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Dr. Harrison: I'd like to welcome you this afternoon
to the Cottage Food Regulations in Georgia webinar.
Our speaker today is Mr. Bruce Varnadoe with the
Georgia Department of Agriculture.
He is the primary contact person for
the Cottage Food Regulations and is a Retail Program Manager
with the Georgia Department of Agriculture.
So this afternoon we're going to be talking about the
new Cottage Food Regulations in Georgia and what is required.
The objectives of our presentation this afternoon
is to define cottage food operations and what they are;
to identify the kinds of foods that can be produced
in the home as a cottage food;
to identify the requirements that have to be in place
for cottage food operations;
and then also to talk about how cottage foods can be sold;
and then we want to identify the information that's required
on labels for cottage foods;
and also define some of the basic food safety requirements
for cottage foods to be produced in Georgia.
In the first section of the training
we're going to be defining cottage foods.
We're going to look at what are cottage foods?
What foods can and cannot be sold as cottage foods?
What kind of facilities and equipment have to be used
in order to produce cottage foods?
And then where you're allowed to sell your cottage food products.
So, I'm going to turn this over to Mr. Varnadoe and
I'm going to ask him some questions.
The first one is: What does cottage food mean?
>> Mr. Varnadoe: Actually cottage foods is any food
that is classified as non-potentially hazardous.
It can be produced in a home kitchen of a domestic residence.
That would be your personal residence where you live.
And it can only be sold to the end user
which is sold directly to the consumer.
>> Dr. Harrison: So what foods can you produce and sell
as a cottage food?
>> Mr. Varnadoe: The types of foods that are allowed
under the cottage food program would be...
An example would be loaf breads, rolls, biscuits, cakes,
any kind of cakes except the refrigerated type of cake,
pastries or cookies, candies and confections, fruit pies,
jams and jellies, dried fruits, dried herbs,
seasonings and mixtures, cereals, trail mixes,
coated and uncoated nuts, vinegar and flavored vinegars,
any type if popcorn, popcorn balls.
>> Dr. Harrison: So that's quite an extensive list,
but what foods are not allowed for sale as a cottage food?
>> Mr. Varnadoe: Well, those types of foods would be
classified as potentially hazardous which would include
any type of meat, poultry, fish, shellfish, eggs,
– even your own yard eggs would not be classified
in this particular cottage food regulation –
milk and dairy products, cooked foods, baked potatoes,
certain types of synthetic – that have synthetic ingredients,
mushrooms, raw sprouts, tofu, any kind of
untreated garlic, or oil mixtures.
>> Dr. Harrison: So in other words if it's a potentially
hazardous food, then it cannot be sold as a cottage food?
>>Mr. Varnadoe: That is correct.
>> Dr. Harrison: For those of you who may not remember
what a potentially hazardous food is,
we would define those foods as foods that are high in moisture,
they don't have very much acid in them,
they are rich sources of nutrients so they support bacterial growth
and some of these products have been linked to
foodborne illness outbreaks.
So that's how you would define a potentially hazardous food.
So, when you say that you can produce the cottage foods
in your home kitchen, what do you mean by a home kitchen?
>> Mr. Varnadoe: Well the home kitchen is the kitchen that
is in your primary residence.
That would be the place where you live.
That kitchen can actually contain
more than one stove or oven;
it can contain more than one refrigerator or freezer.
>> Dr. Harrison: So are there any particular requirements
about that type of equipment that you have to use
with cottage foods?
>> Mr. Varnadoe: Well what cottage foods will require
is that it's all residential equipment;
no commercial equipment will be allowed,
and that would include like a small Hobart mixer.
It cannot be in the home,
it cannot be used as far as any of your processing.
This equipment also would have to be able to fit
in your home dishwasher or residential sink.
>> Dr. Harrison: So where can I sell
these cottage food products?
>> Mr. Varnadoe: The cottage food products can only be sold
to the end user which means that product can be sold at
non-profit events, for-profit events, internet sales.
But like I said, it has to be sold with the end user.
>> Dr. Harrison: I'm sure there must be a list of places
I'm not allowed to sell cottage foods, so where would those be?
>> Mr. Varnadoe: Well no cottage food products can be
sold or distributed as wholesale,
cannot be shipped across state lines;
so if you have an internet business,
you cannot sell that product across state lines,
you cannot sell it to a retail store to be resold at that level,
you cannot sell to restaurants, nor can you sell it to
institutions such as schools or hospitals.
>> Dr. Harrison: All right.
What if I get a Food Sales Establishment License?
>> Mr. Varnadoe: Well if you have a
Food Sales Establishment License you cannot be licensed
in your home kitchen for that type of operation.
You would have to have a separate commercial kitchen
to be able to have a Food Sales Establishment License,
and all the equipment, all the processing area
would have to be separate from your living quarters.
>> Dr. Harrison: So if I had a kitchen in my basement
that I did not use to prepare my family's meals,
I could use that kitchen?
>> Mr. Varnadoe: You can use that kitchen provided
that your local municipal government will allow it.
>> Dr. Harrison: OK, and also then like a community kitchen?
>> Mr. Varnadoe: Correct. A shared kitchen,
community kitchen would also be allowed but you would be under
the Georgia Department of Agriculture,
Food Safety Inspection program.
>> Dr. Harrison: All right.
Well let's say that I want to start a cottage food business,
and in this section we're going to talk about
what I would need to do that.
We're going to look at the steps involved in starting
a cottage foods operation, we're going to talk a little bit
about water and sewage disposal issues, and we're also going to
take a look at the Food Safety training that would be required
for a cottage food operator.
So, step one: What do I need to do?
>> Mr. Varnadoe: All right. The first thing that we require
would be that you contact your local planning and zoning office
and verify with them that they will allow for a home-based
business of this type from your residence.
And then secondly we would ask that you also comply with any
other local zoning ordinances.
Along with that would mean checking
with your public water supply.
If you're on well water, you would have to have a water test done.
But if you're on public water you can provide us with
a copy of your of most recent water bill.
The well water would have to be tested for
coliform bacteria and nitrates.
The Department of Agriculture
will do that test for a nominal fee of $100,
or you can check with your local Extension office or
your Environmental Health office.
Some of those places might also be available to do your testing.
>> Dr. Harrison: There are some requirements if you're using a
well that is on your property,
so talk a little bit about those requirements.
>> Mr. Varnadoe: OK, with private well water operations,
the well cannot be less than 25 feet deep,
the water cannot actually cannot be cloudy in color,
the well cannot be located below a ground pit,
cannot have a buried wellhead, the cap has to be sealed,
the well has to be sealed, capped, no cracks,
no openings around the pipes.
Now, if you're on city water or sewage you need to check
with the wastewater disposal government office to make sure
that they're going to allow you to do that.
Some of them have said they will not,
they do not want the waste into their sewer system,
so you need to check with them along with
your planning and zoning.
>> Dr. Harrison: OK.
Now some people have private septic systems
and I know there's some rules about that as well.
>> Mr. Varnadoe: Well, we recommend that you
check with Environmental Health, your health department,
to see if they're OK with it and would recommended an
additional assessment to that septic tank system prior
to starting a cottage food operation.
>> Dr. Harrison: Now there are some Food Safety trainings that
are required as a part of this,
so what do I need to do about the Food Safety training?
>> Mr. Varnadoe: Our requirements say that
you have to have a Food Safety course,
a Food Safety training course.
It does not does not specify any particular one.
It only specifies that the course be accredited with
the American National Standards Institute.
>> Dr. Harrison: And I understand that there
are only 3 that are accredited.
So talk a little bit about those.
>>> Mr. Varnadoe: Well, any of the 3 are satisfactory.
We will accept any of the 3.
We do not specify any particular one.
So we leave that up to the individual to choose
the course that they decide to take.
>> Dr. Harrison: OK.
I noticed that ServSafe is one of the ones that is accepted,
and you can access our ServSafe training with your local
Family and Consumer Sciences Agent,
and that training does last for a period of 5 years,
where I think some of the others don't last quite that long.
So that may be something you would want to check it out.
So Step 4, there is an application form, right?
What do they need to do about that?
>> Mr. Varnadoe: Correct. You would actually go online
and we have it posted on our website.
You can fill the license application out and
once you've completed the license application
you can submit that through our licensing coordinator
via email or you can fax it to our office.
>> Dr. Harrison: And we are listing the office phone numbers
for the District Offices on the slide so that you have
access to those numbers if you want to contact the
District Office to help with that application process.
So in this next section, we're going to talk a little bit about
the license application itself and some of the fees that
are involved with the process.
Also, we're going to take a look at what
kind of kitchen inspections are involved in the
cottage food industry, and then look at what happens
when you want to add products to your product line
that you didn't specify on your original application.
So first let's take a look at
the cottage food application itself
and we've listed the web site at the bottom of this slide
so that you can find the cottage food application online or
you can just go to the Georgia Department of Agriculture
web site and search for cottage food applications
and find it that way.
We want to take you through this form,
and I know that it's a little bit hard to see,
but just to show you the different sections of the form.
The first part of the form where you're seeing a red circle is
the part where you're going to fill out the information about
the name of your business, the physical address,
the mailing address,
and how your business could be found or located.
The green circled section is the section of the application where
you're going to fill out information about who owns the
business and who the partners or corporate officers are in
that cottage food business.
The blue circled section is the section of the application form
where you actually mark boxes that correspond to
the type of product that you're going to be producing
in your cottage food operation.
There is a list of prerequisites for you
to check off on the application form and
these are things like
yes I've checked with my zoning authority;
yes I've checked with my public utilities.
All of those things that we just talked about
on the previous slide, you would check off that
you've done these in the prerequisite section,
if you have made that contacts.
There is also a section for responsibilities.
This deals with things like the certification
that you have and the labeling of your product,
those kinds of issues.
There is a section that talks about right of entry
and what that is is talking about
the Georgia Department of Agriculture being authorized
to enter your kitchen and inspect that facility
when you're starting your business.
And then there is a section, information about the
application fees that are involved.
And we're going to talk a little bit about the fees.
So, tell us a little bit about what kind of fees
we're looking at.
>> Mr. Varnadoe: OK, cottage food fees are $100 yearly;
that would be for new operators applying after June 30;
they would only have to pay $50.
So as of today, a cottage food operator would pay $50
and then January 1, would pay an additional $100.
>> Dr. Harrison: All right, there is a section we said
that lists the product you plan to sell,
so tell us a little bit about what you do with that section.
>> Mr. Varnadoe: OK, with that section
the cottage food operator would need to check the box of all
intended products that they intend to produce
in their home kitchen.
>> Dr. Harrison: Now, am I going to have to
have my kitchen inspected?
>> Mr. Varnadoe: Yes, the kitchen will be inspected
as a pre-operational inspection.
We will only we re-inspect that kitchen on a complaint basis or
a foodborne illness outbreak.
We will re-inspect that kitchen if you decide to add
another product off the product list at a later time.
>> Dr. Harrison: So if I decide that now instead of
just making bread,
I also want to make the jam and jelly
to put on my bread what do I have to do?
>> Mr. Varnadoe: You would need to fill out another application,
add that to the product list.
You would pay an additional license fee and the kitchen
would have to be re-inspected again.
>> Dr. Harrison: We are going to cover in this next section
some special questions that people may have
about cottage foods.
We want to talk a little bit about some of the
additional licensing questions.
We want to talk a little bit about product questions and
also a little bit about facilities questions.
Now I've been told that just because I have a
cottage food license doesn't necessarily mean
I can go to my local farmers market and sell the product.
I understand that some of the markets may require
their vendors to have a Food Establishment License.
Is that true?
Can they require that?
>> Mr. Varnadoe: Yes. Cottage foods is basically
just like any other entity the
Georgia Department of Agriculture
would inspect and they would have to follow
all local policies that are enacted by the farmers market
boards and all the local governing bodies.
So they would, yes, they would have to do that.
>> Dr. Harrison: Now I want to produce and sell
some cooked vegetable products like salsas, tomato sauces,
spaghetti sauces, breads with roasted vegetables
as cottage foods.
Can I do that?
>> Mr. Varnadoe: No, not under the cottage foods.
Manufactured foods, cooked vegetable products like salsas,
tomato sauces, they have to meet significant
federal and state training licensing requirements.
Cooked vegetables, whether they're fresh or canned,
they're usually made from a combination of low acid and
acidified foods and that would fall into the
potentially hazardous food category.
So cooked vegetables that must be held either hot or cold
they cannot be stored at room temperature which makes them
ineligible for the cottage foods program.
>> Dr. Harrison: OK, let's say I want to press and sell
apple cider as a cottage food.
Can I do that?
>> Mr. Varnadoe: No. That's not allowed.
No beverages are allowed under the cottage food program.
>> Dr. Harrison: So if I wanted to press and sell apple cider,
I would have to get a different kind of....
>> Mr. Varnadoe: If someone wanted to do a beverage,
they could that but they would be under our
Manufactured Foods licensing program and inspection program
and they would have to go back to the separate kitchen.
They would have to be under our inspection program
to be able to do any type of beverage operation.
>> Dr. Harrison: So I just couldn't do it
as a cottage food?
>> Mr. Varnadoe: No.
>> Dr. Harrison: What about selling apple butters,
pumpkin butters, and other fruit butters?
>> Mr. Varnadoe: No, that's not allowed under the
cottage foods program either.
The fruit butters have less sugar than jams and jellies.
And the combination of sugar and pectin
is not large enough to assure safety.
Spoilage could occur and that could create
an environment that would allow c. bot to actually start in
that product and cause a foodborne illness.
>> Dr. Harrison: And we know that botulism is
a very deadly type of food poisoning;
so that's definitely something that we
would want to avoid.
So what about making and selling things like
jerky, dried meats, as cottage foods?
>> Mr. Varnadoe: OK, meats once again are classified as
potentially hazardous foods so that would not be allowed
under the cottage foods program.
>> Dr. Harrison: I know a lot of people may wonder if they can
use their homegrown fruits and vegetables and baked goods.
So is that a possibility?
>> Mr. Varnadoe: Yes, that is a possibility.
Homegrown fruits and vegetables may be used
provided that they are washed, that they are incorporated
into the batter, they are properly baked,
they are properly packaged and labeled.
But the fruits or the vegetables cannot be used
as a decorative or a garnish on the baked goods.
>> Dr. Harrison: So they actually have to be in
the batter and they have to be cooked in order to use those
homegrown fruits and vegetables.
What if I can them?
Can I use them in the baked goods at a later date?
>> Mr. Varnadoe: Once again, home canned products
are classified under the potentially hazardous food group
and they may not be used in any of the cottage food preparation.
So no commercially canned products in baked goods such
as canned pumpkin or fruit pie fillings may be allowed.
>> Dr. Harrison: OK. So the only exception,
they would be able to use their jam and jellies,
and they can use a commercially canned product?
>> Mr. Varnadoe: Correct.
>> Dr. Harrison: OK.
What if I freeze those homegrown produce?
Can I use frozen homegrown produce in baked goods
at a later date?
>> Mr. Varnadoe: Homegrown produce may be frozen and
it can be baked into the goods if they're
incorporated in the batter.
They are properly baked, properly packaged and properly labeled.
But the fresh fruits and vegetables, again, cannot be
used to decorate or garnish on top of the baked goods.
>> Dr. Harrison: OK, what if I want to make an
instant bread mix under the cottage food regulations?
Or I want to sell dry bread, is that allowed?
>> Mr. Varnadoe: Yes.
Dry bread mixes are allowed as long as you meet
the requirements of the cottage food regulations.
>> Dr. Harrison: We always hear people or see people
wanting to sell honey and syrup.
What about that under cottage food regulations?
>> Mr. Varnadoe: No.
Honey and syrups are not covered under
the cottage food regulations.
You need to contact the
Georgia Department of Agriculture,
Food Safety Division
if you need more information on these products.
>> Dr. Harrison: So, where can I make my cottage food products?
I know you said I can use my residential kitchen,
but what if I don't live in a house?
What if I'm in a motor home?
Or I have a summer home?
What about those places?
>> Mr. Varnadoe: According to the cottage food regulations,
you have to use your primary residence,
your primary residence kitchen.
Now, if your motor home is your primary residence
you can use that kitchen for your cottage food operation.
If you have a summer home
if that's where your primary residence is you can use that.
You cannot use an outbuilding such as a shed or barn,
or you cannot use a rented or shared kitchen
to operate a cottage food program.
>> Dr. Harrison: Now let's talk a little bit about
the labeling requirements for cottage foods.
In this section we're going to talk about
do I have to label my cottage foods?
And what has to be on a label for cottage foods?
And what does "allergen labeling" mean?
So what does have to be on a label?
>> Mr. Varnadoe: OK. The label must contain
the name and address of the cottage food operation.
It must contain the name or description of the product.
It also has to include the ingredients of the product
which has to be in descending order of predominance by weight.
It also must contain the net weight or net volume of the product,
and most importantly it must contain the statement
"MADE IN A COTTAGE FOOD OPERATION THAT IS NOT
SUBJECT TO STATE FOOD SAFETY INSPECTIONS."
And all these letters have to be in capital letters,
in Times New Roman or Arial font
and at least 10-point type in a color that contrasts
with the background color of the label.
It also must contain any allergen labeling as
specified in federal labeling requirements.
>> Dr. Harrison: So, when we talk about food allergens,
what are food allergens?
>> Mr. Varnadoe: Well, food allergens are products that
are made of one of the following common allergen groups such as
milk, eggs, wheat, peanuts, soy, or fish.
It could be a product that had something made from shellfish,
or could be made from tree nuts including walnuts or pecans.
>> Dr. Harrison: So these foods that are listed here are
the common allergens that most people who have food allergies,
if they're allergic, or have a food allergy they're allergic
to at least one of these products typically.
So let's look at some examples.
Let's say that I have bread that's made with
whole wheat flour, water, salt and yeast.
If I have an ingredient label that says
“whole wheat flour, water, salt and yeast”
does that label meet federal requirements?
>> Mr. Varnadoe: Yes, it does.
It doesn't really have any of the allergens in it.
>> Dr. Harrison: OK, this one the only thing there is
the wheat flour and that wheat flour is predominantly
listed in that ingredient label.
But what about this particular case?
Bread that is made, again, with the whole wheat flour
but also sodium caseinate, water, salt and yeast?
And that's my ingredient label.
Does that one meet federal requirements?
>> Mr. Varnadoe: No, that one does not.
>> Dr. Harrison: Because in this particular case this bread has
an ingredient that's made with a sub-ingredient
that's an allergen.
And that would be sodium caseinate because that
one is made from milk so that ingredient list
"whole wheat flour, sodium caseinate, water, salt and yeast"
you must follow that with the label that says
>> Mr. Varnadoe: This label would have to say this
"Contains wheat and/or milk."
>> Dr. Harrison: OK, so this one would have to say it
"contains wheat and milk" because wheat and milk are
allergens and people may not recognize that sodium caseinate
is made from milk so you have to clearly state that on the label.
So what about a product that I make that I just call
"Nut Bread" and it has "flour, water, nuts, salt and yeast"
listed on the ingredient list.
Does that meet the federal requirements
for allergen labeling?
>> Mr. Varnadoe: No, that one also does not.
>> Dr. Harrison: And the reason is because?
>> Mr. Varnadoe: You have to specify the type nut that
is in that product such as almonds.
>> Dr. Harrison: So the ingredient list would have
to include "flour, water, salt and yeast"
and the particular type of nut that'd in the product.
So what about general food safety rules?
>> Mr. Varnadoe: Well as with any product produced for sale
in the State of Georgia, good, basic food safety rules
must be followed and anyone can find those at
the Georgia Department of Agriculture web site
in our Food Safety Division.
>> Dr. Harrison: All right.
So for more information about cottage foods
you can contact the Georgia Department of Agriculture,
Food Safety Division.
And their phone number is 404-656-3627.
You can also fax them at 404-463-6428 or
you can go to their web site at www.agr.georgia.gov
© 2013 University of Georgia
Georgia Department of Agriculture
Georgia Cooperative Extension
College of Family and Consumer Sciences
Collegeof Agricultural and Environmental Sciences