We have answers to your labeling questions.

What information must be included on the label of a cottage food product?

sample of cottage food label

The basic information that must be on a label as outlined in the Food Labeling and Placards page.

  • The name of the cottage food operation and unit of local government in which the cottage food operation is located.
  • The identifying registration number provided by the local health department on the certificate of registration and the name of the municipality or county in which the registration was filed.
  • The common or usual name of the food product.
  • All ingredients of the food product, including any color, artificial flavor, and preservative, listed in descending order by predominance of weight shown with the common or usual names.
  • The following phrase in prominent lettering: “This product was produced in a home kitchen not inspected by a health department that may also process common food allergens. If you have safety concerns, contact your local health department.”
  • The date the product was processed (prepared).
  • Allergen labeling as specified under federal labeling requirements.

What does "allergen labeling, as specified in federal labeling requirements" mean?

It means the operator must identify if any of the ingredients are made from one of the following food groups: milk, eggs, fish, crustacean shellfish, tree nuts (such as almonds, pecans or walnuts), wheat, peanuts, and soybeans. So, if there is an ingredient made with a wheat based product, the operator has the following two options:

  1. Include the allergen in the ingredient list. For example, a white bread with the following ingredient listing: whole wheat flour, enriched wheat flour, water, salt and yeast. In this example, the statement 'whole wheat flour and enriched wheat flour', meets the requirements of the federal law as food allergens.
  2. Include an allergen statement ("Contains") after the ingredient list. For example, a white bread, with the following ingredients: enriched wheat flour, whole wheat flour, water, sodium caseinate, salt and yeast. Contains wheat and milk.

The "Contains": statement must reflect all the allergens found in the product. In this example, the sodium caseinate comes from milk and the enriched wheat flour and whole wheat flour are from wheat.

Are there any special requirements for tree nuts labeling for allergens?

Yes if the cottage food product has tree nuts as an ingredient you must identify which tree nut you are using.

For example, if you made Nut Bread, an acceptable ingredient list would be: Ingredients: wheat flour, water, almonds, salt, yeast.

The following would not be acceptable. Ingredients: flour, water, nuts, salt, yeast.

Does the cottage food operator have to include the home address on product labeling?

No. The name of the cottage food operation and the county in which you are registered and the registration number must be listed on the label. As all eligible cottage food operations must be registered with their local health department, this ensures the business is able to be located in case of a recall or traceback associated with a food borne illness complaint or outbreak.