First off, you want to call your City Hall and ask to speak with someone about starting a Cottage food operation. You want to word it like that so they connect you to the right person. Once you are on the phone with a person... it took me 3 days to get around operators and voicemail... inform them of your plans to start a cottage food operation and what exactly you plan to make. The law covers baked goods for delivery and off lot consumtion, and canned goods. For my city, you have to:
- Register a fictitious name at www.sunbiz.com (optional)
- Get a food handlers license (available at www.flfoodhandlers.com)
- Fill out an Application from the Licensing department of your City Hall
Once that's done there's a 10-day waiting period while they process your application and other paperwork. After that they will write you up a Business Tax Reciept that will cost $50 and you should be good to go.
Now for the legal part. You may not sell your product over the internet. You can make your self and your product know over the internet but you can't make it availble for sale and delivery online.
All of your product has to have a label that consists of:
- The name and address of you business
- The name of the product
- The ingredients of the product, in descending order of predominace by weight (so get a kitchen scale if you don't already have one)
- The net weight or net volume of the total product
- Allergen info as specified by federal labeling laws
- If any nutritional claim is made, (such as Glutten-free, fat-free, Light, etc) appropriate nutritional information as specified by federal labeling requirements.
- This statement printed in at least 10-point type in an easy to see color, "Made in a cottage food operation that is not subject to Florida's food safety regulations."
You can only sell products that are stored and created on your premises.
I'm not exactly sure if they do an initial inspection but any other inspections are only carried out if a complaint has been filed against you. In case of that situation, I would suggest to all to get small business liability insurance. Should someone get sick due to allergies or the like, you won't have to pay the total amount of fines and such out of pocket. Also, if you plan to host or join events you have to show proof of liability insurance.
You may also want to look into getting delivery insurance for your vehicle. This is different than regular auto insurance and can be explained more by your auto insurance dealer.
Further information and detail into the law can be found here.