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Cottage Foods

The Colorado Cottage Foods Act was made effective March 15th, 2012.  Here's the breakdown of permissible foods, requirements, and useful links.  Please use our page as a general reference and refer to www.cofarmtomarket.com/value-added-products/cottage-foods/ to ensure the most accurate and up-to-date information regarding this act.


The Colorado Cottage Foods Producer Checklist

If you are a cottage food producer: Use this checklist to make sure that your product(s) and business fall under those permitted by the 2012 Cottage Foods Act. You may access this Act at http://www.leg.state.co.us/clics/clics2012a/csl.nsf/fsbillcont3/F8EA74C8447BB62387257981007DD1AD?open&file=048_enr.pdf. Some wording in the Act was amended on April 4, 2013, which you may access at http://www.leg.state.co.us/clics/clics2013a/csl.nsf/fsbillcont3/94472D259F284A1B87257AEF005D63F9?open&file=1158_enr.pdf . This checklist will also help you organize the materials needed to sell your product(s) at farmers’ markets in Colorado, as well as from your home, roadside stand or CSA. Remember the Cottage Foods Act is meant to encourage small-scale, direct-to-consumer sales. Therefore, net sales of any one product are limited to $5,000 per calendar year.

For information on starting your food business, consult the Colorado Business Express at https://www.colorado.gov/apps/jboss/cbe//start-business.xhtml. You are responsible for informing yourself about and paying all applicable federal, state and local taxes and registration fees related to operating your cottage food business in Colorado.

Note: You must be a Colorado resident producing your product in your primary residence in Colorado to qualify.


1. Products
– What food products are you interested in selling?
 
Cottage Foods Allowed:
  • Spices
  • Teas
  • Dehydrated Produce
  • Nuts
  • Seeds (including roasted coffee beans)
  • Honey
  • Jams, jellies, preserves (except jalapenos)
  • Fruit butters (except pumpkin)
  • Candies (and prepackaged cotton candy)
  • Allowed baked goods (including dry cake mixes and granola bars)
  • Eggs * Eggs require a little extra labeling. See below labeling requirements for details.

The following list contains examples of food products that are NOT allowed under Colorado’s Cottage Foods Act, and therefore must be processed in a commercial kitchen:
  • Fresh or dried meat or meat products including jerky,
  • Fish and shellfish products,
  • Milk and dairy products including hard or soft cheeses and yogurt,
  • Canned fruits, vegetables, flavored oils, salsas, sauerkraut, etc.,
  • Barbecue sauces, ketchups or mustards,
  • Canned pickled products (corn relish and pickles),
  • Baked goods such as cream, custard or meringue pies and cakes or pastries with cream cheese icing or fillings,
  • Focaccia-style breads with vegetables or cheeses,
  • Raw seed sprouts,
  • Cut fresh fruits and vegetables juices made from fresh fruits or vegetables,
  • Ice and ice products,
  • Fresh homemade pasta,
  • Sourdough bread starter.


2. Training


You must take a food safety course that includes basic food handling training, and is given by CSU Extension, or your state, county or district public health agency. Please provide a copy of your training certificate. Note that if the training you take requires re-certification or maintenance courses, you are responsible for completing that follow-up education in a timely manner so your training remains current. Some training courses are listed at: http://cofarmtomarket.com/value-added-products/cottage-foods/.

3. Insurance

It is not required, but highly encouraged by the Wellington Farmers Market management to obtain insurance to cover the specific products you propose to sell (produced in the home, not in a commercial kitchen). The Colorado Farmers Market Association insurance program offers member markets liability insurance only. It covers bodily injury and property damage to a third party (such as customers, vendors, and property owners) for which the market is negligent. Markets are covered for product liability only for products sold or given away by the market itself. The policy does not cover individual vendors – it is the responsibility of each vendor to obtain his/her own property and liability insurance if desired.

4. Labeling

Your product labels must include the following:

  • The identification of the cottage food product
  • Your name and the address at which the cottage food was produced
  • Your current phone number or email address
  • The date on which the food was produced
  • A complete list of ingredients
  • The following statement: “This product was produced in a home kitchen that is not subject to state licensure or inspection and that may also contain common food allergens such as tree nuts, peanuts, eggs, soy, wheat, milk, fish and crustacean shellfish. This product is not intended for resale.”
If selling eggs also include:
  • If the whole eggs are NOT treated for salmonella, the following statement must appear on each carton or package: “Safe Handling Instructions: To prevent illness from bacteria, keep eggs refrigerated, cook eggs until yolks are firm, and cook any foods containing eggs thoroughly. These eggs do not come from a government-approved source.”
Note that the Cottage Foods Act specifically states that the label MUST include the above-listed information.



If you have any questions regarding the production of a particular cottage food product please contact your local public health agency or the Division of Environmental Health and Sustainability at 303-692-3645. A listing of local public health agencies by county can be found at: http://www.colorado.gov/cs/Satellite/CDPHE-Main/CBON/1251588365684.

The Colorado Department of Agriculture and Colorado State University are posting market- and business-related information on the Cottage Foods Act to: http://cofarmtomarket.com/value-added-products/cottage-foods/. Please check often for updates and new information. Please refer your vendors to this website also.