Legislature Opens Door for Food Related Home Businesses

Specifically, the Cottage Food Act as codified at Florida Statute 500.80, for the first time allows a home based food business. Specifically, in the past, individuals were not allowed to run a food business out of their home kitchen and could only produce food products in a certified kitchen inspected by state regulatory agencies to make sure it met all health code and food safety requirements. I would assume in a reaction to the difficult economic times in Florida, and the high costs in connection with attempting to outfit a commercial kitchen, the legislature saw fit to enact this statute to allow food entrepreneurs to start their own business out of their home kitchen.

There are strict limitations with regard to the types of food that you are able to make in the kitchen and examples are set forth on the Florida Department of Agriculture web page. Some of the foods that are allowed are items such as breads, cakes, honey and pasta. Items that are prohibited generally are items that need to be refrigerated and items that contain dairy products such as cheesecakes. You are also limited to gross sales of no more than $15,000.00 and you may not sell via the internet, mail order, consignment or wholesale. Basically you are limited to direct sales to end consumers.

Nevertheless, despite these limitations, it is a great opportunity for food entrepreneurs to get a start on their business. Hopefully, if their business were to take off, they would then have a basis to expand on their business plan, and develop a cash flow that would support the renting of retail commercial space and the leasing of equipment.

At the Martella Law Firm, we are eager to help new entrepreneurs reach for their American dream. If you would like to discuss this statute further or any proposed new business, please contact us to set up a consultation.