If you are thinking about starting a homemade product business in your home, even on a small scale, then there are many things that you will need to take into consideration before you start selling your products. This is especially true if you have decided to sell homemade food products, this includes candy. Many people who decide to enter into a homemade product business think that if they keep their operation small, then they don’t have to worry about regulations that govern larger food business. Unfortunately this is wrong. If you are selling any kind of food product you are required to follow the rules and regulations set out by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Federal Information that You Need to Know
There are many food and drug laws that you will need to understand before you start selling your homemade food products. To make sure that you are following all the federal laws and regulations for selling food products it is important that you read through several different FDA documents. The first document that you will want to read is the Overview of FDA’s Food and Cosmetic Regulatory Responsibilities. This document will outline the legal requirements that impact the manufacturing and distributing of your food product. You will also want to read through the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act of 2004. This document will explain what ingredients and warning you will need to include on your labels.
In addition to these documents you will also want to read through the following FDA documents: Current Good Manufacturing Practice in Manufacturing, Packing, or Holding Human Food; A Guide to Self Inspection for the Smaller Food Processor and Warehouse; Inspecting Incoming Food Materials; A Food Labeling Guide, Small Business Food Labeling Exemptions; and the FDA Nutrition Labeling Manual – A Guide for Developing and Using Data Bases. All of these documents, as well as several others, can be found on the FDA website located at http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~comm/foodbiz.html.
Meeting State and Local Requirements
In addition to meeting all of the federal rules and requirements for manufacturing and selling human food, you will also need to make sure that your business meets state and local food business requirements. This means that you will need to make sure that your kitchen meets local health inspection standards, that your kitchen is zoned for commercial use, that you have a business license (if required), that you have business insurance, and that you are following appropriate accounting methods. Each state and locality will have different requirements for each of these categories, so it is important that you contact your local officials to make sure that you are not in violation of state and local laws and regulations. You can accomplish this by either phoning your local business administration, licensing agent, or court house, or by visiting these agencies’ websites.
Other Precautions You Should Take
In addition to meeting the legal requirements of running a food business, you will also need to make sure that you protect yourself in case something goes wrong, and in case something goes right. To protect yourself in case something goes wrong with your business it is important to get a business liability insurance policy. This policy will protect you against lawsuits brought against your company. You will want to shop around for the best priced policies, and for the best coverage packages. You will also want to get your policy from an insurance company that specializes in food company insurance policies.
Another precaution that you may want to take is to incorporate your business. This will financially isolate your business assets from your personal assets. This way if a lawsuit is brought against your company the only assets that will be at risk will be those that belong to the company. For more information about incorporation you will want to talk with an attorney that specializes in incorporations and business law. It should cost you between $500 and $2,000 to incorporate, depending on your location and the complexity of your case.
Finally, it is important to register your company name and logo with the trademark office. You will also probably want to patent any special, one of a kind recipes, that you come up with. Information about these two things can be found at http://www.uspto.gov/go/tac/doc/basic/.