About Cottage Food Operations

In May, 2013, the Nevada Legislature passed, and the Governor signed, the Cottage Food bill (SB206), allowing certain foods to prepared in a person’s home.   The law language will be filed under Nevada Revised Statutes (NRS) Chapter 446 and becomes effective July 1, 2013.   A “cottage food operation,”  as allowed by SB206, means a natural person who manufactures or prepares food items in a non-food establishment setting for sale directly to an end consumer. Gross sales from a cottage food operation may not exceed $35,000.00 annually.

In order to operate a cottage food operation, SB 206 requires that the cottage food operation register with the health authority. The health authority will require any information deemed necessary and appropriate for the registration process. An Application (see link below) and a Questionnaire (see link below) will be required to be completed as part of this process.

Although Food Safety information will be provided to cottage food operation Applicants, it is highly recommended that applicants educate themselves in regard to safe food handling principles and practices. According to SB 206, a cottage food operation may be held financially responsible for the cost of the complaint and/or food-borne illness investigations if found to be valid. Optional food safety training is available at Carson City Health and Human Services. Please call Cherie Santillo at 775-887-2190 for further information and registration.

The health authority will evaluate the registration application package submitted for compliance with the following items as required by SB 206:

  • In Carson City, the food is to be sold at a location where the natural person who manufactures or prepares the food item sells the food item directly to a consumer, including a licensed farmers’ market, licensed flea market, swap meet, church bazaar, or craft fair, by means of an in-person transaction that does not involve selling the food item by telephone or via the Internet:
    • This means that the food may be sold directly to the consumer from a licensed farmers’ market, licensed flea market or swap meet, church bazaar, or craft fair, provided it is done in person;
    • This does not allow for selling food items via the internet or over the phone (this does not preclude taking phone or internet orders which involve a face-to-face sale at delivery or pick-up);
    • Carson City does not allow sales from a person’s home;
    • The food is to be sold to a natural person for his or her consumption and not for resale:
      • This prohibits any kind of wholesale manufacturing or secondary sale of cottage food products for example, making cookies for retail sale at a market or grocery store is prohibited;
    • The food to be sold is affixed with a label which complies with the federal labeling requirements:
      • This requires that food packaged for sale by the operator to the consumer must meet the same requirements as commercially-packaged foods Cottage Food Labeling Guide for more information and sample labels;
      • Labels for foods packaged by a cottage food operation for sale at a public location under inspection by the health authority, such as a farmer’s market or swap meet, must have their labels reviewed and approved by the health authority at registration and prior to sale;
    •  printed prominently on the label for the food item:
      • This requires an additional consumer warning that the cottage food operation, and the food prepared by the cottage food operation, is NOT subject to government inspection or oversight;
    • The food to be sold is prepackaged in a manner that protects the food item from contamination during transport, display, sale, and acquisition by consumers:
      • This section requires the foods to be protected by some type of packaging, particularly when the food is to be transported to a location for sale.   The type of packaging will vary depending on the product and location of sale, for instance:
        • Wedding cakes sold from the cottage food operation for home pick-up or delivery to the home of the consumer may be protected by a disposable cardboard cake box, affixed with the appropriate label;
        • Packages of cookies or candy being transported for sale at a farmer’s market must be durably packaged and labeled for individual sale;
    • Foods once packaged for sale to the consumer may not be repackaged at the point of sale, and packages may not be opened for sampling without obtaining a health permit; However, food samples may be pre-portioned in closed disposable containers at the Cottage Food Operation for free distribution at the sale site.
    • The food to be sold is prepared and processed in the kitchen of the private home of the natural person who manufactures or prepares the food item or, if allowed by the health authority, in the kitchen of a fraternal or social clubhouse, a school or a religious, charitable or other nonprofit organization:
      • This section defines where a cottage food operation may be allowed to operate   although SB 206 allows for operation at a school, Carson City Health and Human Services will not allow any permitted food establishment to be used for a cottage food operation, and a permitted kitchen or warehouse will not be allowed to store or use foods produced by a cottage food operation;
  • The food to be sold must be limited to:
      • Nuts and nut mixes;
      • Candies;
      • Jams, jellies, and preserves;
      • Vinegar and flavored vinegar;
      • Dry herbs and seasoning mixes;
      • Dried fruits;
      • Cereals, trail mixes, and granola;
      • Popcorn and popcorn balls; or

Baked goods that:

      • Are not potentially hazardous foods;
      • Do not contain home canned fruit or anything that is home canned, cream, uncooked egg, custard, meringue or cream cheese frosting or garnishes, fillings or frostings with low sugar content; and
      • Do not require time or temperature controls for food safety.

Once approved, the registration will be finalized entered into the database. A formal letter will be sent advising the applicant that the cottage food operation is registered. No further correspondence will be sent and no additional fees will be due unless a complaint regarding illness, injury, or adulterated food is received.

If a complaint regarding illness, injury, or adulterated food is received, an investigation will be conducted and determination made as to the validity of the complaint. If a complaint is confirmed, a Confirmed Complaint Fee will be changed. In addition, if a full epidemiological investigation is conducted in regard to a food-borne illness compliant, the actual cost to the public for the investigation will be calculated and charged to the cottage food operation.


Cottage Food FAQ (PDF)

Cottage Food Operation Application (PDF)

Cottage Food Operation Questionnaire (PDF)

Cottage Food Operations Guidelines (PDF)

Cottage Food Labeling Guide (PDF)