starting a food business
The world loves a good baker. If you’re one of those good bakers and you want to sell your baked goods, do you need a license? Maybe. Our newly revised law bulletin, “The Home Bakery Registration Law in Ohio,” explains when a license or “registration” is necessary for selling home baked goods in Ohio.
Whether you need to register for a Home Bakery license depends on the type of baked good you’ll produce. Certain foods are at lower risk of a food safety concern when produced at home, which we refer to as “non-potentially hazardous” foods. Those foods might fall under the Ohio Cottage Food Law, which does not require a license or registration for those who want to produce and sell foods that are on the cottage foods list. When a home baked good does pose higher food safety risks, however, the home bakery law applies to that food and additional practices are necessary to reduce food safety. The producer who wants to sell that type of home baked good must register as a “Home Bakery" with the Ohio Department of Agriculture to help ensure that food safety practices are in place.
Which home-baked foods fall into which category? This chart illustrates the differences between non-potentially hazardous “cottage" foods and potentially hazardous “home bakery” foods. If a food falls into the “potentially hazardous” category, the producer needs to apply for a Home Bakery license.
What’s required for the Home Bakery registration? Our law bulletin explains the registration and inspection process and labeling requirements. Read more about those parts of the Home Bakery Registration Law in our bulletin, available on the Farm Office Food Law Library at https://farmoffice.osu.edu/our-library/food-law.
Direct food marketing in Ohio is hot. The latest USDA survey identified 7,107 Ohio farms with direct food sales--third highest in the nation. That might be why our program receives more legal inquiries about food sales than any other area of law. And that is also why we’re hosting a three-part webinar series on “Starting a Food Business,” providing an introduction to what a producer needs to know about selling home-based and farm-raised foods directly to consumers and retailers.
The free webinar series will be from 7—9 p.m. on January 24, February 28, and March 28 in 2023, with these different topics each night:
- January 24: Start-Up Basics. What do you want to sell? We’ll review initial considerations for selling your food product. We’ll cover food safety, licensing, legal, and economic considerations for starting up a food business.
- February 28: Selling Home-Based Foods. Learn about food product development, Ohio’s Cottage Food and Home Bakery laws, and requirements for selling canned foods.
- March 28: Selling Meat and Poultry. A look at the economics, processing options, and labeling and licensing requirements for selling meat and poultry.
Our teaching team for the webinar series includes:
- Nicole Arnold, Asst. Professor and Food Safety Field Specialist for OSU Extension. Nicole supports food handlers, consumers, and educators with food safety education and risk communication efforts.
- Peggy Kirk Hall, Assoc. Professor and Agricultural Law Field Specialist for OSU Extension. Peggy directs OSU Extension’s Agricultural & Resource Law Program and regularly teaches and writes on food laws.
- Emily Marrison, OSU Extension Educator in Family and Consumer Sciences. Emily’s food science background provides expertise and insight on food safety, product development, and selling home-based foods.
- Garth Ruff, Beef Cattle Field Specialist for OSU Extension. Garth has a background in animal science and specializes in livestock production and marketing, farm management, and meat science.
The webinar series is free, but registration is necessary. Find details and the registration link at go.osu.edu/foodbusiness.