal non-refrigerated conditions. If you are unsure about the acidity of your final product you may send canned/jarred/bottled foods to Clemson University: Dr. Scott Whiteside, wwhtsd@clemson.edu (864-656-6246 or 864-656-3397) or NC State University: Dr. Fletcher Arritt, fletcher_arritt@ncsu.edu or Tristan Berry, tkberry@ncsu.edu (919/513-2090) for product analysis. In addition, Dr. Whiteside or Dr. Arritt and Mr. Berry can assist with the required label information.

Next, you must meet the requirements of The South Carolina Department of Agriculture (SCDA).

In order to sell jams, jellies and preserves:

  • Your product must be manufactured in an inspected and registered facility. A home kitchen IS NOT an acceptable facility. Some food entrepreneurs have utilized a local restaurant (after their normal business hours) or other inspected food facility to manufacture their products.
  • Contact Angie Culler at aculler@scda.sc.gov or 803-734-7321 to register with SCDA and schedule an initial visit/consultation.
  • Your product must meet the Federal Drug Administration requirements for food labeling and Standards of Identity http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfcfr/CFRSearch.cfm?CFRPart=150&showFR=1&subpartNode=21:2.0.1.1.29.2. Once you are confident that your product meets these requirements, SCDA will review labels for compliance with federal labeling law.

Lastly, once your business has been approved and established, be prepared for routine food safety inspections by the SCDA. For more information on starting a food business in South Carolina visit the Clemson University Home & Garden Information Center (HGIC): http://www.clemson.edu/extension/hgic/food/food_safety/business/

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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.