Starting a Home Based Food Business | What You Need to Know

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Interested in starting a home-based food business? One of the most common questions our office receives is from individuals wanting to sell a food product they have made such as a jam, jelly or salsa. Food safety is the number one concern when it comes to selling food to the public. Food-borne illness can cause severe illness or even death. If you’re interested in producing and selling a food product made in your home, it’s very important that you do your homework and follow the proper steps and regulations.

Due to food safety risks, only low risked packaged foods are approved for a home-based food business and these include:

  • Baked goods
  • Jams & jellies
  • Candies
  • Dried mixes
  • Spices
  • Some sauces & liquids
  • Pickles and acidified foods

Shelf stable sauces, dressings, salsas, pickles and acidified foods will require laboratory testing before they can be sold. Any high-risk products such as refrigerated or frozen foods, low-acid canned foods, dairy products, seafood products, and bottled water must be produced in a non-home based commercial facility.

There are several agencies that regulate home-based food business but the main resource is the Food and Drug Protection Division of the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. They work in conjunction with North Carolina State University’s Food Science Department which conducts the food safety testing.

For more information, including an application for starting a home-based food business visit the following websites:

NCDA Food & Drug Protection Division.

N.C. Cooperative Extension Food Business portal.

Written By

Kim Terrell, N.C. Cooperative ExtensionKim TerrellExtension Agent, Family and Consumer Sciences Call Kim Email Kim N.C. Cooperative Extension, Macon County Center
Updated on Jul 28, 2022
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