Do you love baking and decorating elaborate cakes? Maybe you’re more of a cupcake and cookie person? Regardless of your baked goods of choice, you can take your hobby to the next level in Florida from the comfort of your own home.
You don’t need a bakery license in Florida if you want to start a home bakery. This doesn’t mean there are no rules to follow, though. There are labeling requirements, delivery limitations and more rules that you need to follow if you want to open your own home bakery in the Sunshine State.
Home Bakery License in Florida
A typical home bakery, where you use your home equipment and operate out of your home, falls under Florida’s cottage food operations laws. This doesn’t mean you need to live in a cottage to qualify. It just means you are not subject to the more stringent (and expensive) state food licensing requirements.
To qualify as a cottage food operation, you must:
- Sell less than $50,000 in product each year.
- Sell directly to consumers (no mail order).
- Sell an approved cottage food product.
You are also required to meet any local requirements, which may be more stringent than state laws. To qualify as a cottage food operation, you must deliver your goods directly to the consumer or to the consumer's event venue.
Approved Cottage Food Products
If you’re thinking about catering from home in Florida, you may need to get a food vendors' license. This is because the approved list of cottage foods is somewhat limited. The list includes:
- Baked goods.
- Jams and jellies.
- Homemade pasta.
- Cereals and trail mixes.
In other words, if you’re planning to open a home bakery, you’re good to go, but if you want to serve other foods, you will need to pursue the appropriate license. One exception to keep in mind with baked goods is that you can’t make anything that requires refrigeration, such as meringue pies or cakes with a cream cheese filling. If you want to make these goods, you will need to pursue the appropriate license under Florida bakery laws.
Labeling Requirements for Home Bakeries
Although you don’t have to meet Florida commercial kitchen requirements, there are other requirements you have to meet. One of these is appropriately labeling the goods you sell. All the goods you sell must be prepackaged with a label. The label must include:
- The name and address of your business.
- The name of the product.
- The ingredients in the product.
- The net weight or volume of the product.
- Allergen information as required by federal baking requirements.
- A statement in at least 10-point font that reads, “Made in a cottage food operation that is not subject to Florida’s food safety regulations."
The ingredients must be listed in descending order by weight. If you make any nutritional claims on the label, you must back those up with nutritional information as required by federal baking laws. You can find federal baking laws by checking the Food and Drug Administration website.
Requirements for Your Home
In general, you do not have to meet any special requirements to operate a bakery out of your home. Commercial equipment is not required for a home bakery. In fact, since home kitchens don’t have adequate sinks for cleaning commercial equipment, you are not allowed to use commercial equipment in a home bakery.
You also must prepare and store your products in your home. You can’t use outbuildings such as sheds, and you can’t use a motor home to prepare goods. You must use your primary residence for your business for it to qualify as a cottage food operation.
Your local municipality may have additional requirements, so be sure to consult your local laws before you start your bakery.