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Cottage Food Laws in North Carolina [2024 Update]

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Overview of Guidance and Ordinances for Cottage Food Laws in North Carolina

North Carolina stands as an exception without specific cottage food laws, though it operates a home-based food program. Absence of such laws means federal regulations prohibiting home cooking businesses take precedence. However, entrepreneurs in NC can initiate businesses, albeit with some challenges. Interestingly, the Agriculture Department provides loopholes allowing quick startups for specific products like popcorn, kettle corn, and lemonade without permits or licensing requirements.

Food Labeling Requirements according to North Carolina Cottage Food Laws

Food product labeling is mandatory for individually packaged items for self-service sale, wholesale distribution to retailers, distributors, or restaurants, as well as for products shipped through postal services like USPS or FEDEX. Packaging must meet food grade standards to ensure food safety, while labels must prominently display the product name, manufacturer's name and address, net weight in both ounces/pounds and grams, and a comprehensive ingredient list in descending order of predominance by weight.

Summarized Business Regulations for Cottage Food Laws in North Carolina

In North Carolina, a Cottage Food Operation refers to a small-scale food business run from a home kitchen, producing non-potentially hazardous foods for direct sale to consumers. These foods, such as baked goods, jams, and candies, must be made in compliance with specific labeling, training, and sanitation requirements outlined by the state's Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Cottage Food Operations are restricted in sales channels, typically selling directly to consumers at venues like farmers' markets, roadside stands, and online platforms.

North Carolina

N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services

This dashboard is provided as an informational resource and is not affiliated with the above department. While we strive to keep our information accurate and up to date, we do not claim to provide official legal advice or representations regarding cottage food laws or any other regulations. Laws and regulations can change frequently, and they can vary significantly by location. We encourage all users to consult their local health department or a legal professional to obtain the most current information and advice specific to their circumstances.

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