Starting a Business

Starting a Homebased Food Business on a Sweet Note

Make sure to follow state regulations when selling
Magazine Contributor
2 min read

This story appears in the May 2004 issue of . Subscribe »

Q: I'd like to start a homebased business selling homemade candy. How do I find out what regulations I have to follow?

Name withheld

A: The idea of turning your recipes into a source of income right from your kitchen appeals to many people. To sell your candy, check your state's laws and regulations, because what you are permitted to do in a home kitchen varies from state to state. You may find these regulations on your state's Web site, or you may find contact information for the pertinent agency. Some states bar the commercial sale of food prepared in a residential kitchen. Others distinguish between perishable and nonperishable food. Still other states allow food prepared in a home kitchen if gross sales are under a specified dollar amount. Some states distinguish between food that is sold retail and food that is sold wholesale.

What are your alternatives if you can't get a license to make food for sale in your home kitchen? You may be able to rent a commercial kitchen in its off hours, such as in a church, a fire station or a state park. Some states offer startup food businesses the use of incubator kitchens. Once your business is producing a positive cash flow, consider installing a commercial kitchen in your home that will pass state and local health-code inspections. But before spending big bucks, make sure local zoning allows commercial kitchens in homes in your area.

Keep in mind, too, that if you want to sell food online, you'll be limited because the FDA doesn't allow food made in a home kitchen to be sold in interstate commerce. And some institutional buyers, like universities, have policies stating that no food prepared or stored in a private home may be used or sold in their food facilities.


Authors and career coaches Paul and Sarah Edwards have written 15 books, including Working From Home. Send your questions to www.workingfromhome.com.

More from Entrepreneur

Are paying too much for business insurance? Do you have critical gaps in your coverage? Trust Entrepreneur to help you find out.
Get Your Quote Now

One-on-one online sessions with our experts can help you start a business, grow your business, build your brand, fundraise and more.
Book Your Session

Whether you are launching or growing a business, we have all the business tools you need to take your business to the next level, in one place.
Enroll Now

Latest on Entrepreneur

My Queue

There are no Videos in your queue.

Click on the Add to next to any video to save to your queue.

There are no Articles in your queue.

Click on the Add to next to any article to save to your queue.

There are no Podcasts in your queue.

Click on the Add to next to any podcast episode to save to your queue.

You're not following any authors.

Click the Follow button on any author page to keep up with the latest content from your favorite authors.

It Started As a Joke and Turned Into a Startup That Raised $1 Million in Funding