Legalities of Baking and Selling Cakes in Ohio

2 Feb


Many often ask me questions about getting started baking and selling cakes from home, and the legalities of doing so along with who to contact. I have provided all the information that is available for the state of Ohio, but those in other states you will have to research and find the laws for your particular area.  

  There are many laws when it comes to creating food products for the public. Some states require you to have a license to do cakes from your home, they may require a commercial kitchen which is inspected by the local health dept. Some states may allow you to bake certain kinds of things from your home without a license.   

Not all states are created equal when it comes to Baking from Home…..It is your responsibility to find out the laws in your particular state regarding baking and selling cakes from your home. To begin your research about the laws in your states for those interested in home baking you can contact your local Health Dept. or the Dept. of Agriculture.  

Here in Ohio you can bake and sell cakes from home as long as you don’t create cakes or pies that could spoil, it’s actually called the Cottage Food Regulations. You are permitted to bake non-potentially hazardous baked goods in your home and sell them anywhere in Ohio as long as they are properly labeled. Non-potentially hazardous baked goods include baked goods that do not need refrigeration to keep them from spoiling such as cheese cakes and cream pies. Regular cakes and cookies do fall under the Cottage Foods Regulations. You must label everything that you sell from your home, I have included the Factsheet from the Dept of Agriculture on this subject for those in Ohio who want all the details!!  

For further information contact,  

Ohio Dept of Agriculture and Food Safety/  

8995 E. Main St  

Reynoldsburg, OH 43068  



Below is the Factsheet regarding all the details of Baking and Selling Cakes from Home to the Public within the State of Ohio……..

 Ohio Department of Agriculture – Updated as of June 22, 2009 


 A “Cottage Food Production Operation” is defined in Chapter 3715 of the Ohio Revised Code to mean a person who,  

“Home” means the primary residence occupied by the residence’s owner, on the condition that the residence contains only one stove or oven used for cooking, which may be a double oven, designed for common residence usage and not for commercial usage, and that the stove or oven be operated in an ordinary kitchen within the residence.  

in the person’s home, produces food items that are not potentially hazardous foods, including bakery products, jams, jellies, candy, fruit butter, and similar products specified in the rule. These foods must be labeled properly or they will be considered misbranded or adulterated.

Manufactured for Sale or Distribution by a Cottage Food Production Operation? to be are PermittedWhat Foods


Bakery products (such as cookies, breads, brownies, cakes, pies, etc.); candy (including no-bake cookies, chocolate covered pretzels or similar chocolate covered non-perishable items); jams; jellies and fruit butter as defined in Chapter 3715 of the Ohio Revised Code. 


The new cottage food rule has expanded allowable products to include: granola, granola bars, granola bars dipped in candy; popcorn, flavored popcorn, kettle corn, popcorn balls, caramel corn; unfilled baked donuts; waffle cones; pizzelles; dry cereal and nut snack mixes with seasonings; roasted coffee, whole beans or ground; dry baking mixes in a jar, including cookie mix in a jar; dry herbs and herb blends; dry seasoning blends; and dry tea blends.  

What Foods are Not Allowed to be Manufactured for Sale or Distribution by a Cottage Food Production Operation? 


A “Cottage Food Production Operation” is 


not permitted to process acidified foods, low-acid canned foods, potentially hazardous foods or non-potentially hazardous foods not listed above

. Low acid food means any food with a finished equilibrium pH greater than 4.6 and a water activity greater than 0.85. Acidified food means a low acid food to which acids or acid foods are added (Ex. Beans, cucumbers, cabbage, puddings, etc.). Potentially hazardous food means it requires temperature control because it is in a form capable of supporting the rapid and progressive growth of infectious or toxigenic microorganisms (Ex. Raw or cooked animal products, cooked vegetables, garlic in oil, cheese cakes, pumpkin pies, custard pies, cream pies, etc.). What are the Requirements for the Labeling of Cottage Food Products? 


A “Cottage Food Production Operation” is required to label all of their food products and include the following information on the label of each unit of food product offered or distributed for sale: 


1. The name and address of the business of the “Cottage Food Production Operation”;  

2. The name of the food product;  

3. The ingredients of the food product, in descending order of predominance by weight;  

4. The net weight or net volume of the food product;  

5. The following statement in ten-point type:  

“This Product is Home Produced.” Note: If a nutritional claim is made (i.e. low fat, salt free, etc.) federal labeling requirements must be met. Specific food labeling information is available at the ODA web site: 


Allergen labeling must be followed as specified in the federal labeling requirements.  

What Does the Statement “This Product is Home Produced” Mean? 


in a private home that is not subject to inspection by a food regulatory authority. was producedThe statement means that the food product


Where may Cottage Food Production Operations Sell Their Food Products? 


Cottage Food Products may 

only be sold in Ohio. Cottage Food Products that are properly identified and labeled may be sold directly to the consumer from the site where the products are produced; sold through grocery stores, farm markets, farmers markets; and sold and/or used in preparing food in a restaurant.


Does A Cottage Food Production Operation Need to Acquire a License to Process and Package Food Products?  

or adulterated. is misbranded if a food product determineNo. A “Cottage Food Production Operation” is exempt from inspection and licensing by the Ohio Department of Agriculture. However, all food products, including those produced and packaged by “Cottage Food Production Operations”, are subject to food sampling conducted by the Ohio Department of Agriculture to




Contact ODA Division of Food Safety: 1-800-282-1955 Ext 4366;  


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