Do I need a license to sell homemade food in Utah?

Updated: May 21, 2024

Published: May 21, 2024

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Starting a home-based food business is exciting! But if you’ve ever wanted to start a business selling your homemade food, you probably have a lot of questions regarding how to go about it. In this article, we’ll look at everything you need to know to start your own cottage food business in Utah.

What is the Utah Cottage Food Law? 

cottage food business in Utah allows you to make certain food from your own home kitchen and sell it to customers. You can sell the homemade food online, in-person at special events, or through retail outlets as long as you label your foods properly. To get started, you need to register with the State of Utah once by filling in all the information and getting your kitchen setup as required in their Complete Application Packet. Then you can start selling your homemade food! We recommend that you use a cottage food e-commerce service like FormPay to sell your food online. Though there’s some paperwork, it's a pretty low barrier to start a cottage food business from your home in Utah — it’s no wonder there’s over 400 registered cottage food operations in the state!

What licenses do I need to sell homemade food in Utah? 

The State of Utah says you don’t need a license just to sell homemade food. However, you do need to register your business with the state. Specifically, you need a Food Handlers' Permit to handle food that would be served to the public. You also need to fill out the Application for Cottage Food Establishment and review the accompanying Complete Application Packet for cottage food businesses in Utah. You may also need to pass a home inspection before you start selling, especially if you have a pet in your home. Once you’re ready to sell, consider using FormPay to sell your food online to customers.

What kinds of cottage food can you sell in Utah?

Most foods that don’t require refrigeration are eligible within Utah’s Cottage Food Rule. Specifically, you can generally sell the following items: 

  • Cakes/Cupcakes
  • Cookies
  • Breads
  • Popcorn
  • Dry Mixes
  • Candy/Chocolates
  • Fruit Pies
  • Fruit Jams, Jellies, or Preserves
  • Honey (but you must register your beehives with the UDAF’s Plant Industry Division)

You CAN’T sell “potentially hazardous” foods, 

  • Food of animal origin (e.g. meat, poultry, jerky, etc.)  
  • Raw seed sprouts
  • Low-acid or acidified canned foods
  • Foods that require refrigeration or freezing

If you’re unsure about what foods you can sell, you can always contact the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food or check out their site for more information. 

How to open a home-based food business in Utah

Although everyone will work at their own pace, there are still some steps that most people will follow while opening a home-based food business. 

Here are the steps: 

  1. Figure out what kinds of food you want to sell. Ensure that you’re selling something that complies with the Utah Cottage Food Rule. As part of the application form, you’ll need to submit a label and ingredients list for each product you’re planning to sell.
  2. Determine the labeling and ingredient list for your product. You’ll need to submit a sample full label and ingredient lists for pre-packaged products, and partial labels for custom-made foods like custom-made cakes. For more information on what should be on a label, you can review the following documents: Labeling Guidelines for Home Produced FoodsSample Labels for products sold pre-packaged, and Sample Ingredient Lists for on demand products.
  3. Obtain a Food Handler’s Permit.You’ll also need a Food Handers' Permit, which will allow you to work with food in general in Utah, including your home-based food business.
  4. Fill out Utah’s Application for Cottage Food EstablishmentAlthough you don’t need a license to sell food from home in Utah, you do need to register with the State of Utah by filling out the Application for Cottage Food Establishment. To make it easy for you, the government has provided a Complete Application Packet with all the information you need to ensure that you’re successful in your registration.
  5. Make sure your home is sanitary for inspection. Before you can start selling food, you may be subject to a home inspection for your primary kitchen where you will be making the food. If you have pets in your home, you need to show that the pets can be restricted from the kitchen when you’re producing food. You also need to be prepared to show the food inspector how you clean and sanitize your cooking equipment, where necessary items are placed, and have proper restaurant kitchen-grade sanitizer test strips ready for testing the strength of your bleach and sanitizing solution. For more information about preparing your kitchen for inspection, you can refer to Utah’s Complete Application Packet for cottage food businesses.
  6. Insurance for your home-based food business.Because you’re making food from home, you might need to update or get additional insurance for your home-based food business and your home.
  7. Set up an online store, retail, or sell in-person at food fairs at farmers’ markets. We’ll cover both methods in more detail below, but essentially, you could either sell online with an ecommerce service like FormPay, in-person at local events, or through retail outlets provided that you label all your foods properly.
  8. Advertise your business. Finally, the last step will be to let people know about your business. You can start by just telling your friends and family, then move onto social media once more people start hearing about your business. For more tips on how to promote your business, you can also check out this article

How to sell food online in Utah

Many people prefer to sell their homemade food online, where they can easily sell directly to their customers since it’s the easiest way to start selling immediately. In order to make the process easier for both yourself and your customers, you can use an e-commerce tool like FormPay, that’s designed for cottage food businesses, to help you. Many independent food businesses, such as G Sweets and Uncle Tim’s Delicacies, use FormPay to help boost their sales and save time on day-to-day administration.

What permits do I need to sell at a farmers market in Utah?

You’ll need to be registered with the Department of Agriculture and Food, unless you’re only selling raw fruits and vegetables. You can contact the UDAF, Department of Regulatory Services, which will help you figure out everything else. 

How to sell meat in Utah for cottage foods businesses?

Unfortunately, you can’t sell meat from home in Utah, as according to the Agriculture and Food Regulatory Services, foods that come from animals are potentially hazardous foods. Specifically, any meat or poultry products are not allowed, including any jerkies.

Are lemonade stands legal in Utah?

Technically, you would need a permit to run a business in, say, your local park. But Utah has certain laws exempting “occasional” businesses run by people under the age of 18 from needing a permit. So if it’s a kids’ lemonade stand, it’s totally fine to just set it up without a permit. 

Summary

Fortunately, starting a homemade food business isn’t too hard in Utah. You’ll have to register with the Department of Food and Agriculture, but afterwards, you’ll be able to sell to whomever you need to whenever you need to, whether it’s in-person at farmers’ markets, or through an online sales service like FormPay

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