UACES Facebook Interested in Cottage Foods? Check out these resources
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Interested in Cottage Foods? Check out these resources

by Kristin Higgins - July 5, 2018

Cottage Food laws differ from state to state. Some are specific, some are vague. Some states offer a laundry list of items that can be sold, while other states’ lists are short.

They all have one thing in common: the foods are typically non-hazardous. This means they are not a type of food that is prone to rapid bacteria growth that make people sick. This is why people are allowed leeway in making them at home in kitchens uninspected by the health department.

In Arkansas, the list of foods considered a Cottage Food is short:

  • Bakery products
  • Candy
  • Fruit butters
  • Jams
  • Jellies
  • Chocolate-covered fruit and berries that are not cut

NOTE: Jams, jellies and fruit butter made with splenda and similar sugar substitutes are considered potentially hazardous food and may not be sold.

The Arkansas Department of Health has the ability to add items to the list but they haven’t done so since the law was passed in 2011.

Questions continue though about what’s allowed under Arkansas’ law. Because people find our Cottage Food Law fact sheet online, we get phone calls and emails asking about all sorts of food items. (Check out the fact sheet for info on what the law requires for labeling and locations where Cottage Foods can be sold.)

People have asked about coffee, nutritional bars, herbs, and even specific ingredients.

The best source to answer the question is the Arkansas Department of Health. People with questions about a specific food item should call the Environmental Health Specialist at the local health department (also known as the local health unit).

The Health Department has also published these two documents that talk more about Arkansas’ Cottage Food law:

Cottage Food Guide:
https://www.healthy.arkansas.gov/images/uploads/pdf/CottageFoodGuidelines.docx_03-15-2017.pdf

Farmers Market Guidelines:
https://www.healthy.arkansas.gov/images/uploads/pdf/FarmersMarketGuidelines_5-3-18_.pdf

If you’re curious about how Cottage Food laws differ from state to state, you might want to listen to a June 2018 webinar recorded by the National Agricultural Law Center in Fayetteville.

You can find a recording of the webinar, Cottage Food Laws: Adequately Addressing Food Safety and Economic Opportunity, and a PDF of their Powerpoint at http://nationalaglawcenter.org/consortium/webinars/cottagefoodlaws.

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