Cottage Food (formerly known as Residential Kitchens)

The following information is provided to assist municipalities, food establishments and other interested parties in interpretation of the Retail Food Code. Additional information is available at mass.gov/lists/retail-food or by contacting the Food Protection Program at (617) 983-6712 or fpp.dph@state.ma.us.

Under 105 CMR 590 (the Retail Food Code), Cottage Food and non-exempted Bed and Breakfast Operations (Permitted Retail Residential Kitchens) must comply with all applicable municipal laws and zoning ordinances and sections of the Retail Food Code for conducting a business from one’s home residence. The following minimum provisions for Residential Kitchens apply to both Cottage Food Operations and Bed and Breakfast Operations. Additional notes are provided for alternate standards or provisions which apply to only one type of Permitted Retail Residential Kitchen. These guidelines are being issued under 105 CMR 590.009(E) to promote uniform application of the Retail Food Code.

REFERENCED SOURCES:105 CMR 590.00: State sanitary code chapter X: Minimum sanitation standards for food establishments

Standards Specific to Cottage Food Operations

Cottage Food Products:

  • Non-TCS Foods: Only non-time/temperature control for safety (TCS) baked goods, jams, jellies, and other such foods may be produced at a Cottage Food Operation. (590.001(C) “Cottage Food Product”

  • TCS Ingredients: Ingredients from approved sources that are TCS foods, such as milk, cream, and eggs, may be used in food preparation for the public provided that the final product is not a TCS food.  (590.003; FC 3-201.11(A), FC 3-201.13, FC 3-202.13, FC 3-202.14(A)&(B))


Labeling:

A Cottage Food Operation may only sell cottage food products which are prepackaged with an ingredient label. The product does not need to be analyzed by a laboratory to obtain an official ingredient list, but all ingredients must be listed in descending order of predominance by weight. If a prepared item is used in the recipe, sub-ingredients must also be listed. For example, if you use soy sauce as an ingredient, listing soy sauce is not acceptable; soy sauce (wheat, soybeans, salt) is acceptable. (590.003; FC 3-602).

The label affixed or provided to the direct consumer must contain the following information (printed in English):

  1. The name and address of the Cottage Food Operation;
  2. The name of the Cottage Food Product;
  3. The ingredients of the Cottage Food Product, in descending order of predominance by weight;
  4. The net weight or net volume of the Cottage Food Product;
  5. Allergen information as specified by federal labeling requirements. This includes identifying if any of the ingredients are made from one of the following food groups: milk, eggs, wheat, peanuts, soybeans, fish (including shellfish, crab, lobster or shrimp) and tree nuts (such as almonds, pecans or walnuts); AND
  6. Nutritional labeling as specified by federal labeling requirements is required if any nutrient content claim, health claim, or other nutritional information is provided. 

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