Cottage Foods

The 89th Iowa General Assembly passed new legislation (HF2431) during the 2022 session that affects food licensing rules in Iowa.

Although there are some exceptions, beginning July 1, 2022, most foods that do not need to be kept hot or cold for safety may be sold directly to the consumer without a license, provided they meet certain labeling requirements. Additional information on cottage foods will be available soon on this website. 

“Cottage foods” are foods that are prepared in a residence that is not subject to licensing or inspection. As defined by the new legislation, "cottage foods” must meet ALL of the following criteria:

  1. The food is prepared in a private residence; 
  2. The food does not require temperature control to ensure safety;
  3. The food is sold directly from the producer to the consumer; and
  4. The food is properly labeled.

Is it a cottage food, or is a home food processing establishment license needed?

Cottage Foods & Farmers Markets fact sheet 

Home-canned Pickles, Vegetables, and Fruits:
“Cottage food” MAY include home-canned pickles, vegetables or fruits if ALL of the following apply:

  1. The product has a pH value of 4.60 or lower or a water activity (Aw) of .85 or lower; 
  2. Each batch is measured by a pH meter or (Aw) meter;
  3. Each container is properly labeled, including the date the food was produced and canned; and
  4. The producer provides documentation to the regulatory authority upon request, including at the point of sale.

Items Prohibited for Sale Under Iowa Cottage Food Law
The following items may not be sold under Iowa cottage food law:

  1. Any food that must be kept hot or cold for safety;
  2. Milk or milk products regulated under Iowa Code Chapter 192. Contact the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship's Dairy Products Control Bureau with any questions; or
  3. Meat, meat food products, poultry, or poultry food products regulated under Iowa Code Chapter 189A. Contact the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship's Meat and Poultry Inspection Bureau with any questions.

Labeling Requirements for Cottage Foods
Cottage food labels MUST contain the following information:

  1. Information to identify the name and address, phone number, or email address of the person preparing the food;
  2. The common name of the food;
  3. The ingredients of the cottage food in descending order of predominance;
  4. The following statement: “This product was produced at a residential property that is exempt from state licensing and inspection.”;
  5. If the cottage food contains one or more major food allergens, an additional allergen statement must be included on the label identifying each major allergen contained in the food by the common name of the allergen (Major allergens include: milk, egg, fish (like bass, flounder, or cod), shellfish (like crab, lobster, or shrimp), tree nuts (like almonds, pecans, or walnuts), wheat, peanuts, soybeans, sesame, or food ingredients that contain protein derived from one of these allergens.); and
  6. If the food is home-processed and home-canned pickles, vegetables, or fruits permitted under this section, the date that the food was processed and canned.

​Cottage Food Templates and Examples: