Interested in starting a home-based food business? The good news is that you can sell food from home in North Carolina – as long as you know the rules! These are the Food Operations That Do Not Need Permits In NC.
Food Operations That Do Not Need Permits In NC
You are allowed to sell products from your farm, or home business without a permit or license. North Carolina also does not have restrictions on the venues used – which means you can also sell products online, or even wholesale to restaurants or grocery stores.
ONLY low risk foods are allowed to be sold in these situations. This includes baked goods, jams and jellies, dried mixes, candies, some sauces, spices, and pickles. All foods must be appropriately labeled. NO refrigerated/frozen products, low-acid canned foods, dairy, seafood, or bottled water is permitted to be sold by home processor operations.
All other food handling instances, including food trucks and catering WILL require a permit, even if you made the products in your home processor approved kitchen. These businesses have a different classification and rules to follow.
NC Cottage Food Law Explained
Technically, North Carolina does not have cottage food rules. They actually have “home processor” rules, and if you want to sell homemade food items – then you’ll need to adhere to these guidelines in order to do it.
- NO pets in the home at ANY time
- You must meet all federal food safety rules
- If you have well water, you will need an inspection
- You will need to register as a home processor
- You will be subject to a home inspection
- Food products limited to NON temperature controlled for safety
- Food labeling of products is required
North Carolina Food Labeling Requirements
ALL products must include: the manufacturer’s name and address, net weight of the product in ounces or pounds AND the gram weight, and a complete list of the ingredients in order of predominance by weight.
If products are made by consumer request to be in a bulk packaging, then you do not need to label each item. For example, a box of 10 cookies which are sold together can be labeled on the outside package rather than on each cookie.
How Do I Apply To Become a Home Food Processor In NC?
In order to apply, you must complete the form located on this page and then email it to the proper authority. Within 4-6 weeks of your application, you will be contacted and then an inspection of your home processing facility will be set-up. Based upon the opinion of the official who does the inspection, they may request a product sample for testing. This is mainly for “questionable” food like sauces, moist cakes or pies, etc.
Does North Carolina have income limits on cottage foods?
NO. Unlike many other states, North Carolina does not limit the dollar amount in sales you are allowed to make as a home food processor.
In closing, North Carolina is a great state to start a home-based food business, but it’s important to make sure you’re staying up to date with all of the laws so you can stay compliant.
Bob learned about farming from his grand dad. So, the decision to leave the city and start homesteading was not a difficult transition. He now lives with his wife and two kids on their 30 acre property in Ohio.