Cottage Food Law Pennsylvania

So you’re interested in selling baked goods from home in PA. Everything you need to know is under the cottage food law in Pennsylvania.

Although Pennsylvania calls cottage food establishments ‘limited food establishments’, the state law regarding these businesses is very similar to cottage laws in other states. This law allows food entrepreneurs to start a food business from their home kitchen. Essentially, it is the set of regulations permitting the production and sale of certain ‘low-risk’ food products made in home kitchens and subsequently sold to the public.

*Please note that Philadelphia County does not allow limited food establishments.

What can you sell under cottage food law Pennsylvania?

cottage food law pennsylvania

The state health department may evaluate individual items for approval, so this is not an exhaustive list of what you can sell.

  • Baked goods that do not require refrigeration
  • Jams and jellies
  • Beverages such as lemonade, root beer, and kombucha (only with pH less than 4.2)
  • Juice (must be tested for pH levels)
  • Canned, acidified, and fermented foods (must be tested for pH levels)
  • Most candies
  • Dry goods: cereals, coffee/tea, spices/seasonings, dry herbs, dry pasta, nuts/seeds and mixes, etc
  • Dehydrated foods: dried fruits/vegetables dried Herbs, beef/meat Jerkies, etc.
  • Condiments: honey/maple syrup & products, ketchup, mustards, vinegars, nut butters/spreads, dressings, sauces, oils (excluding garlic/oil mixtures, etc.)

As you can see, you may have to pay for product testing depending on what you want to sell. Fruit will always be tested for pH levels.

Becoming a Limited Food Processor

To become a limited food processor, you must apply to register as a limited food establishment. You must submit your application at least 60 days before you plan to open your business. This application requires:

  • A sales tax license or pending application for one (if needed)
  • A complete business plan
  • Product labels
  • Laboratory testing results (if applicable)
  • A list of products and product descriptions
  • Water, sewer, and waste info

If approved, then you will pay the registration fee and schedule a kitchen inspection with the county. At the time of writing, the registration fee is $35. You must renew your registration annually.

Labeling requirements

You must label everything you sell from your limited food establishment with the following information:

  1. Product name
  2. Ingredients, listed in descending order by weight
  3. Allergen statements
  4. Your business name and address
  5. Net Wt. or count (on the bottom 1/3 of the primary label and no less than 8 pt. font)

For additional information on operating a limited food establishment in Pennsylvania, check out Penn State’s resources.

Ready to start selling? Open a shop on Airmart!