Is It Illegal to Sell Food From Your Home

Posted by Damian Roberti on

Is It Illegal to Sell Food From Your Home

Well, that is a question that we get quite frequently here on marketing food online. So in this video, I'm actually gonna go over four things that could potentially happen to you. If you're selling food illegally and find out what you can do to do it legally. So you might wanna stay in tuned from the beginning to end of this video, because what I'm about to tell you could or could not get you into a lot of trouble. We dive into that right now.

All right. So welcome back to marketing food online. So in this video, I actually wanna cover a great question that a lot of people are getting misinformation about because they're friends or family or people in their neighborhood are telling them some random things. I want to tell you specifically, what could and potentially happen. If you are selling food illegally from your home, it's not something that you wanna dive into. I'm gonna give you four examples of what has happened to some people who have sold food from home without having the right permits or even the right types of business insurances and business liability insurance. So right off the bat, can you sell food from home? Yes, you can. But that is kind of like a big vague question because food is a vague word. Does that mean that I could sell tacos and burritos and hot dogs and things?

 

 

Is It Illegal to Sell Food From Your Home

 

is it illegal to sell food from home

I mean, or can I just sell bakes well, cottage food laws, which are the laws that dictate the types of food businesses you can operate from home. Every state has some type of, or some form of cottage food laws on the books that allow you to create certain food products. But many of the states that have college food laws do require certain permitting or even licensing, and even in inspection sometimes from the health department or the city or county that you are in. So just because the state has a certain type of guideline, a lot of cities and counties, as those laws trickle down to the local municipalities, they have to come up with their own rules and regulations as well, or they can add onto it or say, Hey, in this city or county, we need to have, you have a business license and, or you may need to have business insurance or something to that effect.

 

Is It Illegal to Sell Food From Your Home

 

Is It Illegal to Sell Food From Your Home

Now what type of foods they can make legally are predominantly, what's known as non potentially hazardous food products. Now these are things like non time or temperature sensitive, which would be products such as baked goods, trail mixes, things that are not going to be sensitive for a long duration of time. If it has to be sitting on a table at a farmer's market, or they had to be temperature regulated, if it was a cheese Danish, for instance, and you've got cheese on the top, you obviously can't let that sit out in the heat all day long, because there's a potential for bacteria and people getting sick. Now getting to the point of this, a video, you wanna understand exactly what legal and non illegal items are. So if you're making products in, let's say you were in your, your city or county, you were in your home and you're producing a product that's on cottage foods lists, but you don't have the permits that they require you to have.

So you just assumed as opposed to actually finding out for sure that you don't need a perimeter license. And then you start to sell 'em at farmer's markets. And guess what? Periodically the health department and other government officials do walk around farmer's markets and other events, and they might even ask you, Hey, Damien, do you have that permit? Do you have the license? Do you have what you need in order for you to be selling this product? Well, no, I don't have really anything. I just heard that I can randomly sell whatever I want. Well, guess what, here are four things that could potentially happen to you and, you know, maybe say, well, who knew? I didn't know. I didn't know that I was supposed to have a permanent license. These are things that could potentially happen, and it could kind of snowball into something that you really truly don't wanna experience.

Number one, many cities and counties when they find out or they get tipped off that you are making day food product, and you don't have the proper business licensing and such. They'll send you a warning letter. Most of the time, that will kind of help most people to kind of cease and desist. If you will, from producing a food product from home. Now, the letter is pretty straightforward to the point. Now, again, most cities and counties may not send you this letter. They may just go to number two, which I'll get into in just a second, but they'll send you a letter and say, Hey, Damien, we found out that you've produced a product, please ensure that you've got the right permits and licensing. And these types of cities are counties are pretty easy to work with. And they're kind of understanding about some people may not know what is required, but getting a letter to kind of cease and desist is something that could potentially happen to you.

Is It Illegal to Sell Food From Your Home

 

Now also a really quick side note. If you are gonna start a home based food business and you live in a neighborhood, you need to make sure that your homeowners association doesn't have any bylaws that may prohibit, or they would just need to have notification of your business at home. So if you've got a homeowner's association, you need to make sure that you check with them, or at least give them a heads up and say, Hey, I'm gonna start producing a food product under our cottage food laws. But I do wanna give you a heads up because I'll be operating a business from home. So keep that in mind as well. So the number one thing is that you'll get right off the bat is potentially a warning letter, which is kind of neutral and bland and not really a really big deal, but they just wanna help you get on track and to find out what you need as far as permits and licenses.

Now, number two, this one can be quite steep. It is fines. Yes, your city or county, again, depending on where you are in the senior county, they can find you anywhere from what we've researched online is that some places are between $500. I'll get this up to $2,000 per day of the incident that you're being fined for now, what does that mean exactly they do. So if you are in a county where they could find you about $2,000 per day, per day per incident, that means that if you were at a farmer's market on a Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, then you could be getting a $6,000 fine. Now I am not making this up. This is actually true. We dug into a little bit of research online to find out a little bit of backs stories and see if there's, this has actually ever occurred.

 

Is It Illegal to Sell Food From Your Home

And there were some young ladies women who actually started a business and they were refined. I believe it was excessive about a week or two all the way dating back almost literally 10 days, 10 business days. And it was around a thousand dollars a day. So they got literal literally about a 10 to $12,000 fine because of what they were doing. Now, if you wanna choose that route and you don't wanna follow the rules, because everybody in your neighborhood says, or a friend or a cousin says, you can do it and, you know, forget all the permitting and licensing and the government and blah, blah, blah, go ahead and do that. But that's your choice. I would not recommend you do that because that could add up to a lot of fines. Now, number three now is when it starts to get a little more serious, there was a woman in Minnesota who started a food, a food business for home.

Unfortunately I guess she didn't know about it or what have you, but she was selling food, actually not necessarily like trail mix or cookies or baked goods, but she was selling like lunches and plates of dinners and these types of things. And she actually got 80 hours of community service, the city or county actually levy day, fine as well. As a matter of fact, I don't remember the amount of the fine, but the other thing that was most important was that she had 80 hours of community service in the city that she lived in because she didn't know, you know, who knew, who knew that I was supposed to have a permit or license. And I started operating a restaurant from my home. She didn't have a business license. She didn't have even business insurance. And you gotta keep in mind too guys that if you don't have these things, you are running the risk yourself of also being sued.

Is It Illegal to Sell Food From Your Home

 

If somebody gets sick that's the reason why restaurants, cafes, coffee shops. They have to have business licenses. They have to have insurance. They need to be inspected. Now, granted, I'm not telling you that you're gonna start a restaurant, but you have to understand that people could potentially get ill or sick because of the products that you make and that liability falls on you. So if you do this from home, , you need to make sure you educate yourself onto your local laws and, and the city and county state that you're in and make sure you follow them. They're there for a reason, and it's not there to pick on you or to levy fines and such. They wanna make sure that you're preparing the right foods and doing it safely and securely. That's all number four. Now this is one that is the ultimate extreme.

You could potentially be facing jail time. Yes. Now the lady that was in Minnesota, that I told you about with the community service was actually threatened with jail time up to 30 days in the county jail, because she was making food from home. Now, again, she was literally kind of operating a restaurant by selling hot food, dinner, lunch plates, which is something that I would never do from home, honestly, myself, cuz I just don't want people to come to my house and pick up food. But she actually was doing this and, and the community loved her. She was very nice lady. She wasn't doing anything in a way other than it being illegal, she wasn't doing anything manipulative or she wasn't doing anything to seek and such. She was just making food products without the proper permitting and licensing. So having jail time, levied over your head or held over your head in this county courtroom by a judge up to 30 days because she didn't have the business insurance or the right permits or licenses is definitely something you don't want to experience.

Is It Illegal to Sell Food From Your Home

 

And that is an extreme case, of course. But if somebody in the city of your county sends you a letter based upon the idea that you are making food without the proper permanent license, I would pay attention to that letter before it snowballs into something like community service, jail time or even fines. So the question is, is it illegal to sell food from home without the right permanent licensing? Yes, it actually is. And for everybody who is selling food online that is on Etsy or eBay and you're doing it from home because you see a lot of sellers, well, there's a lot of people selling cookies and things on eBay and Etsy and such, and they're selling it from their house. So why can't I do it? That is also illegal. That is actually interstate sales. And when you ship a product overstate lines, that is a merit for a serious find above and beyond what I even just mentioned in this list, you could get into some more serious trouble.

When you are starting to sell food from home and you're doing it online, many states will allow you to do it, but it's done locally. That means that you can take an order if you live in Los Angeles, for instance but someone who buys it in Los Angeles, you have to deliver to them in Los Angeles. You can't ship a product from California to Florida for instance. So these are some of the rules and regulations you really need to be aware of. And some of the stipulations and fines and penalties for selling food out of your house without the right permits and license, it's just honestly not worth it. The majority of the business license permits and licensing or business licenses that you need to do this from home. When you do it correctly, the, their fees are like a hundred dollars, 75, $50.

I think the average home office license to operate a business from home in your office, like around a hundred dollars a year, $125 a year. That's a lot less than a few thousand dollars to be fine. So if you have questions about selling your food locally or in, from your house, please let us know down below, get the subscribe button and also check out that little button below this video that says join. That's actually our membership section where you could join. There's three different tiers that have additional benefits and such. And it also helps us continue to produce these videos, which do cost us money. We don't do these. It it's very free to upload them, but it costs us money on the back end to edit them and make them and put them up. So if your support would definitely help out greatly for that, and I'll see you guys on our next video.

 

Is It Illegal to Sell Food From Your Home

 

0 comments

Leave a comment