Selling Foods at the Farm: When Do You Need a License?

By: Peggy Hall, Leader, OSU Agricultural & Resource Law Program

With spring in full swing and summer just around the corner, many producers may be considering selling produce, meats, cottage foods and baked goods directly to consumers at the farm property. A question we often hear from farmers thinking about these types of farm food sales is, “do I need some type of license or inspection to sell food from the farm?” The answer to this question depends upon the type of food offered for sale:

  • Sales of foods such as fresh produce or cottage foods do not require a license.
  • Sales of certain types of baked goods require a home bakery license.
  • Sales of multiple types of foods or higher risk foods require a farm market registration or a retail food establishment (RFE) license.
  • The home bakery license, farm market registration, and RFE license involve inspections of the production or sales area.

It is important for a producer to carefully assess the food sales situation and comply with the appropriate licensing or registration requirements. To do so, a producer should identify the type and number of food products he or she will sell and whether the food poses low or high food safety risk.

Our new Law Bulletin, Selling Foods at the Farm: When Do You Need a License? will help producers assess their situations and determine their needs for appropriate licensing, registration, or inspections.  Read the bulletin on http://farmoffice.osu.edu, here.

One thought on “Selling Foods at the Farm: When Do You Need a License?

  1. Can you please tell me what all is involved with obtaining an RFE license? I would like to sell coffee, breakfast, and deli sandwiches at my farm stand on our 17-acre farm if possible? I have submitted my request for inspection for a home bakery licence but would like to expand to a few other items if possible.

    Thank you,
    Brenda Moody

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