Arkansas Food Freedom Act To Replace Cottage Food Law
Updated Blog Post with links to health department guidelines and Extension fact sheet now available at https://www.uaex.uada.edu/business-communities/ced-blog/posts/2021/july/What-You-Can-Make-and-Sell-Under-Arkansas-Food-Freedom-Act.aspx.
Arkansans will soon be able to sell more types of homemade food and drink products and in more locations after the passage of the Arkansas Food Freedom Act of 2021.
The new law takes effect July 28, 2021. It replaces the state’s Cottage Food law, which allowed a few specific homemade food products to be sold directly to consumers without being made in a kitchen certified and inspected by the Arkansas Department of Health.
The Food Freedom Act allows direct sales of homemade food and drink products that do not require time or temperature controls to remain safe and updates labeling requirements.
The Public Policy Center is working on a fact sheet about the new law, its labeling requirements and more information about health department-approved recipes. We hope to complete the fact sheet later this summer. Note: Our existing fact sheet about the Cottage Food Law will be deleted later this summer because it will no longer be accurate.
Where Can I Read The Law?
Access Act 1040 of 2021, also known as the Arkansas Food Freedom Act, at https://www.arkleg.state.ar.us/Acts/FTPDocument?file=1040&path=%2FACTS%2F2021R%2FPublic%2F&ddBienniumSession=2021%2F2021R&Search=
What can I sell Under This Law?
Act 1040 of 2021 allows the sale of homemade “non-time/temperature control for safety food” without it being processed in a certified and inspected kitchen. Harmful bacteria do not grow easily on these kinds of food so they do not need to be kept hot or cold for their safety.
People in the food industry often call these shelf-stable products a “Non-TCS” food. Examples of Non-TCS foods include most items that fell under Arkansas’ old Cottage Food law: baked goods, candies, jam and jellies that use real sugars.
Additionally, pickles, some salsas and sauces, and acidified or fermented beverages can also be a Non-TCS food depending on their pH acidity levels.
What can’t I sell under this law?
Arkansas Code 20-57-504 prohibits the sale of meat, poultry, seafood, and “time/temperature control for safety food products” under the Food Freedom Act. This means you can not sell homemade food or drink products using these items or ingredients.
According to the law, TCS food products include an animal food that is raw or heat treated; plant-based foods that is heat treated or includes raw seed sprouts; cut leafy greens; cut tomatoes or mixtures of tomatoes and garlic-in-oil mixtures. (Salsas that follow the law’s recipe requirements are allowed to be sold.)
If you have a question about a specific food item, contact your local health department office. Contact information for local units can be found at healthy.arkansas.gov/local-health-units.
Where Can I Sell This Food?
The law expands where homemade food and drinks can be sold. Producers can sell the product from their home and through online platforms. Producers can deliver the product to the person directly or through the mail. They can also allow a third-party vendor, such as a retail shop or grocery store, to sell their homemade food or drink items.
You Should Also Know …
The Arkansas Food Freedom Act does not provide the manufacturer with liability protection, so anyone who is injured by consuming the product can still sue the person who made the food item.
Being exempt from health department permits is not the same thing as being exempt from local business permits. Check with your local city or county clerk on any permitting or licensing requirements.
Check back later this summer for our fact sheet with more information on the new law.