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Know cottage-food laws

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POSTED: October 19, 2012 7:00 p.m.

Starting a cottage-food business may seem like a quaint venture, but with recent program changes implemented by the Georgia Department of Agriculture, we encourage those who have an interest to be sure they completely understand the rules and regulations governing this area of business.

Cottage-food laws allow for the production and retail of local “low risk” foods in the community. The laws vary from state to state. In Georgia, cottage-food operators may produce non-potentially hazardous foods in their home for sale to include, but not limited to, loaf breads, cakes, candies and confections, fruit pies, jams, preserves, dried fruits, dried herbs, seasonings, cereals, trail mixes, granola, vinegar, popcorn and cotton candy. These foods are considered non-potentially hazardous because they can be safely kept at room temperature and do not require refrigeration. Meats, cooked vegetables and plant-based dishes, beverages and honey are among those not covered under cottage-food laws.

In a slow economy, people may look for other ways to increase their income without having to take on a second job, and thus often turn to home-based businesses to bring in extra cash.

The Liberty County Chamber of Commerce recognizes that cottage-food operators fall in line with the “Shop local, Shop Liberty” mantra that we at the chamber try to encourage our community toward, providing a boost to the local economy and a source of income for those producing homemade items.

However, we also encourage making sure you know and understand the regulations governing any type of business before jumping right in. To that end, the chamber will offer an information session in November regarding cottage-food laws, the requirements and frequently asked questions with a speaker provided by the Georgia Department of Agriculture.

More details will be available soon, but for more information now, please call 368-4445 or email assistant@libertycounty.org. For additional information on cottage-food laws, contact the Georgia Food Safety Division at 404-656-3627 or go to agr.georgia.gov/cottage-foods.aspx

 

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