Homestead Food Operations
Many states do not allow home food manufacturing because it can be dangerous if done improperly or in an unsanitary manner, and foodborne illness can result. However, New Hampshire allows home food manufacturing under certain circumstances.
Below is a summary of the current licensing requirements for home food operations.
When a Homestead License is NOT required
A homestead food license is no longer required if:
- You only sell your non-potentially hazardous food from your own residence, from your own farmstand, at a farmer's market or retail food store; and,
- You do not exceed a maximum annual gross sales of $20,000.
Please be advised you can only make non-potentially hazardous food in your residential kitchen including but not limited to breads, rolls, muffins, cookies, brownies, double crusted fruit pies, candy and fudge, packaged dry products, jams and jellies.
You cannot make potentially hazardous food in your home to offer to consumers. Examples of these foods are: cheesecakes, pumpkin pies, custards, soups, sandwiches and acidified or low acid foods such as pickles and relish.
However, even if you do not need a license you are still required to label your products with the following information:
- Name, Address, Phone number of the homestead food operation;
- Name of the homestead food product;
- The ingredients of the homestead product, in descending order of predominance by weight;
- The name of each major food allergen contained in the food unless it is already part of the common or usual name of the respective ingredient already disclosed in the ingredient statement;
- The label must also state in at least 10-point font "This product is exempt from New Hampshire licensing and inspection."
- Product code which identifies the product with a batch number.
Example of what the label should look like:
When a Homestead License IS Required
A Homestead License is required if:
- Your annual gross income from your homestead products exceeds $20,000; or,
- You wish to offer your non-potentially hazardous products to restaurants, other food establishments excluding retail food stores, over the Internet, by mail order or to wholesalers, brokers or other food distributors.
The homestead license applies to non-potentially hazardous foods only made in the residential kitchen of the homestead food operation. You are not able to offer potentially hazardous food with a homestead license.
You must meet the licensing requirements for a Class H Homestead license, which has a fee of $150.
Homestead licensees must also label their products with the following information:
- Name, Address, Phone number of the homestead food operation
- Name of the homestead food product
- The ingredients of the homestead product, in descending order of predominance by weight,
- The name of each major food allergen contained in the food unless it is already part of the common or usual name of the respective ingredient already disclosed in the ingredient statement.
- The net weight, volume, or numerical count in both U.S. customary and metric and
- The label must also state in at least 10-point font "This product is made in a residential kitchen licensed by NH DHHS".
- A product code which includes date of manufacture, container size, and product lot or batch number to aid in a recall of product in case of a public health hazard. Note: this number can be your "baked on" date.
If you need information to determine if you need to be licensed or if your product is considered to be potentially hazardous, we would be happy to consult with you. Processors of jams and jellies that do not use the standardized recipes available on the website for the National Center for Home Food Preservation are required to have process reviews on each of their products to ensure the final product is safe and shelf stable. Process reviews also determine whether a processed food is an acid food or acidified food and whether it can be made in a residential kitchen or requires a commercial facility.
If you need information to determine if you need to be licensed or if your product is considered to be potentially hazardous, we would be happy to consult with you. Please contact: (603) 271-4589 or email DHHS.FoodProtection@dhhs.nh.gov
Also, there are 15 self-inspecting cities and towns. If you desire to sell your product in any of these self-inspecting communities, you must check with them to see if a license is needed.
Out of State Producers
Producers manufacturing food in an out-of-state residential non-commercial kitchen must complete an out-of-state producer registration application.
It is unlawful for any person, unless exempted under RSA 143-A:5, to operate a food service establishment or retail food establishment within the state without having obtained a food service license. If the DPHS Food Protection Section is satisfied that the information regarding the applicant, the applicant's operation and facilities are in compliance with He-P 2300, the NH Rules for the Sanitary Production and Distribution of Food, a license shall be issued.
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