Cottage Food Law (Washington State)
As many of you might be aware, Swift Bend Inc. resides in two locations. One in the greater Tacoma area (University Place) and another in Fall City, Washington. While many of you may reside in any number of locations around the world the subject of this particular article will be something more of a local law that you might be able to suggest to law makers in your region.
Washington State recently passed a law that could directly impact the sales of goods in your business. The new Cottage Food Law allows for the preparation of goods in your home kitchen in order to be sold either in a store of your choosing or online (so long as the goods are picked up and not mailed).
According to the State website “A cottage food operation must package and properly label for sale to the consumer any food it produces. The food may not be repackaged, sold, or used as an ingredient in other foods by a food processing plant, or sold by a food service establishment. They must comply with all applicable county and municipal laws and zoning ordinances that apply to conducting a business from one’s home residence prior to permitting as a cottage food operation, including obtaining a Master Business License.” (http://agr.wa.gov/FoodAnimal/CottageFoodOperation/)
There are, however, a number of rules that go along with adherence of said law. The first of which is that the total sales of all goods for the year cannot exceed $15,000 per year. If your sales exceed $15,000 than you will have to acquire a “food processing plant license from WSDA under chapter 69.07 RCW or cease operations.” (http://agr.wa.gov/FoodAnimal/CottageFoodOperation/)
The second rule that must be adhered to is the following statement must be made clearly on the good sold “made in a home kitchen that has not been subject to standard inspection criteria.” (http://www.washingtonstatecottagefoodlaw.com/)
Other rules include: The name/ address of where the good was produced, the ingredients by weight in descending order, and the name of the cottage food good.
Initially the law was created in order to allow cookie/ baked good sales at local gatherings. For example, a little league game where goods could be purchased at a cost to consumers or a charity event. However, it has also opened the door for small businesses to sell the goods at local events or sell the goods to the public via a local location (business).
The best advice for any local business is to adhere to all local laws and follow all of the guidelines/ inspection criteria that the State provides. A fine or closure of your business could be a poison pill to your business, one in which you may not be able to recover from.
The following steps must be made before you are allowed to sell your goods in an outlet store or online (as long as the consumer picks up the goods and they are not mailed)
1.) Contact your local health department for potable water testing requirements if you are on a private water system.
2.) Submit a copy of the test results of your private water supply with your application packet.
3.) Submit a copy of the Food Worker Card(s) for any person(s) who will be processing food at the Cottage Food Operation.
4.) Submit a copy of your Master Business License.
You can find the application packet at the following link: http://www.washingtonstatecottagefoodlaw.com/