Cottage Food Operations

New State Law Effective January 1, 2013

Cottage food operations are allowed to produce certain non-potentially hazardous foods. These are foods that do not support the rapid growth of bacteria that would make people sick when held outside of refrigeration temperatures. The list of approved cottage food categories and their ethnic variations, which cottage food operations are allowed to produce, are listed below. The list will be maintained and updated by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) on its Internet website as necessary.

CDPH may add to or delete food products from the approved products list. Notice of any change, reason for the change, the authority for the change, and the nature of the change to the approved food products list will be posted on the CDPH website and shall be become effective thirty (30) days after the notice is posted.

Approved Food Products List (January 1, 2013):
  1. Baked goods, without cream, custard, or meat fillings, such as breads, biscuits, churros, cookies, pastries, and tortillas
  2. Candy, such as brittle and toffee
  3. Chocolate-covered nonperishable foods, such as nuts and dried fruits
  4. Dried fruit
  5. Dried pasta
  6. Dry baking mixes
  7. Fruit pies, fruit empanadas, and fruit tamales
  8. Granola, cereals, and trail mixes
  9. Herb blends and dried mole paste
  10. Honey and sweet sorghum syrup
  11. Jams, jellies, preserves, and fruit butter that comply with the standard described in Part 150 of Title 21 of the Code of Federal Regulations
    *see below
  12. Nut mixes and nut butters
  13. Popcorn
  14. Vinegar and mustard
  15. Roasted coffee and dried tea
  16. Waffle cones and pizelles

*Jams, jellies, preserves, and fruit butter: Cottage food operations which produce jams, jellies, preserves, and other related products must be sure that their products meet the legal established standards of identity requirements for those products as set forth in 21 CFR Part 150. The purpose of the regulation is to maintain the integrity of the food product to ensure consumers consistently get what they expect. The product name and ingredients listed on the label must be factual and comply with the legal definitions and standards of identity or the product may be considered misbranded. Products made with other ingredients that are not defined in 21 CFR 150 cannot be produced by cottage food operations. Addition of other ingredients or alteration of ingredient profiles changes the chemistry of the food, which can allow the growth of various bacteria and toxins under the right conditions. For example, addition of peppers (i.e. jalapeno pepper) to make pepper jelly is not supported by 21 CFR 150 and the addition of this low acid ingredient could cause the formation of botulism toxin in the product if the proper controls are not used.